Rick Pitino: Act Like You’re On a One-Day Contract
“The idea of the one-day contract is based on this premise: If you had just one day to determine if your contract would be renewed for another day, how good would you be?”
At the Oct. 26th closing keynote session at the 20th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago, Rick Pitino, the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Louisville (Ky.), extolled the virtues of pretending to be on a one-day contract.
If you just have one day to prove yourself, says Mr. Pitino, you have to be positive and focused, and cannot afford to be distracted by negativity. He learned this more than 25 years ago when his driver introduced him to sports talk radio. He heard two callers voice their opinion that Mr. Pitino should be fired, and was transfixed. “I was so fired up when I got into that car,” he said. “And after [hearing the radio show] I just felt terrible.”
The experience taught him the importance of staying away from critics — and sports talk radio. “The easiest thing in the world is to be a critic or a cynic,” he said. Success comes through a dedication to remain positive, and stay fired up.
Success also comes through true communication, said Mr. Pitino. “I listen four times the amount I speak,” he said, having learned through the successful recruitment of a player that it pays to build a real relationship with those around you. This includes everyone around you — Mr. Pitino once took the time to explain his full-court press tactics to a women’s junior varsity coach. That man remembered his kindness, and was one day in a position to hire a general manager for the Boston Celtics, and thought first of Mr. Pitino, who had taken the time to communicate and build a relationship. Though he passed on the role, Mr. Pitino was impressed the man had remembered him.
Despite its promise to keep us more connected than ever, he believes technology can often be a detriment to communication. “We are losing our skills to verbalize, articulate and communicate because of technology,” he said. “It’s taken over that part of our lives,” a part he advocates taking back by taking the time to talk, and more importantly, listen, to others around you.
Mr. Pitino’s last piece of advice on being successful was to embrace the pressure that comes with a one-day contract. “Pressure is the greatest gift anyone can get, especially under a one-day contract,” he said. “It’s your best friend and ally in life” for its ability to motivate and inspire. He advocates allowing pressure to push you to stay passionate and engaged. Under the one-day contract, “you’ll find everyday be forced to be the best you can be,” he said.
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