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Success Advice

Remember This: Work Comes Before Success



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Work and success are virtually synonymous. The dictionary defines work as, “Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something.” Success is defined as, “goal reached; accomplishment.” When you look at both work and success, you find the words, “accomplish something” and “accomplishment.”

Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, wrote, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Work is the key to success and hard work can help you accomplish anything.”

The key to the words, work and success, is always their order. Work precedes success. In my 44 years of coaching basketball – 10 at the high school level and 34 at the collegiate level – I was fortunate to coach numerous All-Conference and All-State players as well as some players who reached All-American status. I cannot think of one of the athletes who earned these accolades who was not a committed worker.

Dave Wilhelmi

Dave Wilhelmi played 6 years of professional baseball, once pitching a no-hitter at the Double A level. When he left pro baseball, he had a decision to make – would he work full-time and pursue his degree part-time or come to school full-time and work part-time?

Fortunately, for St. Francis and our basketball program, Dave decided on the latter. He had been a quality high school basketball player and it was his professional work ethic that led him to becoming an Honorable Mention All-American player for us.

Dave was equally as successful in the academic arena. He had not been a full-time student in 6 years and was understandably concerned about his academic skills when he decided to come to St. Francis full-time.

We offered a Study Skills class for our athletes. It was a non-credited course and the only time we could schedule it was at 7am, prior to the regular classes that began at 8am. Dave brought the same work habits he had developed in his athletic career to that class. He became an outstanding student, was elected the class orator at graduation, and has gone on to have a most successful business career. His work commitment came before his success.

Pat Warren

Pat Warren was a sometimes starter on our high school baseball team. He was far from being our best player, but he loved the game and worked extremely hard to improve his skills.

Due to his work ethic, he excelled at the four most important skills in baseball – hitting, fielding, throwing accuracy, and running. I was with him when only the two of us would have batting practice. 

We would have 15 baseballs, pitch, hit, and then run all over the field collecting the balls so we could repeat the cycle for the better part of two hours. Pat never tired of working. A few of us from our high school baseball team went on to play college baseball, but Pat’s work commitment led him to do something none of us did. He played at one of the two best baseball programs in the country during our era, the University of Miami, and was signed by the Houston Astros upon graduation.

In high school, none of us would have believed Pat would have the success he had, but his work habits led to his success.

Dan Sullivan

In our day, there was no political correctness. Entering his senior year of high school, the principal called my brother, Dan, into his office and said something to this effect, “Sullivan, you can’t be this dumb. How can you possibly rank 99th out of 106?” Dan told him there was only one reason. He did not want to get into the triple figures! The principal threw him out of his office.

With his class rank, Dan was not considered to be college material. But one college decided to take a chance on him, and he worked to earn both his undergraduate and his Masters degrees. He became a superb classroom teacher who could connect to the student in the back of the room who didn’t care to study because he had been that kid.

Dan excelled as a high school head coach in all three major sports, as an inspiring teacher, and went on to spend his last 20 years in education as a principal. Along the way, he helped thousands of young people to become the best they could be.

As you meet his former students and athletes today, they have nothing but the highest respect for him. No one gave Dan anything; he worked and earned his many successes.

Final Thought

Might there be value in examining your work commitment? John Wooden, the iconic UCLA basketball coach, summed it up this way, “Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”

Pat Sullivan was a successful coach, teacher, and administrator in the Chicago area for 44 years – 10 years at the high school level and 34 at the collegiate level. His basketball teams won 602 games; he was named Coach-of-the-Year 11 times; and he has been inducted into 8 Halls of Fame. He has received Lifetime Achievement awards from Lewis University, the Joliet, Illinois, Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Pat has offered basketball clinics and camps in Austria, Ireland, Belgium, and Greece and has spoken at clinics throughout America for the USA Coaches Clinics. He has also spoken to business executives from IBM, Accenture, and Sun Microsystems, as well as the University of Notre Dame’s Play Like A Champion conference. He is the author of Attitude-The Cornerstone of Leadership and Team-Building: From the Bench to the Boardroom.

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator



Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.


2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.


3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.


4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.


5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.


6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.


7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.


8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.


9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.


10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.


11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.


12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.


13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.


14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.


15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.


16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.


17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.


18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.


19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.


20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at so you can master your life with more success.

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Success Advice

Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way



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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy



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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds



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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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