Lessons from Hall of Famers Aikman and Staubach

I heard Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman speak in an intimate setting at a United Way Tocqueville event. As a young girl relocating from England to Texas in the late 1970’s, I became a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. So, it was exciting to hear personal stories from two people that I admire and respect.

Scott Murray moderated the discussion, asking Troy and Roger what shaped their careers, who has had the biggest impact on them, and what led them to get engaged in the community. As I listened to them speak, there were three things that really jumped out at me, and they may serve as important reminders for you:

1. Be open to the possibilities.

When asked whether they thought they would ever play football professionally, let alone be quarterbacks, Troy and Roger both said no. Troy said that he knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a professional athlete, but like Roger his passion was baseball.

Roger talked about how his coach saw potential in him and encouraged him to try out for quarterback. When Roger resisted and asked, “Why do you think I’d make a good quarterback?” his coach explained that the other players always listened to him. His coach recognized Roger’s innate leadership ability.

In Roger’s story, it was clear that his coach’s interest and guidance led him down a path he would never have chosen for himself. But Roger was open to the possibilities and was willing to take a chance. His choice is what ultimately made a difference—and the payoff was huge.

2. One person can make a huge difference.

When asked who has influenced him the most, Troy spoke from the heart about his mother. As an adult and parent, he now fully recognizes her sacrifices, her commitment to his rigorous schedule of practices and games, and her support throughout the years. This in turn has shaped his relationship with his daughters and increased his desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

As you know, there are many small ways that you can show your support each day—whether it’s taking five minutes to lend an ear, share your wisdom, or acknowledge what you appreciate about someone. If you have ever been on the receiving end of this, you know it can have a huge impact for a small investment of time. What will you do this week to acknowledge that person who has most influenced you?

3. Remember to pay it forward.

Troy and Roger are prime examples of people who have put their celebrity to good use, to give back and affect change in their communities. Troy Aikman co-chairs the Healthy Zone Schools community initiative to reduce childhood obesity and he and Roger are both major philanthropists.

As you think about yourself, what legacy do you want to leave? Who could benefit from your natural talents, skills and passion? Could it be the person next to your office struggling with a tough issue at work, a teenager who needs guidance and direction, or someone else right under your nose? Take time to notice others around you and use your wisdom and experience to help them.

Although you may not be a Hall of Famer like Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach, you do have the power of choice—in how you allow others to challenge you and take you in directions you never imagined, and in how you “bring others up.” So, I want to challenge you to take one small step in one of the three areas above. You know I’m a firm believer that small steps can lead to big results.

© 2012 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.