“Success comes when we wake up every day in that never-ending pursuit of WHY we do WHAT we do. Our achievements, WHAT we do, serve as the milestones to indicate we are on the right path.”

Key Takeaways: The Biggest Challenge is Success
  • Measuring WHAT (Achievements)
  • Measuring WHY (Success)

Does hanging a banner equal success? When seeing student-athletes walk across the stage with academic honors attribute to program success? Does a certain percentage of alumni contributions or participation in events feel successful?

These couple of chapters focused on succession in an organization, where the founder eventually passes the torch to the next executive in charge. The inherent challenge recognized by the author comes with sustaining success and successor’s ability to align with an inherited culture and vision to inspire the next era. Reading from a coaching standpoint, my perspective focused less on the transition of coaches within a staff and more to do with connecting achievement towards a daily pursuit for success.


Every coach is different in qualifying a successful career or portion of time while contributing or leading a program. The different interpretations of success often reflect the coach’s list of achievements. The challenge for coaches is meeting the definition of success for so many others while staying true to what you personally believe is successful.

Seems convoluted, so, for example, the athletic director may perceive success as competing for conference championships on an annual basis while keeping a positive reputation on campus and in the community. While particular players may perceive success as participating in conference tournaments while also scoring over 1,000 points during their career. The parents may be concerned with the playing time, graduation timeline, and career preparation. All of these stakeholders play a significant role in the evaluation of a coach and their program based on WHAT has been achieved – as the author of the book suggested – not WHY they have been successful.

If banners, all-academic recognition, and graduation rates represent a way to measure what you have accomplished, are there ways to measure WHY our program does what we do?

This is one of the best examples that I’ve seen:

In the head coach’s office across from her desk is a map on the wall decorated with pins spanned across the continent. Each pin on the map has been placed by an alum that has returned back to campus to visit the coach and the program they had once represented. It is a subtle reminder for the prioritization of connectivity in the program.

The wins and banners represent the achievements of WHAT our programs all intend to accomplish.

It is the daily pursuit to developing relationships and creating an invaluable experience WHY we succeed as coaches.

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