A Hall of Fame Life

Posted: August 14, 2011 in Life

My wife and I recently traveled to Canton, OH to witness the enshrinement of the 2011 Class of inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While walking around the Hall of Fame museum, meeting legends of the game of football, and listening to the Hall of Fame speeches by the enshrinees, I realized that, as in sports, our goal in life should be to make it into the Hall of Fame. For a person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame it means that he or she achieved success beyond the standard. It means that they overcame obstacles, outperformed expectations and took advantage of every opportunity.

While most of us will never return a punt like Deion Sanders, we can high-step into the end zone of life knowing that we did all we could to succeed. A Hall of Fame Life does not necessarily mean that we earn great riches. Most of the men in the Pro Football Hall of Fame played in the era before multi-million dollar contracts. They may have never driven a Phantom, but they are still in the Hall of Fame. A Hall of Fame Life does not even guarantee fame and notoriety. Of the 267 men in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I had no idea who over half of them were…but they were still Hall of Famers. A Hall of Fame Life simply means that you use your God-given gifts to the best of your ability to achieve success. In short, it means to win at life.

I believe that some of the same elements necessary for having a Hall of Fame career in sports are also needed to have a Hall of Fame Life.

Develop a dream.

Almost all of the 2011 inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame referenced the fact that they started with a dream. Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, stated, “I dreamt the impossible dream…and I’m living it today.” We can never LIVE our dreams if we don’t DREAM our dreams. Dreams are embryonic goals. Our goals will never be birthed if we don’t first conceive our dreams. If we want to have a Hall of Fame Life, we must learn how to dream BIG! In Sabol’s words, we must dream the impossible dream.

Maintain momentum through motivation.

There is no person who has ever achieved success in sports or in life that has not been motivated to succeed. Motivation is what fuels the engine of success. Each of the 2011 inductees also mentioned who or what motivated them to succeed. Shannon Sharpe, one of the all-time great tight ends, mentioned that he was motivated to escape the extreme poverty he experienced growing up in rural Georgia. Deion Sanders explained that his motivation for creating his PrimeTime persona was to ensure that his mother never had to work again in her life. He even addressed his detractors who criticized him for not being devoted to tackling by saying, “Since 1989, I’ve tackled every bill that my mother gave me!” Whatever it takes, we must find something that motivates us to succeed.

Acknowledge that you need assistance.

One of my favorite elements of the enshrinement ceremony was the fact that each inductee had someone who presented them for enshrinement. This symbolic act signified that no one achieves Hall of Fame status by themselves. In sports, and in life, we need others to help us achieve our goals. In addition to the presenter, each Hall of Fame inductee thanked the numerous family members, friends, coaches, teammates, etc. who helped make it possible for them to stand on that stage. Richard Dent, the fierce defensive end from the Chicago Bears, seemed to thank everyone he had ever met! The reality is that you can’t make it to “the Hall” without some help.

Celebrate your successes.

It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and help to make it to the Hall of Fame. Don’t get so caught up in the destination that you fail to enjoy the journey. There are many little successes on the way to achieving your ultimate goals – celebrate them. Celebrate the people around you who make sacrifices so you can succeed. One of the saddest parts of the ceremony for me was hearing Hall of Famers, Marshall Faulk and Shannon Sharpe, apologize to their children for not being there for them because they were busy pursuing their dreams.

I do not believe that success and family are mutually exclusive. In order to have a Hall of Fame Life you must take time to enjoy life – with the most important people in your life. This is extremely important because, unlike the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only your family can vote you into the Hall of Fame of Life. I celebrate with all those inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but as for me, my goal is to become a Hall of Fame Husband and a Hall of Fame Dad. If I reach those goals, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have had a Hall of Fame Life.

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Comments
  1. Chandra says:

    Great post! And another great way for us to be reminded of how to we need to adjust our thinking and mindset, especially during these crazy economic times. We can turn our ‘Halls of Shame and Pain’ into ‘Halls of Fame.’

  2. Great article. Straightforward points to help guide anyone to success and accomplishing goals. I will revisit again.-Elder J

  3. Phil Stukes says:

    You wrote, “He even addressed his detractors who criticized him for not being devoted to tackling by saying, “Since 1989, I’ve tackled every bill that my mother gave me!” Whatever it takes, we must find something that motivates us to succeed.”

    I love this line because it was an ongoing joke at the lunch and break tables about his desire to avoid tackling!

  4. TWH_PhD says:

    Ha! It’s not that Prime avoided tackling…when they don’t throw to your side of the field you don’t HAVE to tackle 🙂

  5. Shon Hyneman says:

    Powerful and motivating blog! You said something I think 80% of people miss…”Acknowledge that you need assistance” It takes teamwork to make the dream work!

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