The game of football changed my life and taught me so many valuable life and business lessons, but playing football at Indiana University changed my life most profoundly. The reason for this isn’t because Indiana football is a Big Ten powerhouse, because it isn’t. Coach Terry Hoeppner, my college football coach who brought me to Indiana, is the reason.

So it was an incredibly special opportunity for me to return to my alma mater and speak to the Indiana football team. I shared key lessons I learned from Coach Hep that have completely transformed my life. In many ways, Indiana’s current head coach, Tom Allen, reminds me of Coach Hep. His enthusiasm for Indiana football is unparalleled, as is his genuine affection for his players.

Speaking to Indiana Football Highlights

Here are a few key takeaways from my time speaking with the Indiana football team:

No Excuses

As a football program that is not widely regarded as a premier destination for great college football, there must be a deliberate focus on accepting full responsibility for the current situation. The easy thing to do is to play the blame game and make excuses, but that is not how champions operate. To fully advance and change the course of any team, business, or even life, there must be rigor in taking control of the controllables. We all have control over how we show up, prepare, and put forth effort.

Get Better Today

When I first arrived at Indiana University, Coach Hep had ‘GBT’ written on our shirts, shorts, and on the walls of the facility. It is an acronym for Get Better Today. The premise underlying these three words is that the outcome or achievement of an end goal will materialize if we dedicate ourselves to improving and getting better every day. Focusing more on the process than a specific goal is the essence of Get Better Today. It does not imply that we are less committed to achieving the goal; rather, we have shifted our focus to excelling in the steps that are required to be in position to achieve the goal.

Set the Bar High – Then Jump Over It

The phrase “set the bar high and then jump over it” is one of my favorite Coach Hep sayings that I continue to use in my own life. The meaning of this saying emphasizes the significance of establishing high standards and then striving relentlessly to surpass them every day. When I addressed the Indiana football team, I emphasized the necessity of daily commitment to the pursuit of excellence.