The list that guides Jack Williams’ life originated from a 1993 jog around his neighborhood.
Listening to a tape, he had a life-changing breakthrough.
“The topic was on principles,” the longtime Lawrenceville resident said. “I knew what principles meant, but I looked it up, a code of conduct, something sacred, it’s kind of what you believe in. I thought, ‘I’ve never really taken the time to put into writing what I believe in.’ Not being the brightest guy in the room, I said, ‘Well, I’ll just start writing sentences that begin with I believe and whatever comes to mind, I’ll do it.’ I did that for about 4 1/2 months and I ended up with 60 some odd items on the list.”
The list became a fixture from that point.
“If I had just written a list, it’s just a list sitting in a drawer somewhere, so I made a commitment to read that list every morning before going to work as a reminder, ‘Alright big boy, this is what you said you believe. Now are your actions going to support your belief?’” Williams said. “It was a work in progress. I wasn’t following through on them all. I did that for 11 years straight. I didn’t miss a day, whether I was traveling, in town, whatever. After 11 years, I decided to start each week with it on Monday. So I’ve got 28 years running of reading it every day or every Monday. Lord willing, I’ll continue to do that.”
Williams’ list of the values, principles and beliefs that guide his life — along with interesting stories, humor and guidance — is now featured in a more permanent version that is shareable with the masses in his new book available on Amazon in print and as an e-book, “THE Question: A Guide to Answering Life’s MOST Important Question.” The book is designed to help people of all walks of life develop their own belief system and put it into use in their daily behavior.
His core statements cover numerous topics, ranging from “I Believe in God, His promises, and his plan of salvation” to “I Believe in not comparing myself to others, and other people’s definition of success” to “I Believe in the concept that ‘more games are lost than won’ in relationships and business” and many others.
“Jack writes about establishing and integrating one’s beliefs into every aspect of their life,” said Dexter Wood, a longtime athletic director and head football coach at Buford High School. “He reveals profound principles for living and being an impactful role model. It is an easy read with many practical applications and interesting stories. I’m certain it will improve the professional and personal life of all who read it.”
Williams draws on his own journey and life experiences throughout the book, dating back to his time as a quarterback and team captain at Georgia Tech, where he graduated in 1971, and for seven years as a college football coach. He had a long and successful career as a business executive before turning his attention to the IDEALS Foundation, which features a popular and long-running leadership school for high school student-athletes in Gwinnett and surrounding counties.
He launched IDEALS in 1993, and stepped out of the corporate world in 2008 to focus on his foundation and business consulting on a full-time basis.
His wide range of life experiences help connect him to a wide target audience.
“There’s an application for youth, there’s an application for business, there’s an application with coaches and athletic directors,” Williams said. “We also kind of designed it for men’s ministries as well. … It’s a simple exercise to go through. There are so many things in life that deal with decisions. It’s hard to make decisions if you don’t have a foundation. The whole purpose of me writing the book was understanding who I am. A lot of times when someone will ask for a resumé if I’m going to speak somewhere, I tell them I’ll be happy to send a resumé, but what will really be more helpful is let me just send you my I Believe List. That’s who you’re getting. A resumé is just ink on paper. My I Believe List is really who I am.
“It’s a sobering exercise to think about something you believe in. I don’t care whether you’re 15 years old or you’re 80 years old, it’s not too late to solidify what it is you believe in and commit to actually trying as best as you can to live that out.”
The book isn’t the only new addition to Williams’ world. He launched the Knowledgecast podcast, available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, this year with guests that have included Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb, NASCAR strength and conditioning coach, pit crew member and Shiloh grad Matt Skeen (part of six of Jimmie Johnson’s Cup Series wins), IDEALS alum, West Point honor grad and North Gwinnett grad Ty Volkman, Ralph Stokes (one of the first Black football players at Alabama and now a PGA Superstore marketing executive), Michigan football defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald and Williams’ son Brad, the athletic director at Providence Christian Academy.