Rugby, Character, Self Confidence and Success

If you read this blog with any regularity, you probably know that I am a rugby football enthusiast.  I think it is a great sport.  I played for over 30 years.  I learned a lot about life on the rugby pitch.  I think I am a better career success coach as a result of my participation in rugby.  In my retirement, I support youth rugby. 

The other day, I got a note from Bill Baer, a friend and coach of the Denver East High School Rugby Club, the reigning Colorado High Schools Rugby State Champions.  Since rugby is a club sport, it is funded by the players, their parents and coaches and donations from supporters.  I sent them a check to help fund this Spring’s season.

In his request for funds, Bill included the following…

You may not know much about rugby, but you know the value of courage, respect, honesty, commitment, team and hard work.  You know how important positive peer pressure and good role models are to teenagers.  You may not have thought of rugby as a means to building character in teenaged boys, but that is what East High Boys Rugby is all about.  Our club teaches rugby as a metaphor for life where courage, respect, honesty, commitment, team and hard work make the difference.

That’s a mouthful, and something worth repeating.  As a career success coach, I’m often asked, “Bud what does it take to succeed in my life and career?”  My answer is simple.  You have to do four things:

  • Clarify your purpose and direction in your life.
  • Commit to taking personal responsibility for your success.
  • Build unshakeable self confidence.
  • Get competent in four areas: creating positive personal impact, outstanding performance, communication skills and relationship building.

Bill Baer is giving the young men of the Denver East High School Rugby Club lessons in self confidence.  His lessons involve “courage, respect, honesty, commitment, team and hard work.”  Bill and I have much the same message; me to my career success coaching clients, Bill to his young rugby players.

Bill is a great mentor to these young men.  He helps build the self confidence they will need to succeed in their lives and careers.  I believe that you need to do three things to build your self confidence.   First, choose optimism, believe that today will be better than yesterday and that tomorrow will be better than today.  Second, face your fears and act.  Third, surround yourself with positive people. 

To my way of thinking, mentors are very positive people because they are willing to give of themselves to help others succeed.  That’s what Bill Baer is doing for the young men of the Denver East High School Rugby Club.  His alumni are playing in colleges all over the country.  He mentioned to me recently that two Denver East alums played against one another in a recent Syracuse vs. Harvard match.

Here’s what to look for in a mentor.  A good mentor…

M   Motivates you to accomplish more than you think you can.

E   Expects the best from you.

N   Never gives up on you or lets you give up on yourself.

T   Tells you the truth – even when it hurts.

Occasionally kicks your butt.

R   Really cares about you and your success.

That’s what Bill Baer is doing for the young men of the Denver East High School Rugby Club.  He teaches them how to play a wonderful, fun game.  More important, he teaches them courage, respect, honesty, commitment, team and hard work.  You go, Bill.  As we say on the rugby pitch, I’m “with you.”

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people are optimistic.  They face their fears and act.  And they surround themselves with positive people.  Mentors, by definition, are positive people.  Take it from this career success coach, if you don’t have a mentor, find one.  He or she can help guide you through the ups and downs you will encounter on your way to career success.  And, don’t forget it’s never too early to become a mentor yourself.  Pay it forward by sharing the life lessons you’ve learned with others who need and want the knowledge and wisdom you have gathered in your life.  My friend Bill Baer mentors lots of young men in his role as the Denver East High School Rugby Club Coach.  He teaches them courage, respect, honesty, commitment, team and hard work – important life lessons and the kinds of characteristics that lead to career success.

That’s my take on Denver East High Rugby, self confidence, charater and success.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes and leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. Oh Bud I really enjoyed this read. My sons play Rugby and its great for them and teaches a lot of skills outside Rugby

    great Article!!

  2. Thanks JIm:
    Rugby is a great game — big character builder and a chance to build relationships that will last a lifetime.

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