Last week I was able to mix two personal interests of mine – business and basketball- two areas of passion, an added benefit I was able to catch-up with my college basketball coach.
Coach has a contagious enthusiasm, and unique ability to drop the right quote in the right situation at the right time. While catching up, I overheard Coach tell his kids as they headed out the door to school; “Boys, attack the day with enthusiasm previously unknown to mankind!”
The quote – like so many others I’ve heard come out of his mouth – resonated with me. So, I asked its origin and proceeded to tell me the story behind it.
This time last year the Harbaugh boys – John and Jim, NFL head coaches of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, respectively – were front and center leading their respective teams to the Super Bowl. Stories that shaped their coaching perspectives were told at length in the weeks leading up to the big game, but the one that caught Coach’s attention was about their dad, Jack:
The two brothers, separated by only 15 months, sat in the back of their father’s 1962 Chevy as it pulled up to an elementary school in Iowa City.
John Harbaugh was 8. Jim Harbaugh was 6.
John and Jim grew up in their father’s football environment, starting when they were toddlers transported to practice in a stroller by their mother, Jackie.
But at Iowa — one of the 14 stops made during a coaching career that stretched from Ohio to California — Jack’s job title included chauffeuring his boys to school.
Because his time was limited, Harbaugh made certain it was meaningful.
Just before his sons would reach to open the door, Jack would turn around, scan his audience and deliver the same 20 words.
“OK, men, grab your lunchboxes and attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind,” he’d say.
“And don’t take any wooden nickels.”
Emotions are powerful be them Passion and Enthusiasm or Apathy and Indifference. I choose enthusiasm and to those of you reading this I challenge you to embrace Coach Harbaugh’s words of wisdom; “Attack the Day with Enthusiasm unknown to mankind!”