Urban Meyer…Lessons on Leadership



First, I got to give a special shout out to my friend Sharon Esswein who recommended this book to me. She never fails in recommending me books that will lift me up or that will enhance my life in many ways.

As my close friends know, my number one sport is soccer. I am very passionate about this game. Football? Not so much. I didn’t grow up with football in my life and the only team that I care enough to watch a game is, of course, The Buckeyes. As a graduate of The Ohio State University, I love everything that they represent.

This book Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Season
got me thinking deeply about what it means to be a leader, regardless of the field that you currently work on. Urban Meyer has some honest and reflective insights on his own journey, his mistakes, his ups and down. How refreshing is to read that someone as respected as him admits messing up or over focusing on the wrong things.

Urban makes trust building a priority. Constantly communicating the WHY. Nothing is accidental. His message is very constant through the book: the essence of life and leadership is change and growth.  When things don’t go right, the questions he asks are:

At what point did it break down?

Trust too low?

Purpose unclear?

Lack of skills?

Low accountability?

Instead of getting furious (a “Below the Line behavior”), he gets curious (an Above the Line behavior).

What is Above The Line behavior? Well, you have to read the book to understand it in depth but I’ll give you a glimpse:

Above the Line behavior is conscious and thoughtful. A choice made in alignment with your larger vision of where you want to go. It’s the most important choice you make everyday.

“How do you fight off the forces that want to drag you “Below The Line”? How do you bring your best when it matters most? The R Factor. Your “Response” determines the quality of your life. When a situation is difficult: Press Pause and ask: What does this situation require of me?”

This particular section of the book spoke to my heart as it is something that I’m constantly reminding the teachers in my team: press the “pause” button when you are unsure. I won’t say that my success rate with this approach is 100% but I am definitely getting better throughout the years (and after many failures).

There is  A LOT, A LOT more about this philosophical foundation of leadership. And I can’t possibly share it all with you here but I’ll say this much: Urban Meyer believes in constantly working on ourselves, learning, understanding, pausing and reflecting. As leaders, we all got to make the time to fuel these habits in our lives. Are you reading? Are you connecting with people in your life that can lift you? Are you adding value to conversations when there is a gathering? Are you listening and paying attention to behaviors around you? Let’s not get caught in the “title” of being leaders. If we are leading people, are we bringing them along?

Thanks Urban Meyer for your honesty, your voice of clarity and experience and of course, for leading the best football team. The only one that I truly care about. 🙂





2 thoughts on “Urban Meyer…Lessons on Leadership

  1. I am always looking forward to all of your books recommendations, and I love to read inspirational books. Will definitely add it to my list! Thanks Stella!


  2. I am a huge fan of The Buckeyes. I think it is impossible to graduate from OSU and not become one. I admired the work of Tim Kight and others before him that Meyer seems to reference here. A great reminder that leadership takes guts. The constant reflection is necessary, although it would drive you crazy sometimes. Understanding what part of the problem you owned is imperative. Thank you for sharing Stella!


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