Success, March Madness and Clarity of Purpose

March Madness ends tonight – even if it is April 5.  I saw in the paper that a little over 1,400 of the 4.8 million people who submitted completed brackets to ESPN picked Butler and Duke to be in the final game.  That’s 0.03%.  I had it half right.  I picked Duke to beat Kansas in the championship game – and I’m not even a Duke fan.  I’ve been unhappy with Duke ever since they denied admission to a young woman I think of as a niece – who went on to Princeton and is doing very well for herself.

Tonight is a David vs. Goliath game.  If you’re not a basketball fan, Butler is David; and Duke is Goliath.  If you’ve read the Bible you know how that first match up ended.  I’m not predicting that Butler will win; especially since they have to deal with Duke’s 7’1” 260 pound Goliath, Brian Zoubeck and a whole bunch of little guys who can really shoot the basketball.  But it would be nice to see Butler — an independent, coeducational liberal arts and sciences university founded in 1855 – win.  The butler website says, “Named “Best in the Midwest” by U.S. News & World Report, Butler University emphasizes a liberal arts-infused education that develops engaged citizens committed to making a positive difference in the world.”  And their basketball team is pretty good too.

I always root for the guys in the dark uniforms in the NCAA tournament.  They’re the ones who are the lower seed.  Butler was in dark blue on Saturday and they’ll be wearing dark blue again tonight.  I like this team.  I like their young coach, Brad Stevens.  He loves basketball.  As a career success coach, I always advise my clients that the first step in becoming is career success is to clarify your purpose in life. 

Brad Stevens was born to be a basketball coach.   He figured that out early in life.  When he was 5 years old, he spent each morning watching videotapes of basketball games before attending afternoon kindergarten.  His mother bought him a basketball hoop for his eighth birthday.   He says…

“It’s so much fun to dream in your driveway. I had an old wooden backboard in my driveway. That’s where my friends and I hung out. It was a lot of fun to grow up in that era.”

I love the idea of dreaming in your driveway. 

Brad Stevens played Division III basketball at Depauw University and was beginning a successful career at Eli Lilly when he quit to become a volunteer basketball coach at Butler.  His two mentors, Thad Motta and Todd Lickliter moved on to head coaching jobs at bigger schools.   And so at age 30, Brad Stevens became the Butler head coach.  In three years, his teams have won 89 games and lost only 14.  Tonight they play for a national championship.

Brad Stevens is a living example of clarity of purpose and direction.  He loved basketball as a child.  He loved it as a player in college.  He loved it so much as an adult, he quit a good job with a good company to become a volunteer coach.  He knew that basketball was his purpose in life; and he went for it.  As a career success coach I applaud that.

I have often said that if you asked me when I was 25 what I hoped to be doing when I was 60, I would have said, “Running a one person, coaching, speaking and consulting business from my home.  Guess what, ever since I turned 38 in 1988 I’ve been running a one person, coaching, speaking and consulting business from my home.  My purpose in life is to help others succeed in their lives and careers.  Being a career success coach allows me to do just that.

What is your purpose in life?  What is your passion?  Are you working on it, or are you letting what you could become slip through your fingers because you’re settling for what you are?  I hope you’re actively working on it.  Don’t go to the grave with your song unsung.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people clarify a purpose and direction for their lives – and then they pursue it with passion.  Tonight, Butler plays Duke for the NCAA men’s basketball championship in a true David vs. Goliath matchup.  Butler coach Brad Stevens found his passion for basketball early on.  When he was five years old he used to watch videotapes of basketball games in the mornings before he went to kindergarten.  He quit a well paying job with Eli Lilly to become an unpaid assistant coach at Butler.  He was named Head Coach three years ago.  Tonight, his team plays for the national championship.  This is an amazing story.  However, it illustrates the power of clarity of purpose.  What’s your purpose in life?  What are you doing to pursue it?  Watch the game tonight, and you’ll see two coaches whose passion for basketball and teaching young men is a testament to their personal clarity of purpose and direction. 

That’s my take on Brad Steven and clarity of purpose and direction in life.  What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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