The greatest speech I ever heard in person was delivered by the uber popular successful football coach and seasoned football analyst, Lou Holtz.

Lou is 5’10, currently 78 years of age, and slender as a stringbean.

The first time I heard and saw him speak in person, the audio visual reel that popped in my head is that of the cartoon character Daffy Duck saying “sufferin succotash.” Holtz’s unique delivery never distracted me for a second.

Have you ever listened to someone and you were completely engaged the entire time, leaning on their every word? That was my experience as I listened to Lou, almost in an hypnotic state, convey his words of wisdom for 50 minutes at a sales conference in the desert at Caeasars Palace Las Vegas, May 18, 1999.

Holtz mesmerized the standing room only audience, pulling on every emotional string.  He made me laugh, think, and cry. As the late great basketball coach Jim Valvano said, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day”

Holtz talked about every facet of his then 60 plus years: his childhood, life as a football player and coach, football commentator, and the touching story of Beth, his wife who was battling throat cancer.

After the speech I rushed up to get Lou Holtz’s autograph.

Lou Holtz Autograph

This weekend, while nursing a recuperating foot, I viewed a clip of Lou on the Golf Channel Morning Drive program explain the six questions he asks himself before he embarks on any goal.

I thought it would be fun to ask myself Lou Holtz’s six questions as it related to my goal of over 10 years ago to ♫ break free ♪ from the shackles and chains of the corporate world as a sales executive and manager to become a global professional certified coach.

Let’s do this!

1. What sacrifice will I make?

2. What am I willing to pay?

Lou listed these first two questions separately though I’m taking artistic license and grouping them together.

When the seed was planted, and I decided to become a coach, everything happened quickly. Once I commit, I move like Road Runner.

As far as sacrifices, I knew this was going to take an investment of time, or what I like to call -sweat equity.- And I’m talking about lots of sweat. Picture Lebron dripping at the foul line waiting to shoot two.

The core and advanced programs at Coach University (where I received my training) totaled 177 hours of class instruction. Not to mention the numerous hours in between classes, reading and absorbing the streams of life changing material.

Don’t forget, I was in transition.

I still had to fulfill my duties as a sales executive: prospect new clients, manage fluid sales campaigns (sometimes in excess of seven figures, ) and awake every day with one goal in mind; making my quarterly number.

In addition to sweat equity, I had to be willing to invest $6K in tuition for coaching classes. I didn’t give it much thought and quickly handed over my credit card digits to admissions.

You see, it hit me that coaching was where I was supposed to have been all along.  After decades of struggling with what I should be doing with my life, and who I wanted to become, I found my purpose. I was going to be a coach and knew I had finallyarrived home.

The moment you commit, you’re willing to make the sacrifices both in sweat equity and bank to achieve your goal.


3. What skills or talents do I need?

An important step in achieving a goal is being honest with yourself as to where you stand in this moment in time. What I mean is, be realistic about your situation. Don’t make it worse than it is and don’t make it better than it is. It is what it is.

Next, determine the gap between where you are today and where you want to be. What talents and skills do you need to fill that space and achieve your endgame?

For example, in my case, to reach my goal of becoming a professional certified coach, I had to attend an ICF accredited institution to learn the art and science of coaching.

After an extensive research of schools I narrowed my choice down to two, and in the end, chose Coach University.


4. Who do I need to work with?

As I began taking coaching classes, the faculty leaders stressed the importance of having your own coach. In fact, it was a requirement for graduation as well as earning certifications from the ICF.

At first I was surprised by this requirement, So I hired my first coach. After working with my own coach for a while, it made perfect sense.

You might be asking, why does a coach need their own coach? Listen to Eric Schmidt, former CEO and now Chairman of Google.

Here’s another important reason why.

How can I ask someone else to hire me to help them improve their performance if I’m not willing to “eat my own dog food” and have my own coach?

Having my own coach:

  • Enables me to feel what it’s like being a client
  • Uplevels my coaching skills
  • Increases my value to my own clients
  • Gets me to achieve my endgame quicker
  • Earns me the right to ask others to be a client

To this day, I still partner with a coach. Most professional coaches do the same.


5. What do I have to overcome?

The first thing that comes to mind when answering this question was whether or not I was good enough to coach clients.

On paper I have a CV that anyone would be proud of. Cum laude graduate with a bachelors and masters degree of two reputable schools, almost 25 years of experience as a successful sales executive and manager, and the coach training credentials of an internationally acclaimed institution, Coach University.

How did I overcome this Itty Bitty Shitty Committee chatter that I might not be good enough?

I coached as many clients as I could. Gained confidence with each coaching convo and success story.  After years of receiving kudos from clients, I finally owned my value.


6. What is my plan?

Most people think the hardest part to achieving a goal is coming up with a plan. It’s been my experience in slaying my own goals and watching clients crush their own, the plan takes care of itself once you emotionally commit.

You might be asking “Steve, what gets in the way of commitment?”

The two most common objections I hear from prospective clients to committing to the process of upleveling their business, career, leadership skills, coaching business, etc. are they don’t have the time and/or they don’t have the money.

Convenient excuses to kick the can down the road. But sorry, I’m not buying it.

It’s never about not having enough time. In addition to everything that was on my plate, including raising a family, I found the time because it was that important.

It’s never about the money. I’ve coached people with very little reserves if anything in the bank, yet they found the bank to make the investment in themselves and improve their performance because it was that important to them.

If your endgame is important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen. If it’s not a priority, you’ll think of anything and everything to rationalize staying in your old life.

Goals are easy to achieve if they’re in alignment with your values and who you are. Once you’re in alignment, you won’t find yourself painstakingly toasting brain cells with questions like how or what.

Instead, you’ll find yourself in the moment when you take the leap and say to yourself “I’ll figure this out on the way down.”

That’s exactly what I did and the plan took care of itself.

I had timelines and metrics as to what I wanted to achieve. Including becoming a faculty leader at the same school that schooled me.

The goal process first begins on the inside. You need to be willing to to go to those deep dark places within and ask yourself: What’s the truth here?

So get in alignment with your values, put Lou Holtz’s six questions into play, and let me know what happens.

If you’d like to discuss your endgame and see if we’d make a good team, contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Photo courtesy of Swen-Peter Ekkebus.

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