This past August I had the honor of being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. One of my favorite parts of the experience was re-connecting with people who influenced me and reminiscing over the years of my career. I was recently asked, “What achievements are you most proud of in your career?” There are a number of achievements I enjoyed that make me proud. One of the first that most people mention of course is our trip to the Super Bowl. That was definitely an exciting time, however, there are two things I think about before that. These are the 2 achievements in my career that make me most proud.
Self-doubt is normal, especially when you experience new situations. The most confident people still have their moments, while with others, self-doubt can be so overwhelming it can paralyze the person. I was fortunate to have parents who instilled confidence in us that we could accomplish anything with God’s help. Even with that kind of foundation of love and encouragement, it can still be difficult when facing unknown challenges. This has been the case with my life. These are the 3 biggest times I was confronted with overcoming self-doubt.
During my coaching career, I always talked to my players about doing the right thing the right way. I wasn’t always certain I was getting through to some of the guys, including defensive end Regan Upshaw, who was known for his colorful personality. Years later, my family and I ran into Regan and his family when we all happened to be vacationing in Rome.
In the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona,Spain, Derek Redmond believed he could win a silver medal for Great Britain. After five years of daily training and eight operations on his Achilles tendons, Derek had won the first two heats and was running in the semifinals of the 400 meters.
Jim Brewer was an All-American basketball player at the University of Minnesota who also played on the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team. He was an amazingly gifted player and the driving force behind Minnesota’s rise from Big-Ten doormat to conference champion.
We often mirror what we see. Coaches will model the behavior of successful coaches they know or observe, sometimes with detrimental results. Similarly, business leaders model other business leaders or when necessary, try to do the opposite, whatever that might be.
When I played football in college at Minnesota, Coach Cal Stoll was one of the first CEO-type coaches. Most of the coaches I had seen previously, such as my high school coach Dave Driscoll, coached either the offense or the defense in addition to performing the duties of a head coach. Coach Stoll did not. He wasn’t one of those tower-type coaches like Bear Bryant at Alabama, who was far removed from the field. Coach Stoll hired great teachers as his assistants and then gave them the latitude to coach. He set the vision and direction, motivated the team, then let assistants coaches do the coaching.
Coach Stoll held a meeting with the freshmen every year. That meeting had a big impact on me. I’ll never forget what he told us.
“Young kids with positive male role models have something to live for, somebody who is proud of them, somebody who cares about their well-being.” –Donald Miller If you follow professional football, or just read the news, you’re probably familiar with the story of Michael Vick. A star quarterback with elusive speed and remarkable athleticism, Michael […]
Early in the 20th Century the city of Montgomery, Alabama passed laws that segregated buses. The front section was for whites and the back was for blacks. The sections were divided by a sign labeled “colored” and could be moved at the discretion of the bus driver. Another stipulation of the law was that when there were white riders already seated in the front section, boarding black passengers were required to enter the front to pay, then exit the bus and walk to re-enter through the door in the back.
In 1943 an African American woman entered one of these buses and, after paying, walked straight to the back and sat down. The bus driver told her to get up and exit the bus and enter through the door in the back as the law required. She exited the bus and waited for the next one, committing to never ride that driver’s bus again. That woman’s name was Rosa Parks. Twelve years later she would enter his bus again. This time when he told her to give up her seat for a white male passenger she refused. Despite the potential consequences of being arrested, losing her job, or even physical violence she had the courage of conviction to stand for what was right.
Believe it or not, I have had some really bad habits in my life. People don’t believe it now, but my language was terrible when I was younger. I wouldn’t use any bad language around my parents because I knew they didn’t except it. But when I was on the playing field and with my friends, it wasn’t very becoming. The second one was my temper. When I was younger I was very competitive; so in junior high and high school, I would fly off the handle when I was upset about losing.
We all have bad habits and the two I mentioned are just a few of mine. I want to tell you how I was able to change. Let’s talk about how to break bad habits.