He's an elite coach who learned by hitting the wall.
He drove himself and those he coached hard and relentlessly.
Yes, he produced champions.
He also produced people who feared him. A lunch invite was dreaded.
Then he hit the wall and he couldn't do it any more. When asked for advice, another elite coach told him to soften it up, take breaks and take care of himself. "It took a heart attack to teach me, you can change before that happens to you".
What does he do now? He acts as a friend and mentor for his team, not just a coach.
His lunch invites are considered gold instead of dreaded.
Instead of driving hard after a sloppy performance, he calls for a "Recovery Day". You need to get back in touch with yourselves, do your meditation, practice yoga, get a message and do your self-care. We'll work on mindsets and some practice the day after.
And just how is this working out for this élite athletics coach?
John Cook is the coach for Women's Volleyball at the University of Nebraska. His teams consistently perform in the top 5 in the country. He is one of the winningest coaches in volleyball and considered to be the mentor, coach and leader aspiring athletes want to play for.
Even greater, he trains up assistant coaches to then leave to coach their own teams elsewhere. This teams often come back to compete with Nebraska and they are welcomed with open arms, hugs and flowers as part of a larger family.
John Cook gets how to do both the work and the self-care in balance starting with his own journey to evolve. He gets the importance of mindset work too. He gets how to be a leader who is mentor, coach and friend.
I haven't yet read his book, "Dream Like a Champion" but plan to. His philospohy reminds me of who we roll at Lights on Business. We balance the energy of head and heart, we emphasize mindset work and we support the fundamentals as each person needs them.
Want to know what his New Year's Resolution is? Be #1? No. Recruit the best freshman class ever? Nope. Win coaching awards? Not that either.
His Resolution is to "Be Softer". How does that sit with you?
And, make sure to have your Recovery Days!