In the early ’80s, Dave Mager was most often found in a sports arena coaching focused and unfocused athletes. This loud, persistent, structured leader expected excellence from his team and got it. He demanded superior behavior in all aspects of the athletes’ lives — a commitment to God, family, self, and the art of team sports.
Dave Mager formulated the mindset of “GAME FACE” which translated means “a total and unyielding focus on the task at hand.” This foundation principle was transcribed into peak performance in mind, body, and spirit. He demanded no less of himself than the charge he imposed on the athletes.
Many people have asked me what the key to success is. My answer is always that it all comes back to having your own “GAME FACE” and having it on every day. Where did I come up with “GAME FACE”? In the fall of 1971, I was named the captain of the football team and I always led my team onto the field. Midway into the season one day after church the pastor asked if I would stay for a minute because he needed to talk to me. He started the conversation off by telling me he had an issue with me, and I nervously asked what the problem was. He began by stating all the fine qualities that he observed in me using in our community, and again I asked so what’s the problem. He told me that he was confused because I was always so nice and outgoing with everyone including himself, but at a football game, I had ignored him when he greeted me as I was leading the team onto the field. So, I apologized and asked him if we were okay and he said no because at the next game he tried louder, and I had ignored him that time too. Once again, I apologized and asked if we were okay now and he said no because just this last week at the game I had not only ignored him, but I had actually pushed him out of the way as I passed by. I told him I’m sorry, but I had my game face on. He asked me what do you mean you had your game face on. What is your game face? I explained that “GAME FACE” is when you get focused and mentally prepared for the game and it starts the second you get up not right before the game and it starts at 7 am not 7 pm.
Twenty years later I had become successful in business and in my personal relationships. I had a son and he played football as well. He was named along with a couple of his close friends as a captain of his football team and they were always hanging around the house and I explained the concept of game face to them. That year his team not only won the north division, but they went on to win the entire conference championship and they did it by having their game face on at all times. They were focused on the task before them and they played with intensity and unity. Each of the guys on that team are now successful in both their professional and personal lives.
“GAME FACE” has not only touched the lives of those in this country but it has also spread around the globe. From a Chiropractor, Dr. Matt on the mountain top of Pike’s Peak, to his brother a Captain in the Navy Seal’s on the shores of San Diego, to the Soldier’s on the frontlines of Iraq, to the Colonel in the Pentagon, and finally to the White House where Secretary Rice wrote it into a speech for President Bush along with a baseball analogy. The President chose the baseball analogy, but he did state he would keep the “GAME FACE” analogy for a time that our country needed to rally around each other.
The most important thing about having your “GAME FACE” on is that it not only affects sports but has a tremendous impact on family, friends, and love ones in your life. Remember wake up every morning with your head in the game and have your “GAME FACE” every second of every day for the rest of your life to be fulfilled, passionate and successful in your personal life which empowers you professionally.