Tuesday, April 8, 2008


An Excerpt from What it Takes To Be #1
By Vince Lombardi and Vince Lombardi, Jr.

Zeal and passion are emotions that move you. My father was once described by the late New York Giants owner, Wel Mara, as having, "The zeal of a missionary." And although the Packers held a special place in his heart, my father's passion and enthusiasm extended into all corners of his life. He could get excited about dinner at a good restaurant, a sunset, Christmas with family, and especially, a game of golf.

His passion overflowed. It was an enthusiasm that could be neither corralled nor fended off. "If you said 'good morning' to him the right way," said a friend, "you could bring tears to his eyes." His emotional ups and downs as an assistant coach with the Giants earned him the nickname, "Mr. Hi-Lo." A fellow coach once chided him for working up lather over what seemed to be a minor football matter.

Lombardi said in response, "If you can't get emotional about what you believe in your heart, you're in the wrong business."

My father laughed and he cried. He communicated with every emotional tool at his disposal. "I've got all the emotions in excess," he said "and a hair trigger controls them." Spontaneity was the saving grace for this hair-trigger personality. My father could yell at a player and five minutes later honestly couldn't remember who he yelled at or why. People understood this and forgave him the excesses of his passion. Coach Lombardi never allowed his passion – and here we're talking about his anger – to become personal.

Passion and enthusiasm are the seeds of achievement. Enthusiasm is like an ocean tide, there's a certain inevitability about it. Zeal sweeps obstacles away. To motivate people, there must be a spark, some juice, desire, zeal, inspiration. It's rough to be a leader if you can't energize yourself, and then your people. They need to be able to tap into your emotional energy – and you need to be able to tap into theirs.

It's called passion today. In my father's day, it was called "emotion." No matter what you choose to call it, I doubt you could find someone who was as passionate – and this is important – as effective, as my father. Having a plan is important, but along with a plan there must be a hunger, and a zeal to achieve the vision.

Few of us are inherently enthusiastic. Even Vince Lombardi had to give himself an occasional pep-talk. For most of us, the passion to achieve, to be first, must be stoked. Every day you've got to lay on some kindling, strike a match and fan the flames of passion and zeal.

This quote from my father reflects his passion for everything he did...

"There's only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything. I do, and I demand that my players do."

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