I’ll admit it. I have a man-crush.
It can be tough for most guys to fess up to something like this, but in my case, I have no qualms about it. After hearing why, I don’t think you will either.
But I’m not showering my admiration on just any run-of-the-mill dude or some wacky tabloid celebrity. I’ve instead reserved my affections for one very special person. One that I strive to be more like.
And he just happens to be a Defensive End in the NFL.
I’m talking about none other than the face of Houston Texans – JJ Watt. Two-time NFL defensive player of the year and Three-time Pro Bowl nominee.
All this after only 5 years in the league.
Although I certainly admire JJ’s skills on the football field, the message I want to share with you has much more to do with what he’s done outside of the game.
Watt displays a bevy of positive character traits that, I believe, anyone can apply to their own lives and experience tremendous results as well.
“Dream Big, Work Hard”
That’s the motto of the JJ Watt foundation – the charity that JJ helped found with his mother Connie. The foundation raises money to provide athletic equipment and uniforms to underprivileged middle school kids who might otherwise go without.
Watt says the program fosters athletics, “so that they (kids) may learn the character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic and perseverance.”
Funny, but isn’t that what most adults should be striving for too?
JJ embodies these characteristics in his everyday actions. Like how he’s been known to get up at 3:45am – while on vacation – to get in a morning workout. Watt says his exercise routine is a non-negotiable that he prioritizes over anything else.
He also keeps a retirement-home style sleep schedule often being in bed by 7:30pm on most nights. Watt admits people have labeled him as crazy for this type of behavior, but he says that’s just part of the process of dedicating one’s self towards achieving something great.
What are you doing “BIG” right now to achieve your goals?
I’m not saying you need to get up before the paperboy cracks a yawn, or the griddle fires up at McDonald’s, but you are going to need to change the routine up if you want to accomplish something big.
You’ll never improve your situation without first changing your actions.
With a family, life, and career commitments finding spare time to work on your passion projects can be tough. Trust me, I know. But, it CAN be done. Others before you have proven this to be true. You will, however, have to make the time for whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish.
Maybe that means giving up your favorite TV shows at night or cutting back on Facebook during the day. Or perhaps, if you’re like me, this means getting up early every day to work on your goals before life and family commitments kick in.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t value sleep (cause I do). I just value success more.
That and it’s really hard to concentrate once the cartoons start raging in the background. Although Teen Titans is pretty funny.
Worst-case scenario, you may need to give up something altogether (the ladies social club will be just fine without you).
My point is this: If you don’t make time for the things that are important to you, you’ll never accomplish your goals.
Time is a limited resource for everyone. Make sure you’re spending yours on activities that help you get to where you want to be.
Kick Out The Doubt
Once you’ve prioritized your schedule for success, the next step is to program your mind for the same.
That means giving fear and doubt the boot. Just ask Watt.
JJ is known for going to extremes with his workouts. He constantly pushes himself to his limits…and then blasts right past them.
Watt’s trainer, Brad Arnett, says that’s what makes his client so special. Brad says anytime he sets a new workout goal for JJ to improve his game – Watt doesn’t even flinch.
Arnett explains that Watt never falters or thinks twice about his ability to do anything.
And neither should you.
Ever think that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, or that no one will listen to what you have to say? Sure you do. We all have.
For these are the lies we tell ourselves on a daily basis.
But what if we could change the radio station in our heads? What if we had the confidence to be the best in whatever challenges come our way? What if we told ourselves that failure was NOT an option?
That’s the kind of “unbreakable” mentality that breeds success. Because if you let even a shred of doubt creep in about whether or not you can accomplish your goals, you’ve already lost.
Given a chance, negative thoughts will quickly flood in and drown your dreams before you ever have a chance to get started.
It’s okay if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to get there.
No one does – really.
It’s just a matter of taking action, evaluating the results, and correcting course based on the feedback you receive.
That’s how everyone who succeeds gets to the top.
It all starts with having the confidence to believe that you can do anything. That the only limits upon your life are those that you’ve set for yourself.
You may not end up squatting 700lbs like JJ Watt, but there’s no limit to the amazing things you can accomplish once you get your mind right.
As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Although most everyone in America is aware of JJ Watt by now, there’s an amazing back story to his career that many fans have never heard.
As a standout football player in his hometown of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, JJ had always dreamed of playing college ball for his beloved home-state Badgers. However, life took a different turn and he was instead given a full scholarship to neighboring Central Michigan.
Most young athletes would have been thrilled to have an opportunity like this. But Watt has proven that he’s anything but typical.
Watt played tight end his freshman year at Central Michigan and caught 8 passes for a grand total of 77 yards.
Frustrated by his lack of playing time, Watt did what most would consider insane – he left behind his scholarship to try out as a walk-on for the University of Wisconsin.
Let me repeat that. He walked away from a free education, at a top 100 national university, to pursue the unknown.
Why? Simple. Because he refused to settle.
JJ wanted to play defensive end for the Wisconsin Badgers – and nothing short of that would do.
After trying out at Wisconsin, Watt soon earned his 2nd full scholarship and went on to have several MVP caliber seasons for the Badgers.
Where are you settling?
Watt’s story serves as an example for all of us. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing or where you’re going in life – then you need a change.
Are you achieving your goals? If not, what’s holding you back?
Do you still have passion in your career? Does your work motivate you?
Is life still fun?
If not, then you’re settling.
Prioritize and make time for what matters most to you. Find something that you love to do (even if there was no money involved) and give it your all – don’t hold anything back.
For this is where you’ll find the most joy and happiness. And, in turn, the most success.
So what’s your Wisconsin? When are you going to tryout for the team?
Lift Others Along The Way
Although Watt is known for being a beast on the football field, he’s more of a teddy bear away from the game. His stats for tackles, sacks and interceptions pale in comparison to the work he’s done to help others.
JJ gives relentlessly of his time to numerous charities, veterans groups, and children’s organizations in both his local Texas and Wisconsin communities.
In the past, Watt has visited the Texas Children’s Hospital dressed as Batman and once delivered pizzas to Houston area fire and police stations along with handwritten thank you notes – just because.
He’s currently nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and shows no signs of slowing down in his philanthropic efforts.
By why give so much back when he’s already leading such a fairytale life?
Because JJ knows that by helping others we help ourselves. For when we give, we get twice as much back in return.
And because it just feels good.
Who are you helping?
You don’t need to have money or status to make a difference in someone else’s life. Never underestimate the power of encouraging words or random acts of kindness to lift people up.
Make it a habit to smile and greet everyone you meet (even if they don’t reciprocate). Give compliments throughout the day and offer to lend a hand wherever you can.
Not only will this make both you and the recipient feel great, but you may be surprised at the results afterwards. New friendships, information, or business opportunities are often found on the heels of such giving.
Likewise, if you’ve already achieved a modicum of success in life (and most of us have), look for ways to help those just coming up the ranks. Become a mentor and guide to others.
Look for opportunities to volunteer – whether it be with your time, money, or resources. No matter how busy you are, there’s a few minutes you can set aside to help other less fortunate than yourself.
It’s a proven fact, some of the most influential and successful people in the world are also some of the biggest givers.
Coincidence? I doubt it.
Get In The Game
So what’s holding you back today? What’s stopping you from achieving your goals?
Like JJ, figure out where you want to go, focus on something you’re passionate about, and give it everything you’ve got.
Even if you don’t get the exact results that you’re looking for, you’ll still learn a ton about yourself (and what you’re capable of) along the way.
And that’s what the process of building success is all about.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, and the answers won’t come overnight. But if you can educate yourself with a major in motivation – and a minor in perseverance – you can have a pro-bowl caliber life of your own.
I’d love to hear about what you’re striving for and what’s holding you back. Maybe I can help? Reach out and let me know.