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Be Humble, Be Hungry, Part 2

A while ago, I had the opportunity to talk to a football legend, Marv Levy, former NFL coach and most recently GM of the Buffalo Bills organization. Coach Levy was an honorary coach for one of the teams at the Under Armour High School All-American game in Orlando, Florida. After I warmed up the teams prior to a practice, Coach Levy approached me to say, “An old man like me could use a little workout like that.” We got to talking and I asked him two questions that I love to ask wise souls like Coach Levy: “Of all the lessons you have learned in life, which is the most important to personal success?” And secondly, “Of all the great athletes, coaches and executives you have worked with, which characteristics separate the greatest from the others?”

Before I tell you what I learned, let me tell you why I am sharing this story. “Be Humble… Be Hungry” are powerful words inscribed on a watch gifted to me by Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour. Previously, I wrote about humility – the first half of the Under Armour mantra. Now, in this article, I am focusing on drive and passion. In other words, “Be Hungry.” If you are searching for fulfillment and success in life, stay hungry, light a fire in your belly and keep it burning – get from good to great.

Love What You Do And Do What You Love
Coach Levy told me the most important lesson he has learned is to “never work a day in your life.” What he meant by this is that you have to love what you do and have passion for it. Even though he put in extremely long hours, preparing more than most for practices, games, and drafts, he never felt like he was working. How many of us love our careers so much that we would never consider our daily commitments to be work?

In response to my second question, Coach Levy elaborated on two secrets practiced by the greatest of the great: Preparation and Passion.

  • Preparation—Coach said the greatest were always impeccably prepared and ready for all situations. They studied the game plan, they watched film, they mentally prepared for their performance, they trained hard, they took care of their bodies, and they did all that they could to put themselves in a position to be successful.
  • Passion—Coach Levy said when you love what you do and you are passionate about it, your passion creates an energy that is contagious. The greatest have the ability to overcome challenge, to move past defeat no matter how large, to conquer obstacles no matter how big, and never quit. The greatest have passion because they do what they love and love what they do!

The time I spent with Coach Levy was one of the highlights of my experience at this year’s All-American game. His wisdom and insight provide a great lesson – one that sets the tone for this month’s reflection on hunger. January is such a great month to focus on the future and the changes you’d like to make for yourself. I challenge you to remember the words of Coach Levy and to stay hungry for achievement despite challenges, obstacles or defeat. Whether you are looking to improve your lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, relationships or career, here’s some helpful ideas:

  • Set a “BHAG.” A BHAG is a “big, hairy, audacious goal” that keeps you fired up. As James Arthur Ray stated, “If you are tired, you are not inspired.” What BHAG can you set to fuel your passion, enthusiasm, and work ethic?
  • Create a plan. Like Coach Levy who said that preparation is key to success, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Once you set your strong intention and BHAG, create your plan to start moving towards your desired outcome.
  • Invest in You. Fuel the fire in your belly and feed your passion by caring for yourself. Examples of taking care of you a little each day include:
    •  – Invest in your health. Be sure to exercise, eat right, sleep right, and be proactive in moderating the stress in your life. The more you invest in your health and fitness, the better you will feel.
    •  – Surround yourself with positive, enthusiastic people.
    •  – Take a personal growth workshop.
    •  – Read or listen to great books on tape (Good to Great, Harmonic Wealth, The Speed of Trust, etc.).
  • Immerse yourself in something that you enjoy. If you really want to achieve something, you must be 100% focused on attaining it. You have to want it, prepare for it, work for it, and remain focused. John Wooden said, “Industriousness (hard work) and enthusiasm are the cornerstones of success.” Immerse yourself in your passion and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • Strive to be your best. There is nothing like the process of moving towards a goal. As you immerse yourself in the pursuit, strive to be the best you can be. Learn from your mistakes as they are great opportunities for improvement.
  • Be ambitious but humble. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, stated that in order to make something great, leaders must be ambitious for the greatness of the work and the organization, rather than for themselves. This doesn’t mean that great leaders don’t have egos. It means that at each decision point – at each critical juncture when Choice A would favor personal ego and Choice B would favor the work or the organization – time and again the great leaders pick Choice B.

Todd Durkin is a 2 Time Personal Trainer of the Year and Founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He trains people from all walks of life, but is best known for the work he does with over 25 NFL Superstars. He trains the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, and Donnie Edwards amongst others. His expert staff of 30 trainers, coaches, and massage therapist/bodyworkers perform over 400 weekly sessions and help educate, motivate, and inspire the world to greater levels of health & fitness. Todd has 17 DVD’s on fitness & sports performance and has been featured in many national magazines and media outlets. His ezine newsletter “TD Times” is his way of connecting clients, trainers, coaches, colleagues, and friends from all over the world. He can best be reached via his websites,, or by using the contact form below: [easy-contact]

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