Career Success Advice from an NFL Hall of Famer

I’m a lucky guy.  Cathy, my wife, and I were out on Saturday.  She said, “We’ve got to get home.  I want to watch the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony.”  How many guys can say something like that?  I love football and so does Cathy.  We got home in time to watch and I found some great career advice in what the inductees had to say.

While I’m a Pittsburgh guy and love the Steelers, I live in Denver and follow the Broncos.  I was especially pleased when Shannon Sharpe the Broncos’ great tight end got selected to the Hall of Fame.  Shannon was a great player.

In his speech he talked about his dream of playing in the NFL…

“People often ask me how does a small town kid from Glennville, Georgia, who went to Savannah State College now Savannah State University, who won three Super Bowls and at one time owned all significant receiving records for a tight end? I want all you young people to listen to my answer. It’s called the three D’s: Determination, Dedication, and Discipline. Three traits that translate in any generation and any job setting. There is a reason they called it chasing your dreams and not walking after them. Don’t hope someone gives you an opportunity, create one for yourself.

“When I left my grandmother’s home in 1986 headed to Savannah State with two brown grocery bags filled with my belongings, nothing was going to keep me from realizing my dreams. When people told me I wasn’t going to make it, I listened to the one person who told me I was, me. You may not know this, but I was never supposed to be a Hall of Fame tight end or any kind of tight end, or even a Hall of Fame player. I’m here today for a lot of reasons. Some have everything to do with me. Some have absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with the kindness and patience of all the people that guided me through my life.”

That part of Shannon Sharpe’s speech reminded me of the career success advice in Tweets 31 and 40 in my career advice book Success Tweets.  “Plan how you will achieve your goals.  Then do whatever you have to do, not want or feel like doing, to achieve them.” (31)  “Vision without action is a daydream.  No matter how big your plans and dreams, they’ll never become a reality until you act on them.” (40)

Your goals won’t get done just because you’ve set them.  Common sense career advice says that you have to workto achieve your goals.  There are two steps here.  First, plan how you will achieve each of your goals.  Second, work your plan.  You can have all of the good intentions in the world, but if you don’t plan how you will achieve your goals and then work your plan, you will not achieve the life and career success you want and deserve.  Just ask Shannon Sharpe – you need dedication, determination and discipline.

Gary Ryan Blair, The Goals Guy, and author of a great book called Everything Counts makes an important point about the importance of working your goals…

“Good intentions, while honorable, are of little use when you let weeks, months, and years of potential and possibility slip by.”

Gary has a weekly ritual of reflecting, reviewing and updating his goals.  He said that this ritual has allowed him to continue to grow and make significant performance gains for twelve straight years without missing a beat.

Check it out.

Every Sunday night, or Monday morning, isolate one goal and ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. What are my current year-to-date results in relation to this goal?
  2. What has gone right so far this year?  Why?  Identify strengths and strategies to repeat.
  3. What has gone wrong so far this year?  Why?  Identify weaknesses and strategies to drop.
  4. What corrective actions will I immediately implement to remain on target?
  5. What will I commit to doing this week to ensure that I will meet or achieve this goal?

I love this exercise.  I have committed to doing it every Monday morning.  I did it this morning.  As a career success coach, I encourage you to do the same.  Give this exercise the time and attention it deserves, and as Gary says, “you will have positioned yourself for having a breakthrough week.”

The most important part of tweet 31 in Success Tweets is the part that says “do whatever you have to do, not want or feel like doing, to achieve them.”  Gary Ryan Blair, the Goals Guy, provides a great exercise to help you stay on target and move ahead toward achieving your goals.  Even if you don’t feel like reviewing one of your goals every week, I suggest you do it.  This is solid, common sense and great career advice.  The more you focus on your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.

I got the inspiration for tweet 40 in Success Tweets from a Japanese proverb…

Vision without action is a daydream.  Action without vision is a nightmare.

No matter how big, your goals, plans, thoughts and dreams will never become a reality until you act on them.  You have to commit to taking personal responsibility for achieving your goals and for creating the life and career success you want and deserve.  And action is the single most important word when it comes to demonstrating your commitment.  Just ask Shannon Sharpe or any of the people in the NFL Hall of Fame.

In his speech on Saturday, Deion Sanders said much the same thing…

“I made a pledge to myself that I don’t care what it takes, I don’t care what it may take, I’m not going to do anything illegal, but my mama would never have to work another day of her life.”

Neon Deion had a dream.  NFL success would allow him to take care of his mother.  I loved wht he had to say about dreams…

“If you’re dream ain’t bigger than you, there’s a problem with your dream.”

Deion’s dream was bigger than him, it included his mother.

You have to have dreams to focus your action.  Action without vision truly is a nightmare.  You’ll never get where you want to go if you don’t have a clear idea of exactly what you want to achieve.  That’s why you have to set goals.  Your goals are your vision for the career success you will create.

Goals give you direction and focus.  Action makes your goals a reality.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people, like NFL Hall of Famers Shannon Sharpe and Deion Sanders, followed a path similar to the career advice in Tweets 31 and 40 in Success Tweets.  “Plan how you will achieve your goals.  Then do whatever you have to do, not want or feel like doing, to achieve them.”  (31) “Vision without action is a daydream.  No matter how big your plans and dreams, they’ll never become a reality until you act on them.” (40)  Your dreams and goals are the foundation of your life and career success.  You need to do two things to make them come true.  First, create a plan.  Second, implement your plan; do whatever you have to do to achieve your career success dreams and goals.  Gary Ryan Blair, The Goals Guy, suggests focusing on one of your goals every week.  Figure out how well you’re doing on this one goal.  Then commit to doing the things necessary to move you closer to achieving it.  If you rotate through your goals, one week at a time, you’ll be moving in the right direction.  You’ll be on the road to creating the life and career success you want and deserve.  This technique works.  Take it from a career success coach who uses it.

That’s the career advice I found in Shannon Sharpe and Deion Sanders’ NFL Hall of Fame induction speeches.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Great article, Very inspiring too. Am sure to take some tips from here and incorporate it in my life! Eye-opening stuff!

  2. Subramanya says:

    Thanks, great advice. The weekly tracking method suggested by you is impressive. I would put it into practice in my life

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.