Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll on the sidelines against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. Seattle won 12-7. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Pete Carroll Unplugged

Pete Carroll does not give many insights during his press interviews about who he is and how he became one of the best football coaches in history. He sat down recently with his good friend and renowned performance psychologist Michael Gervais to discuss the formative events and people in his life, as well as the a fascinating conversation about his approach to coaching. It’s a great listen. I recommend subscribing to the Finding Mastery podcast here.


A few topics they touch on:

  • Why having a chip on his shoulder helped shape him
  • The importance of being present
  • How competition fuels him
  • Why you can’t be afraid of failure
  • Creating your own reality
  • Helping others become optimistic
  • The moment he knew he had a different vision for coaching
  • Relationship-based approach to coaching
  • Why he doesn’t need to talk about winning
  • Dealing with difficult outcomes
  • The moments between the moments
  • The importance of the Seahawks culture
  • How he instills a risk-taking mentality in his players
  • Getting to the truth of what went wrong when mistakes happen
  • Why it all comes downs love

Notable quotes:

“When we’re at our best, there isn’t a future and there isn’t a past, you’re just there in the moment.”

“When you’re a competitor you don’t rest, you’re either competing or you’re not. You’re either working at doing better or you’re going the wrong direction. You can’t be easily satisfied. There’s more fun to be had.”

“The magic begins when somebody decides I think this can occur.”

“To help someone find their best, I need to figure them out. I need to figure out how to best communicate with them. What do they need that they don’t even know they need?”

“Being caught up in the result of something, whether you won or you lost, can affect your next outcome as well. Let it go and forget about it.”

On Seahawks culture: “If I’m not living it, how can I expect anyone else to? It’s about being as available and involved as possible. You can’t sit on your butt and do that.”

“Being able to take risks is what gives you the chance to do great things. How do you deal with it? By building and constructing a foundation of trust in yourself and in those around you.”