My One Last Thought is that leadership requires no title.
My One Last Thought that I'd like to share is for everyone to embrace the idea that everything that you go through in life, good or bad, is a training session for your future.
I think a lot of us in life, we wait around for the perfect job, the next promotion, the next opportunity to be in a leadership role to make a difference when the reality is you and I can make a difference right where you're at.
A perfect example of this is a story from my own life, something that I had to learn, was when I was in college playing football and I was living the dream. I was playing at a division one football program at the University of Missouri. I was a walk-on quarterback. I was living the dream. I always dreamed of playing college football and I was living those dreams out.
I'm going into my junior season. I walk into a meeting room because as a walk-on you have these yearly walk on meetings. I walk into the meeting room and the coach, he walks me in there and he says, sit down. I need to tell you something. We've over-scholarshipped at quarterback. We brought in too many people in your position and we don't have room for you.
Go into every event in your life, everything that happens, and understand that you're training for your future.
To me, at that point in my life football was my identity. That's what I did, that's who I was, that was every part of me. And here he is telling me like a business transaction, we don't have room for you. We don't have a spot on the team for you.
I was so crushed at that moment. I can't even explain it because football was so big to me at that time. And he said you need to decide right now. But you have two options either you're cut from the team. You're done. And your second option is you can be a volunteer assistant coach for the season. You're making copies, you're printing off copies, you're making coffee for the assistant coaches, you're doing all the little things to make this organization run.
Anytime that you're going through a tough time, instead of complaining or thinking of why is this happening to me or playing the victim role, if you embrace the idea that this is training. Just as if you were going to the gym training for a boxing match or a marathon, and you're running you're training for your future.
At that time, I was humiliated. I was so angry. Like, why would this happen to me? Why would something I'm so passionate about be taken from me? And I remember sitting there at that table and I ended up saying, you know what? I just felt called to stay there. I felt called to stay part of the team. And so I said that I'll stay on it as an assistant coach. And, so my entire junior season, I stayed on.
My job that year was to hold the flag, and when someone jumps offsides, I would throw the flag, to make sure that they didn't jump offsides again. So that was my role. I went from being an SEC quarterback to a professional flag thrower. And then an instant, I was sat at practice or would stand, I guess, and I'd throw the flag. And that was my role.
And at so many points, my junior season, and during that time, it was so challenging because I felt like I have no title. I can't make a difference.
It's a way for you to prepare yourself for future endeavors, future hurdles.
And so I had to make a decision during that time. Am I going to let this define me and who I am and, is this going to be it for me, or am I going to seek to try to make this situation better and from it?
And so during that year and not to boast on me at all, I had to be humbled in some ways. And so, I did all of those little things. But, some cool things that happened during that year, were that I was able to have conversations with guys on the team that maybe I hadn't connected with before. I was able to relate to people who would go up to me and say things like, man, that's really cool that you stuck with it. I would have quit. And I was able to forge relationships through my vulnerability, that I may not have shown to other people before.
If it's a good thing that you're going through, it's also a training session. You're training your mind on what happened to make this a good thing. What did you do to cause this good thing? How can you replicate that?
During that year I started with my first book called Thrive U. It's a daily devotional book that thousands of people have benefited from since then. And in that same year, while I was cut, we started a student organization called Coach's Corner, where we would have speakers come in and speak on leadership. And so all these cool things happened during my junior season.
Fast forward to my senior year. I get back on the team as a quarterback, got back to what I always wanted to do. And it was a great ending to my career. And when I look back on my career, honestly, I would argue that I had a bigger impact the year that I was cut from the team the year that I had no title.
Some kind of event in the future is getting worked on.
The year that I had no title is the year that I made the biggest impact.
And so the reason I share that story is not to boast on myself in any way, but it's to share this. You can make an impact. You can make a difference wherever you're at.
If you make the decision, hey, I'm going to be so concerned about impacting other people and making them better and making a difference and adding value and serving other people. You'll be so busy doing that, that you won't have time to look around at your other job opportunities or job titles or where you're up on the depth chart. You want to aim for that because you'll be so busy, making a difference in other people's lives.