LACK is Deadly

Years ago on a football field, I learned a valuable lesson from my football coach. This lesson came at the end of a very lackluster and frustrating practice. It seemed that everyone was out of sync and that our team was not focused on our objective. In fact, the effort was minimal, and the mistakes were numerous throughout the practice.

I still remember the words from 42 years ago that echoed across the field as they have been indelibly inscribed in my mind. Trust me, the tone and intensity of the message made a lasting impression.

It was a warning message to every player that a display of "Lack" would never be acceptable on our football team.

Coach made it clear as he said, "A lacker will never be a Champion. A lacker will never be a Leader. A lacker will never be Respected. A lacker has no Pride. A lacker will never reach his Goals. A lacker will never build Trust. A lacker will never build a Team. A lacker will never know the sweet taste of Victory. A lacker will never be a Winner at anything in life except the game of losing. Are you men Lackers or Champions?" Bam!!!

Understanding LACK

As our coach addressed our team, you could sense a shift in everyone's attitude and mindset. It was obvious we had committed the equivalent of a moral sin in football: we had disappointed our coach and let each other down. That is not a feeling you ever want to experience if you are part of a team.

Being part of a team is a special thing in life, and with that privilege comes personal responsibility to always do your best for your teammates. We had miserably failed on that day to live in accordance with that mission.

The LACK list: you can never tolerate or live with a lack of:

  • Maximum Effort
  • Discipline
  • Preparation
  • Energy
  • Pride
  • Enthusiasm
  • Personal Drive
  • Fundamental Execution
  • Hustle
  • Desire to Win
  • Intensity
  • Consistency
  • Teamwork
  • Respect for Others
  • Determination
  • Attention to Detail
  • Belief in the Process
  • Championship Mentality
  • Commitment to the Team
  • Positive Attitude

These indicators of the existence of LACK shook me to my core. On that particular day, we were all guilty of lacking in some of the key areas that success demands. I didn't like the feeling of being labeled as a LACKER. Who would ever want their coach or leader to view them in that way?

I certainly didn't, and neither did my teammates. This was a major wake-up call for every member of the team.

The Disease of Lack

Our coach made it clear to us on a crisp fall afternoon in Louisiana that he would not tolerate LACK from any player. Furthermore, there would be no lackers allowed to wear our uniform or represent our program and our school. A definite line had been clearly drawn on the field that day. This was a football program built for winners, not lackers.


Coach made it crystal clear that LACK was a contagious disease. He would not allow LACK to spread, and if you were infected with LACK in any of the 20 symptoms listed above, you would not be allowed to be part of the team. I still remember this quote:

"There is no one player who is more important than our team as a whole."

I also remember these words as he continued his rant on lack:

"No one of us will ever accomplish more than all of us working together as one team with one purpose and one heartbeat."

I am so grateful for hearing this message so early in life. I am so appreciative of playing for a dynamic coach who cared enough about his players to snap us into reality. I am so thankful for his call to action that day because it certainly impacted the rest of my life.

Who Are We?

Anyone who has ever attended our Sustaining Excellence Leadership Program at the Level 10 University Campus knows the answer to that question. Anyone who has experienced the high-intensity, competitive environment we create knows and understands LACK is not tolerated at Sustaining Excellence. We demand and expect the best from every team member. This environment serves to create the best leadership development experience in the world.

The answer to the question:

"We Are One!"

At our campus, we are surrounded by the beauty of Lookout Mountain, and one of our traditions is to echo those words throughout the valleys of Wildwood, Georgia. As we stand together as a group all hands connected, one of our students screams the question:

"Who Are We?"

It is an awe-inspiring experience to hear these words echo back across the mountains like crashing thunder as every team member screams in unison...


And in that moment, you know that you truthfully are One Team with One Voice and One Purpose operating together with One Heartbeat. Life doesn't get much better than that to me.

For more information about attending Sustaining Excellence, please call 1-800-823-7698 and ask for one of our great sales professionals. We are always available to serve our customers.

Make a difference today.

Remember, It All Matters,

— Paul

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Find out about Paul Cummings University demos here.

Copyright 2017: Paul Cummings Enterprises.

About the author: For over 30 years, Paul Cummings has taught dynamic life changing strategies on sales, customer service, communication, building a better business, and leadership. Millions have had the opportunity to learn what it means to live and work at Level 10.

A Level 10 Event

As Brad drove up to meet me at Starbucks on an early Friday morning in Irvine, California, I was filled with genuine excitement. Brad Mugg, a client and dear friend, is someone I immensely admire and respect for a multitude of reasons. Life had interrupted the frequency of our interactions, and today would be the first time we had seen each other in years. I was stoked. I had been invited to speak to his team of professional sales and service associates, and today would be a Level 10 Experience for everyone in attendance.

As we greeted each other in the parking lot, it was as if no time had elapsed at all. Genuine excitement was in the air. Brad is one of the great leaders I have had the honor of working with during my career. He is everything a leader should be in every way: integrity beyond reproach, the energy of 100 motivated men, childlike enthusiasm consistently displayed, trains his people and focuses on helping others reach their goals and dreams. He is a true set-on-fire, goal-seeking, dream-reaching giant of a man.


Brad and I met 15 years ago in Chicago where he led a large automobile dealership. The day we met, I knew he was a very special leader. Some people have their energy level turned up to an unusual level, and they have this extraordinary and different viewpoint of what's possible. Brad was on a purpose-based mission to do something special with his life by assisting others on their journey to success. A committed husband and father of three, a man who lives his life with integrity and pure intention, Brad Mugg was uniquely special, and I was inspired by the opportunity to educate his teams.

"The mark of a man is what they do for the benefit of others without expectation of personal gain." ~ George W. Cummings, Sr.

Humbling Experience

As we arrived at the Norm Reeves Irvine Auto Plaza, we were both filled with enthusiasm and energy. The first thing that happened was amazing. One of Brad's leaders had actually beat Brad to the punch in ordering a Level 10 license plate for his automobile. We met in the parking lot, and it was truly humbling to hear what the Level 10 approach to life had meant to this man. It's nice to see first-hand that what you do truly matters to other people.

Thought Starter

"You've been given the innate power to shape your life...but you cannot just speak change, you have to LIVE change. Intent paired with action builds the bridge to success. You can't just want it; you have to do it, live it...BE it! Success isn't something you have, it's something you DO!"
~ Steve Maraboli

"Wow" Experience

As we walked through the facility, I saw representations of my life's work in full display. My creed was featured in their monthly newsletter. My sales processes, Winning Words and The 9-Square Grid, were visible in many ways. They truly ran their business based on the Paul Cummings method of service-based selling. All I could think was, "I wish everyone who works so hard on behalf of our customers every day could witness what I am seeing first hand."

"It All Matters."

Two Young Men

Brad asked me to spend some time with two special young men, his sons Cooper and Quincy. I enjoyed my engaging discussion with them regarding their goals and true aspirations. It's obvious the old saying, "The apple didn't fall far from the tree," is true in their case. There is something uplifting about being around young people who are goal-directed and focused on chasing down meaningful dreams. It was an honor that Brad would ask me to provide advice and counsel to his sons.

Some People Talk a Good Game

Brad told his entire team during my introduction that I had inspired him and changed his life 15 years ago. He told a story about how my 9-Square Grid process had helped an automotive colleague of his build a $50,000,000 net worth. Although I appreciated the kind words, the brutal truth is some people talk a good game but do nothing. On the other hand, men like Brad Mugg walk their talk and get richly rewarded as a result.

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
— Ronald Reagan

Make a difference today.

Remember, It All Matters,

— Paul

Find out about Paul Cummings University demos here.

Copyright 2016: Paul Cummings Enterprises.

About the author: For over 30 years, Paul Cummings has taught dynamic life changing strategies on sales, customer service, communication, building a better business, and leadership. Millions have had the opportunity to learn what it means to live and work at Level 10.