Life, Relationships

The Art of Belief

In another life (not really – just a different blog), I wrote about sports.

Specifically, I wrote about sports and social media. Today, I still work in sports and social media, but I no longer write about it. And, because I’m still in sports and social media, I occasionally come across tweets like this:

The tweet was posted by former Texas Longhorns football coach, Mack Brown. I noticed it because of the man in the photo – the late Bill Walsh, former head coach of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

Walsh is considered a legend in the NFL pantheon. Intelligent, innovative and an offensive genius are terms often associated with Walsh. Under his direction, the 49ers won three of their five Super Bowl championships.

Bill Walsh was a man a learned man. He studied, read and absorbed the game from the time he was young. It wasn’t just a matter of gaining knowledge.

He had to learn to apply that knowledge too.


One of the aspects of Walsh’s career that many discuss now is what is called his “coaching tree”. A coaching tree is akin to a lineage. His “descendants” in coaching include some well-known sports names today:

  • George Seifert (his successor at San Francisco – 2 Super Bowl wins)
  • Mike Holmgreen (two-time Super Bowl winning coach)
  • Mike Shanahan (two-time Super Bowl winning coach)
  • Jon Gruden (one Super Bowl win)

More names are on that list. Walsh left a coaching legacy.

The coaches in Walsh’s tree are driven. Driven to succeed. Driven to learn. Driven to win. Coming through the Walsh training ground, detail is important.

But, so are relationships. When I read the tweet above, I think relationships are key to that quote.


You need to stretch people to help them achieve their full potential.

As stated, many coaches can trace their roots of success to Bill Walsh. Several of them have reached the pinnacle of their sport with wins in the Super Bowl.


Working/coaching in the NFL isn’t for the feint of heart. Long hours in the office studying film, creating game plans, coaching, teaching, meetings, press responsibilities, not to mention the pressure to win from both inside and outside the organization (fans).

Win and you’re golden. Lose and you could be looking for your a new job next week. The goal is to win and Walsh’s proteges are known as being winners.

Full potential? 

Walsh, arguably, contributed to these coaches reaching their full potential.

Let’s look at this another way.

People, by and large, like comfort. We like to be comfortable. Oh sure, we like to learn, but when learning requires something of us, how do we respond?

Do we embrace it? Do we run from it? When someone is trying to teach us something that takes us out of our comfort zone, how do we respond?

If they’re like me, well, let’s just say I don’t like it too much. Oh, I’m learning to embrace it because I recognize that it helps me to grow. Change can be hard especially when that change is required from us. Change means getting out of our comfort zone. 

Getting out of our comfort zone – that’s called stretching.


…the most powerful way to do this is by having the courage to say, “I believe in you.”

I believe in YOU!

I don’t recall hearing that much growing up. I guess someone said it to me at some point. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I reached a point of believing in myself, which I do…NOW. 

Never had the privilege of meeting Coach Walsh. I’m not one to be intimidated by well-known people. After all, they are just…people. Just like me. Just like you. I like to think that with my self-belief now, I could interview Walsh or anyone else in the world.

No question.

Believing in oneself, however, is tricky.

It borders on the line of overconfidence, arrogance if that belief is carried too far. In sports media, there are … hmm … trying to be delicate here…an ample amount of people who carry it too far. It’s hard to communicate with their arrogance. 

Hidden beneath the Twitter-bluster of sports media are the quiet ones. The introspective, reserved ones. They don’t say much. They aren’t given to self-promotion of any kind. Self-belief is a place of discomfort for them, especially in our social-driven culture in sports media.

I believe in YOU!


We all need someone to simply say, I believe in YOU!

Those words carry power. 

Power to invigorate something in another person that seems out of their reach. Power to stir up the visions and ideas they once thought dead. Power to help them reach their potential. Power for growth. 

And perhaps the most meaningful of all – I believe in YOU – conveys value. 

We all want to be valued, to have significance. We want to matter – that our voice matters. We all want to reach our full potential, but some don’t know where to start. 


I believe in you. 

You need to stretch people to help them achieve their full potential...the most powerful way to do this is by having the courage to say, “I believe in you.” These four words constitu

Go inspire someone today. Empower them with those four simple words. Grow your “coaching tree” and help others stretch beyond what they thought they were capable of doing. 

I believe in you. 


Knees Down, Prayers Up