Lombardi Leadership

Lombardi Leadership

November 10, 2020

Over 50 years ago, Vince Lombardi coached his last football game.  Lombardi is universally recognized as one of the greatest coaches in football history, as well as a pioneering figure who helped break the sport’s color barrier.  These days, however, Lombardi is equally remembered for his famous aphorisms about winning, teamwork, and perseverance.  

With football season in full swing, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of Lombardi’s most famous maxims. As a financial advisor, I find them both inspiring and educational, because they can be applied not just to football success, but financial success.  If you like one of the quotes below, my advice is to write it down and think about it as you work towards your goals. 


So, without further ado, here are:

My Favorite Vince Lombardi Quotes

for goals, finances, life, and everything in between


  • “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

When I think of all the people I’ve known who set ambitious goals and reached them, I’m amazed by their work ethic.  Often, the people who are most likely to reach their goals are the ones for whom the journey to their goals is the greatest reward.  


  • “Inches make champions.”

This is so true.  When we commit ourselves to do just a little bit extra, when we never settle for eleven inches when twelve is what we want, those inches compound on themselves, and we can accomplish so much more. 


  • “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”


  • “Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs.  Watch your beliefs, they become your words.  Watch your words, they become your actions.  Watch your actions, they become your habits.  Watch your habits, they become your character.”


The historian Will Durant once wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”  As we pursue our goals in 2020 and beyond, it’s often best to focus on progressing just a little each day rather than trying to do too much, too quickly.  The former is sustainable.  The latter isn’t. 


  • “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”


  • “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”  


Just as none of us have the same goals in life, none of us have the same path to those goals.  Some people begin the journey with more or less than others.  Some people have more or less support than others.  Some people set ambitious goals; others set more modest ones.  But what truly matters, in the end, is not how much money we’ve earned or how many accolades we’ve gained.  What matters is how well we spent the time given to us.   Life is an investment.  If you put in all you have, you’ll take out even more.  


  • “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”


Another truth.  Just as no one is an island, no one, not even the most self-reliant, achieves their goals entirely on their own.  We all need a team to support and be supported by.  Sometimes that team is our own family.  Sometimes it’s the professionals we choose to partner with.  Whoever it is, when we surround ourselves with honest, caring, and hard-working people, it becomes so much easier to be all those things, too.   


  • “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get back up.”


Probably Lombardi’s most famous quotation, and for good reason.  No matter what, every single one of us will face setbacks.  Every single one of us will fail – often more than once.  But life is like football in a sense – we always have the opportunity to take the field again.  Those who do will triumph in the end.  


  • “If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your life.”


My favorite quote of all.  “As you set new goals, always lift your eyes to your highest dream.  Believe me, it’s within your reach.  It’s always been within your reach.”