Your name is the only thing you have that has real value. Proverbs 22:1 says, 'It is better to have a good name than all the riches of the world.' This is something my father instilled in me when I was about 11. He told me that of all the things he had given me, the greatest was my name.
He said, 'I left you a good name. Whatever you do, don't screw up that name. I don't care what you do, just don't embarrass that name. Don't do something stupid where people are going to go, ‘Too bad about that kid.''
From the day he told me that, I was scared to death of getting in trouble or embarrassing my mom and dad. Things would come up, and I'd say, 'No, I can't do that. Don't do that. Don't go down that road.' It also helped that my mom told me that if I ever got thrown in jail, I shouldn't even bother calling home because nobody was coming to bail me out!
Doing the name good has stuck with me to this day. Every time I make a decision or get ready to say something, I'm always thinking about what my dad said. How is this going to reflect on my name?
Valuing your name also means valuing your word. If you give someone your word that something will get done, make sure it gets done. Going back on your word or failing to back up what you say will tarnish your name quicker than just about anything else. It can be as little as taking out the trash because you said you'd do it, or as big as saying you will increase profitability this quarter. If you say it, make sure you do it. Get up 10 minutes earlier to get those trash cans outside before the garbage truck comes. Make smarter decisions about expenditures to ensure that profitability will increase even if sales don't. Don't make promises you can't guarantee. Don't make guarantees that you can't absolutely, without a doubt, say will happen. I never guarantee a win; I never guarantee a certain number of wins each season. I never even make predictions because of the uncertainty of results and because they don't really matter anyway. I do guarantee that I will give my best effort to help get us to where we want to be. I give you my word on that. I'll stake my name on that.
Saying and doing the right thing is even tougher now because of the media attention I get as head coach of one of the most storied teams situated in the biggest media market in the country. There is so much pressure on me now. So many people are looking at me. Every time I say something, I know that somebody's going to hear it. And I'm fearful that someone will hear it and say, 'Why did he say that? What was he thinking? Is that man crazy?'
My dad died knowing that I had accomplished something that nobody thought I could do and that along the way, I had done the name proud. I think that meant more to him than anything. The older I get, the more pressure I put on myself because I know I've done a pretty good job and I don't want to screw it up.