career advice

The Career Advice That Changed Tony Dungy’s Mindset

At the beginning of my athletic career, I focused on being the best I could be. From middle school all the way through college, I did a lot of training. I worked on growing physically and mentally and learning everything I could about the position I played. Basically, I was training to be a football player. However, all of that changed when I got to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chuck Noll, the coach of the Steelers, gave us a piece of career advice I never forgot. This is what he said.

“Don’t make football your whole life.”

He said, “We are professional athletes. Football is our profession. We are going to be paid to play the game. But don’t make football your whole life. If you make football your whole life, you are going to be disappointed when you leave.”

Changing My Focus

What would it profit a man if he gains the whole world if he forfeits his soul?

That career advice forced me to focus on other things. My mother always talked about her favorite verse in the Bible, Matthew 16:26: “What would it profit a man if he gains the whole world if he forfeits his soul?” Well, I wasn’t thinking about forfeiting my soul and doing the wrong things. But I was only focused on my sport, making a living, and going to a Super Bowl. While all of those things are good, they can’t be our total focus.

New Goals

Once I got to the Steelers and Coach Noll talked about finding satisfaction in other areas, getting involved in community projects, and making Pittsburgh a better place, I started thinking about those other things. In the second half of my coaching career, those things became more important to me. Yes, I coached, helped our players be the best they could be, and worked to put winning teams together when I became a head coach. However, more than that, I wanted to be a well-rounded person. I wanted to be a good husband, father, neighbor, and member of the community, as well as a good football coach.

So, my goals changed halfway through my career and I think it was for the better.

Sound off: Have your goals changed in your career? Do you think they need to change?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “In what ways would you like to make an impact in the world?”