Do you want to win forever?

A summary of Win Forever by Pete Carroll with Yogi Roth If you want to win forever, always compete. Pete Carroll

Win Forever Pete Carroll

Win Forever Pete Carroll

Win Forever was written by Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks.  He shares his unique positive coaching style, learned through trial and error. He has used his Win Forever philosophy at the college and professional level and has achieved great success by creating cultures of high performance.  His record with the Seahawks since 2010 is 60-36 and they have gone to the Superbowl twice and were the Champions in 2013.  He focuses on maximizing potential and bringing greatness to the lives of others holistically. A quote that inspired him to think differently came from Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, “We don’t want to be the best ones doing something--we want to be the only ones doing it”.

John Wooden was part of the creation of Carroll’s strategy and inspired him to get his plan into writing and to include vision, philosophy, and beliefs.  Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, he desired to get his teams to the peak performance level of self-actualization which is at the top of the pyramid.   Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  Carroll's written philosophy is the foundation on which he builds highly successful, top performing teams. The detailed clear vision contains beliefs, style, and rules.

Key Ideas

  • Know your responsibilities: What is your “fit” in the plan design? I think of this in terms of “the what” and “the how” --knowing your role and your goals. What important part do you play in the success of the team and how should you be playing in order to achieve your goals?

  • Quiet mind: Supreme confidence comes from possessing a quieted mind, as external performance is dictated by the inner game. Borrowed from Coach Wooden’s book— “a positive approach creates the power of possibilities”, Mind over matter—truly matters!

  • Maximize everyone’s potential: help people see what they can become and then support them. This one especially resonates with me as I see this as my primary role as executive coach. I help my clients to see the possibilities and I support them as they work to achieve their goals. Confidence builds as you understand that you are the only person who has control over your performance and potential.

  • Philosophy as the foundation: Write it down, commit to it, create boundaries to protect the philosophy, and hold to it.

    • Always compete—go all out on your priorities—choose carefully and do your best

    • Practice is everything—how we practice makes just as important of a statement as how we play the game

    • Leading at all levels-owners, coaches, players—everyone must be on the same page

    • Commitment-while interviewing potential players and coaches, Carroll looked for positivity and confidence along with ability. In order to fit in with the philosophy and the team these things were of ultimate importance. Commitment was critical--at the beginning of each new season, he asks for verbal commitment from each player and member of his staff, “are you in?!”

Win Forever

Win Forever

The Three Rules

  • Always protect the team (subordinate personal needs for greater good)

  • No whining, complaining, excuses (eliminate negativity)

  • Be early (be organized and respectful and have your priorities in order)


The players at the top in any setting have mastered the inner game—the mind achieves most.  Carroll takes a positive approach to each season and each individual by looking at the possibilities.  When someone isn’t performing up to their potential or makes a mistake, his first step is to provide further education or role clarity vs. punishment or criticism.  He takes great efforts to coach his coaches and models and rewards authenticity and willingness and ability to grow.  He sees his coaches as teachers and has an expectation that they will be good at observing, listening, flexible, and enable open communication.  He reinforces the power of language and communication skills as critical success factors in building a successful team.  If critique is needed, then it’s on the effort first and technique second.  “If self-confidence is important, why would we ever want to approach someone in a manner that might disrupt or shatter it?”

Themes drive consistency

  • Tell the truth Monday--what occurred in last game-think and speak as a team

  • Competition Tuesday—celebration of the central theme in the program-accentuated this practice as competitive matchups between each other and created a focus on getting better.

  • Turnover Wednesday—focus on the factor that determines the outcome of football games-taking care of and going after the football.

  • No repeat Thursday—execution and precision of weekly game plan. Focus on things going right. Demonstration of game plan with precision so nothing had to be repeated.

  • Review Friday—Proving to the players that we were going to win and had earned the right to feel that way. Energy was high to celebrate the weekend and be serious about the agenda.

Many of Carroll’s philosophies you may have heard before.  What is new is the level of focus and commitment he brought to achieving this vision and the demand that his team is with him.  By being clear on roles and goals, having a defined strategy and structure, and focusing on maximizing the potential of others—the environment in created where everyone has the opportunity to Win Forever.

Reflection Guide

  1. Which of Carroll’s philosophies resonate most with you? Why?

  2. How could you take the Win Forever philosophy and apply it to your work and/or life?

  3. Taking the example of “focus days”? What would it look like if you created your own version? How might that impact your performance?

  4. What is your personal philosophy and how do you apply it?

  5. Do you have a picture(s) in your mind that is representative of your vision? Create a visual and then post where you can look at it often—to remind you of your vision and the path you are taking to achieve it.

  6. What is your theme? Mine is related to my Myers Briggs type which is ENFP. The headline for ENFP is “people are the product”. In my business, I am fully dedicated to helping people grow professionally and personally. What’s your theme and how are you living it?