To celebrate the opening of the 2016-17 NFL season this evening…here are some game-changing insights from Hall of Famer Mike Ditka’s presentation which closed the 2016 RE/MAX Broker-Owner Convention in Chicago August 2016.

When you’ve reached the pinnacle of your profession, coaching and working alongside some of the greatest players in your field, you learn a bit about leadership and teamwork along the way.

So there’s no doubt that NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka knows his stuff. Although life is an individual journey, he says, having the right people pushing you and holding you accountable along the way makes all the difference.

The 2016 BOC officially came to a close on Tuesday, but not before the Super Bowl-winning coach took the stage. The outspoken Ditka spoke of his humble beginnings, the importance of hard work and the undeniable value of building the right team.

From “Da Coach” himself, here are top pieces of advice for life both on and off the field.

1. Have strong character

“Character is the most important thing you have. It’s the value system you build your life on. And if you’ve got a good one, nothing can stop you. You might have a few setbacks but nothing can stop you.”

2. Look to – and be – a role model

“I started on the state championship team in Western Pennsylvania not because I was the best player but because I had a [high school coach] who believed in me. I had someone who believed in me, and he was willing to take the time to find out what talents I had. Things don’t just happen; they happen for a reason. I find the harder you work the harder it is to quit.”

3. Choose the right people

“Game plans are great, but you’ve got to have people. People are the ones who make things happen. When I came to the [Chicago] Bears, we had the right people in the right places. This doesn’t happen by chance. You plan for success.”

4. Work hard and love what you do

“You don’t play football as a kid or adult to get in the Hall of Fame. It’s not something you plan on doing. Not once in my whole career did I think about getting into the Hall of Fame. I thought about playing the game as well and as hard as I could. I’m glad that somebody thought I was good enough to be in the Hall of Fame, but even if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t change my love of the game.”

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