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Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Season

Urban Meyer

Top 10 Best Quotes

“There is a theory about human behavior called the 10-80-10 principle. I speak of it often when I talk to corporate groups or business leaders. It is the best strategy I know for getting the most out of your team. Think of your team or your organization as a big circle. At the very center of it, the nucleus, are the top 10 percenters, people who give all they've got all the time, who are the essence of self-discipline, self-respect, and the relentless persuit of improvement. They are the elite- the most powerful component of any organization. They are the people I love to coach. Outside the nucleus are the 80 percenters. They are the majority- people who go to work, do a good job, and are relatively reliable. The 80 percenters are for the most part trustworthy and dutiful, but they simply don't have the drive and the unbending will that the nucleus guys do. They just don't burn as hot. The final 10 percenters are uninterested or defiant. They are on the periphery, mostly just coasting through life, not caring about reaching their potential or honoring the gifts they've been given. They are coach killers. The leadership challenge is to move as many of the 80 percenters into the nucleus as you can.”

“Giving up on somebody takes nothing. Helping them change takes a tremendous amount of time, energy, discipline, and love. In the end, it's worth it.”

“We teach our players, in response to any situation they face, to press pause and ask: What does this situation require of me? Pressing pause gives you time to think. It gets you off autopilot and helps you gain clarity about the outcome you are pursuing, the situation you are experiencing, and the Above the Line action you need to take to achieve the outcome. There are two important benefits of pressing pause: A) It helps you avoid doing something foolish or harmful B) It focuses you on acting with purpose to accomplish your goals A productive pause could last only a split second, which helps you regain your focus and take control of your action. It could last an hour, a day, or longer. The purpose is to take the time necessary to be intentional about the way you think and act. Pressing pause does not come naturally; it is a skill that must be developed. The more you practice, the more skilled you become at being able to identify how and when to use it effectively.”

“It isn't hard to find people who are caught up in Below the Line behavior. All you need to do is look for those whose first reaction is to blame (others), complain (about circumstances), and defend (yourself), or BCD.”

“Leaders create culture. Culture drives behavior. Behavior produces results.”

“You do not make it through SEAL training without the support and encouragement of the guys around you. It is in the crucible of training that the bond—the uncommon commitment—of the SEAL brotherhood is built.”

“Whether you are working on a game plan or a business plan, there’s no doubt that being an effective leader requires independent thought. You need to think in order to have clarity of purpose, to understand what your priorities are, and what you need to do to help your players maximize their potential.”

“They encouraged each other as they suffered through ridiculously hard workouts. They pushed each other. They coached each other. They made each other better.”

“Our unit leaders pulled their guys in close with last-minute notes about what to expect and words of encouragement.”

“Nothing encourages an athlete more than making plays and having success in practice. Small victories can play a major role when you have a player who is dealing with the stress of change or even some other issue. Do whatever you can to reinforce someone’s confidence by helping him achieve small victories. So much of leadership comes down to knowing the people you are leading and providing them with what they need to succeed. It is also about making them confident to take risks and make changes.”

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Book Keywords:

change, support, leader, bond, brother, plan, coach, confidence, lead, victory, better, risk, push, hard, commit, expect, potential, priority, independent, maximize, encourage, purpose

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