MILWAUKEE -- Normally, Head Coach Mike McCarthy is in charge of motivating the 45 Green Bay Packers ready to take the field on a Sunday afternoon.
But on Tuesday, McCarthy was one of a list of headliners helping to motivate 12,000 business people at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Participating in this type of event for the first time in his coaching career, McCarthy was one of the speakers at a "Get Motivated!" business seminar that also included appearances by TV personality Ed McMahon, personal finance expert Suze Orman, Bears head coach Lovie Smith, comedian Bill Cosby and General Colin Powell.
McCarthy's appearance was sandwiched in between Cosby and Powell, providing tough acts to follow and precede.
"I don't know how you classify yourself as a motivator on that level. I was flattered to be asked to do this event, and flattered to even be mentioned with those individuals at all," McCarthy said. "They're very established, very successful in their careers. Like I said on stage, I'm just getting started, so it was a very flattering opportunity."
McCarthy received a hero's welcome, with loud cheers from the home-state crowd and fireworks blasting from the corners of the stage situated in the center of the arena. He wasn't entirely sure what to expect upon arriving at the Bradley Center after Tuesday afternoon's OTA practice in Green Bay, but he got the lay of the land by watching Cosby from the backstage entrance area before getting miked up to take the stage himself.
"I was more excited than nervous," he said. "I had some anxiety because I really didn't know what I was walking into.
"You're always critical of yourself when you speak, that you could have said this better or done that better and so forth. But I thought it went OK."
McCarthy answered questions in a Q & A format during which he discussed his rise through the coaching ranks, including his days as a volunteer assistant at the University of Pittsburgh when he collected tolls during the graveyard shift along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
He talked about how he never lost his focus on reaching the top of the coaching profession, no matter what dues he had to pay along the way, and that reaching the top now means winning a Super Bowl with the Packers, which drew a series of cheers from the crowd.
A tireless worker, McCarthy also emphasized how preparation translates to performance, whether it be for a coach or player, and that preparation is what separates the good ones from the great ones.
"I thought it was a first-class event," McCarthy said. "I was very impressed with the whole operation, all the people to interact with.
"I thought it was very upbeat, with great energy in the building. Everyone had a good, healthy message."