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Thriving on passion and pressure

IBEX keynoter Rick Pitino gives industry players his formula for success — in business as in basketball

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Industry players got a pep talk from a master motivator when two-time national collegiate champion basketball coach Rick Pitino delivered the keynote address at the IBEX Industry Breakfast on Sept. 17.

Pitino, who coached his University of Louisville Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA championship, framed his talk on the motivational non-fiction book he co-authored, “The One Day Contract,” which was published in October.

The premise behind the book, and Pitino’s talk, is simple:

“If you have just one day to be renewed, as an athlete or a salesperson, what would you do?” Pitino asked the audience of more than 450 before explaining the strategies behind his philosophy of making the most of each day, regardless of vocation, and to “earn” a new contract every day.

That begins with meticulous preparation to succeed and entails focus, passion, positivity, creativity, mentoring and living in the present.

“Your industry knows all about adversity and all about success,” he said. “If you face adversity, what will get you through every time will be your dedication and your passion.”

Pitino says he endeavors to be positive “98 percent of the day — and the other 2 percent I strive to be positive.”

He discussed the importance of maintaining high self-esteem and fostering it in employees and colleagues; the need for “meaningful distractions” from any vocation to avoid burnout and inspire rejuvenation and passion; and understanding how stress only produces negative results while pressure causes people to thrive at tackling a challenge.

“Pressure is great,” the coach told the audience. “In your job, you want passion and pressure. They’re your best friends.”

Pitino closed by encouraging his audience to embrace those values and that attitude to create a brighter future for their businesses and the industry.

“You will come back,” he said. “It may take a little longer, but you’ll be ready for it because of your passion.”

— Rich Armstrong

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