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Deion ‘Coach Prime’ Sanders: ‘What’s Your Rabbit?’

Credit: Corporate Competitor Podcast
In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, affectionately known today as Coach Prime, talks about controlling your own destiny one good day at a time. 

Going to the dog track as a kid when he wasn’t supposed to be there and watching the “rabbits” setting the pace as the greyhounds tried to catch them gave a boy named Deion Sanders a metaphor for life. Back then, he didn’t think of the experience metaphorically; he was simply having fun and trying not to get into trouble. But the seed was planted.

“I always remember how the dogs just kept trying harder even though they would never catch that rabbit,” said the Pro Football Hall of Famer now affectionately known as “Coach Prime.” 

Coach Prime came to identify with those greyhounds. “I’m always trying to get to the next level. And the way you get to the next level, you have to put something out in front of you,” he explained. “I’m not gonna catch it, but I’m gonna go get it. I’m gonna always try to attain it and go get it. And everyone has to have a rabbit … and to chase it.”

The rabbit metaphor is so much of Coach Prime’s mindset, he devoted an entire chapter to it in the book we wrote together, Elevate & Dominate: 21 Ways to Win On and Off the Field which will hit bookshelves on March 12. 

For those of you who may be less familiar with Coach Prime, he is a two-time Super Bowl Champion who played 14 seasons in the NFL and nine seasons in Major League Baseball. His 1992 World Series appearance makes him the only athlete to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Sanders, who dubbed himself “Prime Time” as a college superstar at Florida State University, now prefers to go by the moniker “Coach Prime,” an appropriate title after he turned to coaching, most recently at the University of Colorado.

Just as he was during his playing days, Coach Prime remains the supreme motivator, not only of others but also of himself. And this just might be his secret weapon. 

In the podcast, Coach Prime reveals the mindset that keeps him highly motivated – and highly motivating – after a long career marked by much success. It’s all a matter of … let’s call it free-agency, a commitment to push himself every day and stay fired up about the journey that includes:

• Treating life like a TV remote. “I have the remote control of my life,” said Coach Prime. “You don’t have that remote control of my life because I’m not giving you that control over me. In the remote control of my life, the batteries are not included.”

• Coaching the whole person, not just the football player. “These kids will turn out to be wonderful young men, wonderful fathers and wonderful siblings,” he said. “You can’t just judge us by a game and the score.” 

• How to never have a bad day. “I don’t have bad days,” said Coach Prime. “I have bad moments. Even bad hours. But never a bad day.”

How does Coach Prime string together so many good days in the rough and tumble world of college coaching? A lot of it has to do with not letting one bad moment morph into two bad moments and so on. And how can you, as a leader in your organization, do the same? You’ll have to tune in to find out. But rest assured it has something to do with identifying your rabbit—and getting after it.


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