In 2004, Jan Mela, at age 15, became the youngest person to reach the North Pole. And then eight months later, reached the South Pole. This was a great feat by the Polish explorer, but that is not the amazing part.

Jan Mela did this as a double amputee.

At age 13, Mela was electrocuted in an accident and lost one arm and one leg.

But he did not give up on life.

William Arthur Ward once said, “Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records.”

We don’t choose what happens to us in life, but we certainly choose how we respond.

If Jan Mela can be the youngest person to reach the North and South Poles as a double amputee…



Mental blocks are common in all sports, at all levels. I have seen beginners and professionals get stuck on the six-inch playing field between their ears. Perhaps they are a baseball player, who, all of a sudden can’t throw the ball to first base. Maybe it’s a diver who can’t do a flip.

Physically, nothing is wrong, but mentally they can’t get out of their head…yet.

Slumps happen when an athlete is thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time.

During competition, an athlete should focus less on the internal (negative thoughts) and focus more on the external (target, form, etc).

The beauty of focusing on the external is that your brain cannot think about your target/form and negative thougths at the same time.

So the next time you have a mental block, accept it and re-focus on the things you can control (your effort, body language and strategy). I think you will be pleased at the results.

And if it doesn’t help right away, stick with it.


Because if you don’t quit, you can’t fail.


Recently, I had a high school athlete as a pretty regular client. But then I had my wedding, honeymoon and schools had spring break, so I did not see this client for a few weeks.

I called them when I returned from my honeymoon assuming we would continue, but no response. I also sent an email, and still no response.

I began thinking things like:

“What if they no longer want to use my services?”

“Perhaps they found another coach.”

“Was it something in my coaching?”

It is normal to have negative thoughts—even the greatest athletes in the world have negative thoughts. But the difference is that the ones who succeed are the ones who accept those negative thoughts, then realize that those thoughts are not productive, and re-focus on the things that WILL help them get to the next level.

So I decided to focus on my current clients and things that are in my control.

Well, I found out that my client was still on spring break and did not have telephone or email access. We are resuming this week.

Care but don’t worry.

Thanks for reading.


Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.

Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times when trying to invent the lightbulb.

Derek Jeter started his professional baseball career so poorly that he called home nearly every night crying.

Did Michael Jordan give up?


Did Thomas Edison give up?


Did Derek Jeter give up?


Did Elmer McAllister give up?

You don’t know who Elmer McAllister is?!?

That’s because he gave up.


Today on Success Hotline, my friend and mentor, Dr. Rob Gilbert shared a great quote, the eight most powerful words…

“Do the thing and you’ll have the power.”


Today, I also gave a workshop on mental toughness at Nick DiPillo’s basketball skills camp. Afterwards, I spent some time with Nick and Hamady Ndaiye, the 7′ 0″ center for the Washington Wizards (above).

Hamady Ndaiye, or “H” as I now call him, did the thing and now he has the power.

“H” only started playing basketball six years ago and now he’s in the NBA. He admits there are challenges and that he has negative thoughts, but in his mind, there are no limits regarding how far he can go.

According to DiPillo, nobody works harder than “H.” As a matter of fact, DiPillo said, “He’s had nothing handed to him. He’s worked for every minute of playing time, and every spot on every team he’s played on. His work ethic is unmatched, and his enthusiasm is infectious. He’s the epitome of a team player.”

That’s the “thing” and “H” is doing it. And he wasn’t even a starter for Rutgers University until the end of his senior year!

The other thing that impresses me about “H” is that he is determined.

Hamady Ndaiye does not strive to do his best…

Hamady Ndaiye strives to DO WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Everybody knows what to do, but very few people do what they know.

“Do the thing and you’ll have the power.”


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Hollie Holcombe.

Earlier today, I spoke to about 40 young basketball players at Nick DiPillo’s Spring Break Skills Camp. A key point I brought up was that failure was inevitable. Everyone fails. It’s part of the process.

Michael Jordan got cut from his basketball team in high school, but he didn’t give up.

Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times when trying to invent the lightbulb.

Babe Ruth hit the most home runs, but he also had the most strikeouts. And each time The Babe failed, he said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

How does this relate to you? Let me put it to you this way…


Bounce back today!


Recently, I was speaking with a club manager and he mentioned that many parents today are too protective of their children. Parents want their children to be perfect—they don’t want them to fail.

Is this really helpful to the child?

Is this the mindset we want our children to have?

First of all, there’s no such thing as perfect. In fact, successful people fail the most.

If you’re not failing, you’re not taking risks. You’re not working hard enough.

Remember Zeke Bonura back in Message #1268? If not, click here.

Zeke Bonura had one of the highest fielding percentages in pro baseball, but that was because he didn’t try for any balls that he might miss.

Is this how we want to live?

There is a reason why you didn’t recognize the name Zeke Bonura.

Henry Ford went bankrupt five times while trying to develop businesses…eventually the Ford Motor Company was built.

Soichiro Honda applied for a job as an engineer for Toyota Motor Corporation but did not get the job and was unemployed for quite some time…eventually he began making scooters out of his home and started his own company.

Bill Gates failed out of college, and his first business, Traf-O-Data failed as well…eventually he started Microsoft.

Ever heard of the name Walt Disney?…he was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

So all of you parents, future parents, coaches and athletes…

Embrace failure, for it is where we learn the most. In fact, don’t even call it failure, call it feedback.

I hope you fail today.


Well here I am back in good ole New Jersey, and as wonderful a time I had on my honeymoon in Hawaii, it’s great to be back. I love traveling, but there’s something I love even more—real life.

Most people “live” for their vacations.

Most people “can’t wait” until the weekend.

Why is that?

1. Many people don’t do what they love.
2. Many people don’t cultivate gratitude for what they already have.
3. Many people don’t think success in sports and life is possible.

Some say that I am successful.

I don’t look at myself that way. I look at myself who is doing what he is passionate about, truly wants to make a difference in the world, and believes that anything is possible.

Did you know I failed out of college—twice?!?

Anything is possible if you believe you can achieve. All you have to do is start taking the correct action.


It’s not too late to be what you might have been.



Here is a brief, but great video I did with gold medal skier, Lindsey Vonn…listen to EVERY word she says…