Last week I was down to San Diego for a conference. And I was able to grab with some time with Steve Weatherford, one of the presenters, for a quick interview. Steve won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants and was named the fittest player in the NFL. Having recently retired last month from the NFL, Steve and his family are relocating to Southern California. He is getting into the fitness space as well as continuing on work for his charity, the Steve Weatherford World Champion Foundation.
Below are some of the questions I had for Steve as well as his answers.
Chris: I’m in the fitness industry and know the value of coaching. I remember reading somewhere that after parents, coaches will have the most impact on someone’s life. You’ve played for some amazing coaches in your lifetime including Sean Payton (Saints), Rex Ryan (Jets) and Tom Coughlin (Giants). Who stood out for you? Who was your best coach?
Steve: Ernie Hisle. He was my basketball coach back when I was going to school in Indiana. He was an old-school coach and very hardworking. He would be hard on me but was encouraging.
Chris: That’s interesting that of all the top Division football coaches at the University of Illinois as well as all the Super Bowl winning coaches in the NFL, Steve remembers his high school basketball coach as being the best. (HINT…maybe talent doesn’t mean as much as we think?)
You made the point really clearly during your presentation that you are incredibly driven. Your perspective in life is that you will either 1. win or achieve or 2. learn. And you’ve also said no one will outwork you.
So I’m curious, where did this drive come from? Was it instilled by an early age by your parents? It is something passed on by one of your coaches? Or is this something innate that you were born with?
Steve: I definitely had great parents but I’ve always been this way. I have a strong will and nobody will prevent me from achieving my goal. To some it may come across as an OCD personality but when I want to achieve something I will pursue it relentlessly.
Chris: That is so true. I believe that to have success your mindset has to come first. Nobody can want a goal for you. Nobody can motivate you enough to achieve greatness. A strong will allows you to achieve when there aren’t supporters and cheerleaders (figuratively or literally in Steve’s case) encouraging you.
Winning the Super Bowl (SB) would have to be the pinnacle of a football player’s career. What other achievements are you proud of?
Steve: My most proud achievement was being named Fittest Player in the NFL by Muscle & Fitness magazine. I was playing a sport in the best league in the world for that sport. And I’m constantly in the locker room with genetic freaks that are 6’7″, 275 lbs, can eat a pound of bacon and still have single digit body-fat. And I wasn’t somebody who had a great body from early on. In high school I remember weighing 108 lbs. And I went to the library and copied out training programs out of Muscle & Fitness magazine to know what to do in the gym. I went from being the skinniest to the best in the NFL. And it was all due to discipline and grit.
And so to think of where I came from, the work I had to put in, the odds I had to overcome and then to win this award was amazing.
Chris: I know many of our clients can related to that. Many would feel they haven’t won the genetic lottery. They aren’t small or big enough. They aren’t strong enough. They aren’t fast enough. They aren’t…Hopefully some of them reading this will recognize that it doesn’t matter the hand you’ve been dealt with in terms of your genetics. What are you going to do with the hand you’ve been dealt?
So if winning the SB would be a high point in your career, what would be a low point?
Steve: Getting cut from the team during my third season. (this was with he Kansas City Chiefs). At the time the NFL average was 3.1 years in the league. And I didn’t want to go out of the league under the average. So getting cut became fuel to get better.
Chris: I noticed you have your SB ring with you today. How often do you get it out and wear it?
Steve: I don’t. It shifts the focus on what I’ve done rather than what I’m going to do. It represents sacrifice and it reminds me of what I’ve achieved.
Chris: That makes perfect sense. You want to celebrate your successes at the time and then move on. I remember reading that if you didn’t achieve success from celebrating and partying. So if you have more to accomplish or other goals to achieve you need to acknowledge the accomplishment, celebrate it in the moment and then move forward. Continuing to celebrate our past accomplishments keeps us in the past and denies future achievements.
As a society we are super impressed by talent. We’ve even created multiple TV shows showcasing the best examples of talent.
I’m curious what you think about how important talent really is?
Steve: Not at all. I’m not impressed by talent at all. I’m more impressed by Rudy Ruettiger than I am by Lebron James.
Chris: That’s very true. Wayne Gretzky may have been the least impressive specimen on the Oilers. Tom Brady wasn’t the starter in college and was a late round draft pick. There are lots of examples of individuals who didn’t have the most talent but went on to achieve greatness.
Have you got time for a few rapid fire questions?
Steve: Sure let’s do it!
Chris: Where did the Rock play college football?
Chris: Correct. Where he play in the CFL?
Steve: I didn’t know he played int he CFL.
Chris: He tried out for the Calgary Stampeders. Where does the Fittest Player in the NFL go for a cheat meal?
Steve: In N Out Burger. And I get a burger with 4 patties!
Chris: That’s awesome. I went there last night. But didn’t get the 4 patties though. Rangers of Islanders?
Chris: Favourite or best sport not counting football?
Chris: What sport could I beat you at?
Chris: What comes to mind when you think of Tom Brady?
Steve: The best ever. He’s the GOAT. (greatest of all time)
Chris: I agree. Thanks for taking some time to do this. Next time let’s do it at In N Out Burger though.
Steve: Thank you. That was fun. I hope it helps your clients.