SMU football is on the rise. Whether you like the Mustangs or not, you should take notice of the energy building around the team. They’re 7-5 in the regular season two years in a row following a 2008, 1-11 record, with a 6-2 in-conference record this past season. They’ve been invited to two bowl games in a row after a 25 year drought. Scout.com ranked the Mustangs incoming class at No.1 among all non-BCS AQ schools. And Rivals.com ranked SMU’s recruiting class no. 50 overall. This is the highest ranked class for SMU in three decades.
Following a Young Alumni breakfast at the Crescent Club last week, I have no doubt the reason behind all this success and excitement is Coach June Jones. To say Coach Jones is humble is an understatement. He lives his life by faith and constantly strives to better the lives of those around him. He acts as mentor and coach to his team, earning their respect through giving it. And over coffee first thing in the morning, he shared with us his principles for his team, and his life.
I didn’t find him the most eloquent speaker, but rather one of the most inspiring. Whether you’re a Mustang fan, a football fan or even a sports fan, I hope you’ll gain as much from his points as I did.
- There is no complaining and no whining. The team knows that they’re there to work hard and that it is, in fact, hard work. But everyone is working hard at something and the ones that make it to the top do so without complaining. Be positive. There will be no lying, no cheating and no stealing – not on his team – which in and of itself is an accomplishment in this day and age of college football players arrests and shenanigans.
- You must be willing to be your best self. Live at the highest level of your values. Live with honor and integrity.
- Help others. You must have a willingness to see the world beyond yourself.
- Every day should be a masterpiece and truly be your best day. You will never get these moments back, so live them magnificently. (This one truly spoke to me. As a small business owner, I can get bogged down in stress and daily details. But how could I dream of letting myself miss these moments? Or not fully live them as the masterpiece that they are?)
- Read. Drink deeply from words, all words. But especially read from the Bible daily.
- Make friendship an art. Become close to a circle of friends. You’ll need those friends more than you know at some point in your life and simultaneously, you’ll be the friend someone needs, even if you never truly realize it. In the valley’s of life, you will need the shelter and protection of friends. When you make friendship an art, it benefits everything: that person and yourself.
- Pray for guidance every day. This may seem simple or less important, but he shared his faith – a strong faith. Through prayer every day he’s thanked God for his blessings and sought guidance in his valley’s.
Coach Jones is a truly spiritual man. He is a truly inspirational man. His players look up to him and he loves them. That relationship has created the success the team has on and off the field, which has in turn created success within the University and spread to the Alumni. SMU is in the 2nd largest turn-around in college football history, with Hawaii under Coach Jones the number one turn-around.
He encouraged us to live by the principles he gives his players. Play the game at the highest level. Be the best you can be. Be consistent in your life. If you repeat these behaviors and daily live by these principles, it will become an unconscious competence. You will be your most successful self unconsciously.
He closed with a quote he recited from memory:
“We must manage our behavior to meet the objective. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act it is a habit.” – Aristotle