Speaker: Change how you talk to yourself, you’ll change it all

Published 12:04 am Friday, January 25, 2013


It really is all in your head.That’s the message performance consultant Dr. Kevin Elko – who helped Alabama coach Nick Saban convince his Alabama Crimson Tide they could win the national championship – delivered to Andalusians last night at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership and awards banquet.

“How do you talk to you,” he asked. “If you change that, you change everything.”

People, he said, either live in vision or circumstance.

“You are headed somewhere or you’re headed nowhere,” he said.

Elkin related the story of being called early one Sunday morning by Andy Reid, then the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Reid’s son had just overdosed on heroin.

“He said he’d sent him to rehab three times,” Elko said. “He did it, but he didn’t believe it.

It’s all about attitude.

“Attitude’s not a gene. Attitude is a muscle,” he said. “You know what happens to a muscle if you don’t use it?”

He also shared the story of Chuck Pagano, current head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, being diagnosed with leukemia and hospitalized for two weeks. Elko told him to keep repeating, “There’s a plan for me.”

“I told him, if you’re lying awake at night, keep saying that. ‘There’s a plan for me.’ ”

The next morning, his condition was so improved, Pagano was sent home from the hospital.

Live your life intentionally, and without mental clutter, he advised.

Once, he said, he was conducting marriage counseling for a couple. The wife ran several hospitals; the husband had several girlfriends.

“Of course, you know what he said,” Elko recounted. “I never intended to hurt you.

“She was smarter than he was,” he said. “She looked at him and asked, ‘Did you intend to love me?

“You catch a cold; you don’t catch health. You intend it.

“You catch a cold. You don’t catch a marriage.”

Elko’s speech was peppered with anecdotes about the Crimson Tide’s championship year.

He used as an example Carson Tinker, the UA football player whose girlfriend died after she was ripped from his arms by the Tuscaloosa tornadoes.

“People ask him every day, ‘how do you keep going,” Elko said. “He said, ‘I’m not looking for blessing to come into my life, I’m looking to be a blessing in someone else’s life.’

“Every day he goes out with the attitude of ‘I’m going to help somebody.’

Elko said that before the national championship game, he said to the defensive line, “You made someone a Heisman trophy winner; are you going to make someone else the national champions?”

“I felt a little bad about that,” he said. “But they said it was just a little love tap compared to what Coach Saban said to them.

He said that throughout the 2012 football season, he used the miracle of the wedding at Canaan with the football team.

“We talked about you keep carrying the water until it becomes wine.

“I got 28 texts after the championship game,” he said. “They said, ‘ It’s wine.’ ”

Elko closed with an anecdote about Fiorello La Guardia, a judge who later was mayor of New York City.

During the Depression, the story goes, a woman came before him for stealing bread. When he asked her why, she said it was to feed her children.

The store owner pleaded with the judge not to let her go. He said the message would be that anyone could steal a loaf of bread.

So the judge sentenced the woman to pay a fine. But then he fined everyone in the courtroom to pay a small fine to the woman who was accused.

“Shame on you,” he said, adding that he was fining of them for letting a woman get to a place in life that she had to steal bread to feed her children.

“We need each other,” he said. “Every week, when I was leaving the Crimson Tide, we said this, ‘Each of us needs all of us.’ Say it. Because we do.”