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Vince Lombardi Winning Speech

Motivational quote containing Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi's famous "What it Takes to be Number One" speech along with commentary about what constitutes winning.

More than a motivational quote, this is the legendary Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi’s famous speech:

What It Takes To Be Number One

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win.

Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their head. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.

Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.

It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.

And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

I don’t say these things because I believe in the “brute” nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” - Vince Lombardi

The thing about winning is Vince Lombardi’s speech can be applied to all aspects of work and life.

Winning means different things to different people. To coach Vince Lombardi it meant winning football games, no matter the cost. It meant being on top. To others winning means success in the business arena, measured by profits. This is a very common perspective that makes logical sense.

In many sports, such as running, the concept of “Personal Best” is commonplace among athletes. A runner might set a goal to run a sub-five-minute mile. He or she might enter a mile-long race and get a time of 4:58, but be passed by several other runners with better times. Did this person win? Are they a winner?

I would venture to say yes. Their goal was to beat a specific time, and the fact that there was another overall winner to the race does not diminish their winning.

Not everyone can hold the top position, but everyone can win at their own race. Set your standards high and start running.

Successories Vince Lombari motivational poster. 

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