RISE! Coach John Herdman at #CIOPeerForum

By: Mitchell Fong

Ask the right questions at the right time, right place and to the right people. John’s journey started with a team that finished dead last at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and that team carried trauma of that loss with them.

Nine months later in the London Olympics 2012, Canada’s got it’s first podium finish since 1904! John looks back at his life and his Nanna’s “weighty” words of “Be Good!”

  • Be good when you go to your aunt’s house.
  • Be good when you go to church.

What does “Be Good” mean to you? Are you good both at work and at home? Are you good as you used to be? Are the people around you telling you the truth when you ask then you are good? Everything that happens on the field translated off the field and vice versa. Do you remain always good?

Being good is a habit, something that burns deep inside. You need to be able to good consistently. You can only be great when you are consistently good and only great when you are good when the sh*t hits the fan and still good.

Christine Sinclair is World Class and has the ability to complete at 90%+ throughout all aspects of her life. For us, we need to target to be at least 80% in our lives.

It is a combination of High Character and High Competence that creates High Trust.

HIGH TRUST = Higher Performance.

Often at work, folks are great at work Monday and Tuesday, but not the same Wed or Thurs. For the National Women’s Soccer team, players that did not live in the High Trust quadrant were moved out of the team. i.e. Magnetic North (Toxic) compared to True North. Challenge: All of you in the audience if you are parked, and other people are passing you, you need to evolve! Are you evolving at the same pace from 10 years ago?

Embracing the “Pit”

Folks need to embrace “the Pit” crack your Comfort Zone and move to the Highest Version of Self…. ARETE, Greek for Moral Virtue! Too many folks have their kids in University and have their nice car parked in the Driveway and are in “parked” in life as well.

Previous to January 2018, John was comfortable, two medals and folks stopped asking questions. We must live with the Greeks, Eudaimonia “Embracing the Pain of Progress.” Want to live at the Razor’s Edge!

When was the last time you were in the Pit? When is the last time you took your team in to the Pit?  Your kids? The team has delivered, the team has punched above their weight. It is easy on the sunny days, but where are you in the gloomy days. From the London Olympics in 2012, after losing the United States in the Semi Final match, the team had to rebound against the French, technically the BEST team in the Tournament. The Canadian Women were out shot by a huge margin, yet the team made a promise to itself of not letting the French team would not take their spirt or the Bronze Medal.

Some Background

John’s passion is Newcastle United! Black and White through his veins growing up. It is the pride of being a Geordie, knowing you are part of something bigger. There was something about growing up knowing your team might be rubbish, but came out every week to support your team.

Christine Sinclair said that John infused us with his passion! Two Olympics medals based on PASSION! Christine Sinclair is the Steve Jobs of soccer! Genius! Can you imagine going to work every day with a person like that? Are you a Passion infuser or are you a passion killer?


Passion: The worst passion killer is Clutter! What is stopping you? Charlie Chaplin: “We think to much and do not feel enough.” What have you put in place to contaminate your thinking? Our minds are typical snow globes, thoughts coming in! 60,000 thoughts that come in each day and unfortunately 1/3 negative. It is what you prioritize! What was crazy to see Canadian’s at Starbucks or Airports Fall of 2016. All they were looking at was Trump! These are negative thoughts and you can not even VOTE! Crazy!

Discipline:  Get’s stuff done regardless of what the world puts in front of us!

How is your Will Power? Is your tank Full or Empty? We must do the little things that folks that are not comfortable doing. It is not about doing a bit of a gym work out. It is about running when it is pouring rain and you strive, push and persevere! Need to have basic habits. Sleep well! Need to will power to not have a negative spiral.

Vision: When was the last time you had real vision? Vision must burn bright through the fog. Our pre-frontal cortex searches for Goals! Comfortable Goals, low hanging fruit. Need lit up goals, meaningful goals. Fire is lit at 400 degrees! What does it mean to be lit up? Do you have vision with meaning? The outcome is delivered because of meaning. Christine wanted to send off Melissa Tancredi off right in 2016! Christine dedicated her game winning goal to Melissa. Melissa dedicated her Olympics to Christine’s Dad who passed.

Wrap Up

John’s Goal in 2011 was achieved! Back to back Olympic Podium finishes and to be ranked in the Top 4 in the World!

John was comfortable in New Zealand for 12 years. When are you planning your next “OH SH*T” moment? When and where is the magic going to happen? You can not avoid failure. On occasion you must put yourself in a situation you MIGHT fail! We put others and some times we put ourselves in “Performance Cages/ Boxes” Must break free to be successful!

Canadian’s are good people, it is in their DNA! Look at the national anthem!

“Glorious and Free!” – Free to choose Glory?

“Stand on Guard for thee!” – How are you standing on Guard for?

“We see thee Rise!” – When will you Rise? What are you doing to rise?


On your final day, what will people say about you? Were you Good? Did she/ he have a lit passion?

80%+ Be Good… if you can live above that line set it to 90%+ and be GREAT!