Full text of high school football coach and entrepreneur Art Williams’ famous speech “Do It”. This speech was delivered to the 1987 National Religious Broadcaster Convention and has become a classic example of Art’s philosophy on winning in business.
Best Quote from this speech:
“Total commitment gives you that little extra ounce of courage you need to fight back through the tough times. Winning in business, demands the same kind of commitment that winning in marriage demands.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Art Williams – Entrepreneur
Thank you. Thank you Jerry and I tell you I don’t know if I’ve been this nervous in a long time. This is the most intimidating thing that I think it’s ever happened to me, an old dumb South Georgia football coach speaking to a bunch of TV personalities, like many of you, many great evangelists in the audience, and who put me between [Jerry] Falwell and [Jimmy] Swaggart on the same night just totally blows me away.
But I’ll try to give it my best shot. I was asked to talk to you about how to win in business. I think it’s a good subject for you to think about, because I believe business in America is in a crisis situation today. All you have to do is read the paper, and every month see our trade deficit, and it’s just a very depressing situation.
And to speak to you about how to win in business, there’s a lot of obvious things I could talk about. You first have to find a need. You’ve got to fill the need for the consumer out there. You’ve got to have a market. You’ve got to have somebody to sell your product or your service to.
You’ve got to, if you really want to get big and win big, you’ve got to have a uniqueness, there’s got to be something a little bit different from you than all the competition out there. But by far the most important thing you’ve got to have to win in business in these United States today, is a very unique kind of mental toughness.
I believe the difference in winning and losing in the free enterprise system, is so small it’s almost too scary to talk about. You can do 99% of the things right in business, and yet if you don’t possess what I call that winning edge, that mental toughness, folks it’s impossible to win.
I believe the thinking in corporate America has been screwed up over these last 20-25 years. And I believe this screwed up kind of thinking started in our big liberal universities today. I believe a college degree in business from most universities today, is not worth the paper it’s written on.
I just had a son graduate from the University of Georgia a few months ago. The reason I think that, is because most of these professors and most of these universities today, haven’t got enough common sense to get in out of the rain. They don’t have any idea what it takes to win out there in the real world. They deal in a bunch of theory. These people have tried to fill up corporate America with this kind of thinking.
These are the special people, if you’re born rich, if you’re born on the right side of the track, they rule you the privileged class in America. If you’re born poor from an average ordinary background like I came from, they say you’re supposed to give up all your big dreams and all your big ambitions and all your big hope. If you have a high IQ, they rule you brilliant. If you have an average IQ, like me, they say you ought to drive a truck or be a janitor.
Well bull. That ain’t the way, that ain’t the way it is and that ain’t the way it ever was. They ain’t nobody ever designed to test, nor will they design a test, that can measure the heart of a man or woman. The things that are unique to winning in business in America today, are not outside artificial things like IQs, college board scores, college degrees, and stuff like that.
The key to winning in these United States, is what’s inside a person. It’s your integrity. It’s your people abilities. It’s your character.
I believe in developing this winning edge. I’ve got 212 points that I won’t be able to go over with you tonight, but let me just give you a flavor of what I think you got to do to succeed in these United States.
NUMBER ONE, YOU’VE GOT TO GET EXCITED. Folks, I don’t believe anybody will ever tell you anything more important than this in winning these United States. 90 plus percent of winning in anything you try to do in America today, you’ve got to be excited. People in America won’t follow or believe in a negative, dull, disillusioned, frustrated, dadgum cry baby. People want people that are positive and excited and enthusiastic and tough.
The greatest lesson. The greatest definition I ever heard. I thought about this 10 million times when I wanted to quit along the way of a winner. This guy said, “Almost everybody in America can stay excited for 2 or 3 months. A few people can stay excited for 2 or 3 years, but a winner will stay excited for 30 years or however long it takes to win.”
Another key to building this winning edge and this mental toughness, is you got to become a dreamer again. You know I’m a Methodist and we just changed ministers a few weeks ago, and our new minister came in and the church was just packed. And the first thing he said is, “Well looks like everybody came out to see the mucky perform.”
And the second thing out of his mouth, he said, “For a church to be a great church, you got to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, you’re dead.” And boy I sat up and I said, man me and this guy are going to get along good because he knows what he’s talking about.
See folks, I believe in order to win, you got to feel good about yourself. When I was coaching football for 7 years back in Georgia, and I had a paddle in my coaching office it was about this thick and this long. And at the fat end I had little holes bored into it, so you could really get some speed and blister that little butt. You know when they misbehaved, and I had a rule on my football team that if any kid said I can’t, if any football player heard one of my football players said I can’t, he got to bring him in the coaches’ office and give him three licks.
And it took me about a month to get all that thinking out of my players every year, and I’d have football players knock on my door at recess and at lunch and after school. And he said, “Coach, he said it. Coach, he said it.” And I’d make that kid bend over and I’d give that other kid the board, he’d bust him three times. And folks, it didn’t take long. You couldn’t create a word game to get one of my kids to say I can’t.
Bring it home a little bit more personal, when April and little Art were just this little and could understand words. Every time they said I can’t, I made them do three push-ups. Folks, there ain’t nothing you can’t do in America if you want to bad enough.
Another key in building this winning edge, is folks you’ve got to stand for something. People in America, the good people in America, are fed up with here with these dadgum fence sitters and mealy mouths. Our corporate America has an especially black eye in business today.