Pat Summitt’s Definite Dozen of Life Rules

In the early 2000’s, I started watching a lot of Women’s College Basketball, mainly their NCAA tournament. I had always been a big fan of the Men’s March Madness, always remembering the first championship game I ever watched – Jack Givens’ monster game in 1978.

But the women’s game was and continues to be different. It was clear that the fundamentals taught focused on team-first principles. It’s not to say that the men weren’t, but the women’s game had and has minimal one-on-one playing that the men’s game gets bogged down with a lot of times. Sure, the men could sky and dunk from anywhere (who wasn’t a fan of Phi Slamma Jamma?), but I became to appreciate how good the women’s game was.

Back then, there were only a handful of great teams, led by Tennessee and their coach, Pat Summitt.

I believe Summitt was one of those people that, from afar, you either loved or hated. Very little middle ground. What most people saw and remembered from tv were her vicious stares, mainly at her players when they messed up in her mind. She was going to drive them to greatness and it wasn’t for the faint of heart.

Recently, something came across my phone about her, specifically, her Definite Dozen of Life Rules.

Someone posed the question of which rule was your favorite. After sitting on that question for a week, I came to the following cop-out – it’s impossible to pick one. However, I do have some favorites and in no particular order, they are:

  • Take Full Responsibility
  • Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty
  • Discipline Yourself So No One Else Has To

This is not to say the other nine aren’t of value. It’s that these resonate entirely with me and ones that I will continue to push myself with as well as hoping to impart to others.

Take Full Responsibility – There is no doubt that you are going to mess up in life. A lot. Not taking full responsibility and pushing it off on something or someone else is going to hurt you in the long run. I used to have friends that never believed anything was their fault. All I heard were excuses. Ultimately, they never learned from their mistakes and kept making them over and over.

Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty – Start with your family and friends. If you aren’t loyal and trustworthy to them and they to you, what kind of relationship is that? I want my friends and family to know that I won’t let them down.

Discipline Yourself So No One Else Has To – Help and guidance are things we all need. However, at some point, you have to get things done by yourself. And that takes self-discipline. Don’t always expect someone to tell you what you need to hear. Count on yourself.

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