Drawing on more than a half century in professional sports, as well as decades as a motivational speaker, Pat Williams has spent a lifetime researching what it takes to be a winner. What he has observed and recorded in this magnum opus on the topic is that all winnerswhether in sports, business or everyday lifeshare 12 characteristics, and they do them to an extreme. Through exhaustive research, Williams discovered that winning has a broader meaning than a mark on a ledger after a competition. In fact, it doesn't even mean someone has to lose. Winning is the way you approach what you do. It's a mindset; a way of life. It can be your life, a life of Extreme Winning.
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About the Author
Pat Williams is the Senior Vice President of the NBA's Orlando Magic. He is also one of America's top motivational speakers and leadership authors. Pat and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations. In 2012, Pat received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Pat teaches an adult Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Orlando and hosts three weekly radio shows.
Peter Kerasotis is an award-winning journalist and author. He has won 10 APSE awards for his newspaper columns and feature stories. The Florida Magazine Association twice named him its best feature writer. The Football Writers Association of America named him the 2011 top columnist.
Read an Excerpt
'You were born to win.'
I have been watching the winners for many years53 years in professional athletics and before that for four years in college and before that as a high school athlete who was fascinated with sports and athletics. What I've discovered is that the extreme winners are not normal. They are not average. Everything they do is to an extreme level. That's what has allowed them to have such great success and great careers. It's far beyond talent. Many talented people fall by the wayside and don't live to their full potential because they are missing one or more of these 12 extreme elements I have discovered.
I have discovered something else, too, and that is this: winning doesn't mean you must log a number into a ledger. It doesn't even mean there has to be a loser. Winning is a way of approaching what you do, whether it's work, a hobby, or what we most often think of it in terms ofcompetition. Winning is a mindset; a way of life. That thought struck me years ago when I was speaking at a convention. A woman named Joy Millis was assigned to look after me during this event. She was a chatty type and had one story after the other. I didn't pay attention to most of them. However, at one point she said, 'I was on a flight once, reading a book, and I looked up and saw on the other side of the plane the great Baltimore Colts quarterback, Johnny Unitas.' After the plane landed, Joy told me she went up to Unitas in the terminal and said:
'Johnny, would you please sign this book for me? And don't sign it like you'd sign for anybody elselike 'Good Luck' or 'Best Wishes.'?'
Johnny Unitas looked at her and said: 'Ma'am, how would you like me to sign the book?'
Joy said: 'With the best piece of advice you've ever gotten from one of your coaches.'
So Johnny Unitas signed the book: 'To Joy, Win! Johnny Unitas'
That is great advice. The winners in life are saturated, absolutely absorbed with this topic of winning.
'Winning is like a drug,' said the great Vince Lombardi. 'It's a hard thing to kick.'2
Not that you'd want to.
Not in sports, not in the classroom, not in the boardroom, not anywhere.
After all, this country was established after our founding fathers notched a mark in the win column in the Revolutionary War. And this nation was preserved with a few other key wins in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. That's not to make light of those wars by using sports metaphors. And, to be sure, we do use war metaphors with our sports. It's simply to emphasize that in American culture winning is in our DNA. It's been there since the beginning, and it's been hugely important. America was built on great leaders who settled for nothing less than being the best; nothing less than victory. It doesn't get any more extreme than winning those four wars I just mentioned. The stakes were high.
So winning is now indelibly etched, not only in our history, but also in our mindset. The great ones think only in terms of winning.
That was the mindset of great presidents. Once, after listening to a long briefing on the overall strategy for dealing with communism, President Ronald Reagan interrupted to say this: 'Here's my strategy on the Cold Warwe win and they lose.'3
And this was President John F. Kennedy's philosophy: 'Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life.'4
Extreme winners don't settle. They are not content with being second best. To them, being second is equivalent to being the first loser. There are a slew of golfers on the PGA Tour who make seven figures but never win, and they're perfectly content with that. The great ones, though, aren't. 'I'd rather win one tournament in my life,' said the iconic Arnold Palmer, who is a fellow Wake Forest alumnus, 'than make the cut every week.'5 And that, in a nutshell, is why he's Arnold Palmeran extreme winner of seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour titles.
'When I was little,' said Mia Hamm, long the face of U.S. women's soccer, 'people always used to say, 'It doesn't matter if you win or lose.' Well to me it did.'6
It does. To the extreme winners, it is everything.
'There is winning, and there is misery,'7 said Pat Riley, winner of one NBA title as a player, one as an assistant coach, five as a head coach, and two as an executive. It's why he's in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Steve Nash, a future Hall of Fame basketball player, put it this way: 'Nothing is black-and-white except for winning and losing, and maybe that's why people gravitate to that so much.'8
We do gravitate to it.
What especially makes our sports so enjoyable is watching intense competitorsthe extreme winnerscompete against each other. Great sports rivalries aren't about great athletes competing against each other. Rather, it's about extreme winners competing against each other. One of the all-time great NBA rivalries pitted Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers against Larry Bird's Boston Celtics; and what made it great wasn't just that Magic and Bird were great athletesthey were extreme winners. Their extreme will to win made watching those historic NBA Finals so much fun to watch, and so memorable.
Magic Johnson cut straight to the chase when he summed himself up this way: 'I'm about winning.'
Larry Bird was even more succinct, simply saying, 'I crave winning.'
What a fascinating way to put it: I crave winning. Merriam-Webster defines that word crave as 'to have a very strong desire for (something); to want greatly; to yearn for.' I am here to tell you that the extreme winners crave winning; they are absolutely consumed with winning. To call them extreme winners is not to inject hyperbole or introduce a catchy phrase. They are extreme.
Listen to what Pete Rose, Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader who won the National League Rookie of the Year award, three batting titles, one NL MVP award, and one World Series MVP award, had to say: 'The Wright Brothers were obsessed with flying. Henry Ford was obsessed with cars. I was obsessed with winning.'9
It's easy to talk about winning in sports, when there is an actual ledger to keep track of wins and losses. But extreme winners are in every walk of life, every occupation and vocation. I once heard Charles Schulz, who drew the most successful comic strip ever, the Peanuts strip, talk about how he was not just competing against other comic strip creators, but also against himself.
'I try never to have any letdowns,' Schulz said. 'I try never to send in anything that I am not totally satisfied with, which is almost impossible, and I rarely send in anything just to get by. I'd rather fall a day behind in the schedule than send in something that I don't think is pretty good. I think I'm competitive. I regard the comic strip like a golf course or a tennis court. I want to win that comic page every day.'
You can imagine Schulz, picking up the comics page every day and comparing his work with the work of the other comic strip creators. Nobody was keeping track of that on a ledger. But you can be sure he was keeping track.
Mostly, though, when we think of winning we think of sports. That's because winning jumps out at us in sports. When he was asked at one of his press confabs during the 2015 Masters what his 'greatest motivation' is, a 39-year-old Tiger Woods unflinchingly said, 'My greatest motivation? Winning.'
You may have noticed, as I did, that after announcing that he was retiring following the 2014 baseball season, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter held a news conference in Tampa, Florida, and the last word he uttered, at the end of a 27-plus minute question-and-answer session, was the word 'winning.'
This occurred when Jeter was asked what career moment of his stands out the most for him. Jeter cut the questioner off in midsentence to say this: 'Anytime we win. And I'm not just saying that. You play an entire year. You work out an entire year. And the ultimate goal is to win. When we win, those are the memories that are going to stand out the most for me. Yeah, I've had a lot of things that I've done personally in my career that I've appreciated, that mean a lot, but if you ask me what stands out the most, it's winning.'
So let's talk about winning: about winning in life and at whatever your pursuits might be. Let's talk specifically about the 12 qualities I've observed in extreme winnersthese men and women who are not normal, who are not average. The good news is that you can take these qualities and incorporate them immediately. Whether you are the president of a company, in sales, in sports, in essentially whatever you do, you can take these qualities and apply them to your life right away.
Here are the 12 qualities.
1. Extreme Dreams
Somewhere in their life extreme winners have an extreme dream that captured them, took over their life, engaged their every waking and sleeping moment. That dream drives them throughout their life. It can, and should, drive you, too.
2. Extreme Preparation
Extreme winners possess extreme preparation. Extreme winners understand that 'failing to prepare is preparing to fail.' I learned that quote from the late John Wooden, the longtime UCLA basketball coach. I'll share with you his wisdom and the wisdom of others so that you'll know how to apply extreme preparation to your dreams.
3. Extreme Focus
Extreme winners have extreme focus. They have the ability to block out distractions. They have the ability to zero in on what is going on right now. You can have that ability, too. I'll show you how.
4. Extreme Passion
Extreme winners are passionate about what they do. They are excited. They have enormous energy. They have great enthusiasm. They have great zeal and great zest for what they're doing. I'll show you where that passion comes from, what triggers it, and how you can have it.
5. Extreme WORK
Extreme winners understand that you can't drift on your oars. You have to put in an enormous amount of work or you're not going to be successful. And you have to be consistent. You have to put shoe leather to the ground every day, and above all you have got to stay away from that dangerous wordentitlement.
6. Extreme Responsibility
Extreme winners are extremely responsible. They understand that no finger pointing is allowed. Extreme winners own what they dogood or bad. But because of that mindset, it is often good, if not great. You'll learn how extreme responsibility will help lead you to greatness.
7. Extreme Positive Attitude
I've never met a pessimistic winner. There is great power in being positive, and I've found that extreme winners are positive by design. They take having an extreme positive attitude seriously. You will, too.
8. Extreme Goals
Extreme winners understand that setting goals is vital. And they understand that they must be clear-cut, specific, and definite goals with a deadline attached to them. You'll learn why that's important and how to set the kind of goals that will make you an extreme winner in life.
9. Extreme Perseverance
To achieve your goals, you must have extreme perseverance. Extreme winners refuse to quit. In studying the great people of history, it amazes me that we never should have heard of any of them. The only reason we have heard of them is because they battled through tough times and never gave up. It's an important component to becoming an extreme winner, and you'll understand why.
10. Extreme Competition
Extreme winners love to compete. They thrive on extreme competition. In fact, if the competition is not strong enough they'll manufacture things to intensify the competition. They'll create mini-competitions inside bigger ones. Michael Jordan, for one, was a master of that. You can be, too.
11. Extreme Desire
Extreme winners simply care more. It's more important to them than it is to the next person. They're more self-motivated, more inspired, more resolute. They have inner fire. They're hungry. They have great energy. They hustle all the time. Call it drive, doggedness, determination. Call it whatever you want. It's all of those things, and more.
12. Extreme Teamwork
If you take these 12 qualities of extreme winners and put them into practicewhich you can do, and do right awayyour success rate is going to be very good. But none of it counts unless you do it as a team. When teamwork kicks in, when a group of people really link together, there is no telling what can happen.
And there is no telling what you can accomplish.
So let's get started.
©2015 AUTHOR NAME. All rights reserved. Reprinted from TITLE: SUBTITLE. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
2 By Donald T. Phillips, Run to Win: Vince Lombardi on Coaching and Leadership (St. Martin's Press, 2001).
3 By James C. Humes, The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan (Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007).
4 By Peter Laporta, A Quote for Every Day (AuthorHouse, 2011).
7 By Greg Cote, Miami Herald, June 6, 2013.
9 By Pete Rose with Rick Hill, My Prison Without Bars (Rodale Books, 2004).
Table of Contents
Foreword Bruce Bochy xiii
Chapter 1 Extreme Dreams 9
Chapter 2 Extreme Preparation 31
Chapter 3 Extreme Focus 53
Chapter 4 Extreme Passion 75
Chapter 5 Extreme Work 97
Chapter 6 Extreme Responsibility 121
Chapter 7 Extreme Positive Attitude 141
Chapter 8 Extreme Goals 163
Chapter 9 Extreme Perseverance 185
Chapter 10 Extreme Competition 207
Chapter 11 Extreme Desire 231
Chapter 12 Extreme Teamwork 253
About the Authors 295