In the world of professional sports, athletes often become cash-wealthy, meaning they acquire a lot of liquid capital, very quickly. Unfortunately, many are not used to managing such large sums and, as a result, often fail to be good stewards of that money. This may leave them in a pinch when they leave the NFL or even leave former millionaires broke when their football careers are over.
I was very fortunate to interview a former NFL football player named Hakeem Valles on the Good Success podcast this past April, and I listened to that episode again just the other day. It was such a privilege to speak with such a successful player who has also, in the wake of his NFL career, become such a successful real estate investor. You do not hear stories like that one very often, so I was thrilled to have him on the show.
When we were doing show prep, Mr. Valles said something that really struck me. One thing I tell my guests in advance that I am going to ask them is, “What do you want to make really sure we cover on the show?” A lot of times, guests have a particular issue that is important to them or maybe have just accomplished something really big in their business that they want to highlight. Mr. Valles, however, had a message that was a lot simpler than those examples, but maybe even more impactful. He said, “I just want to let people know it is okay to be corny!” I was kind of wondering what he meant at first, but then he explained:
“There is only about 3 percent of the population of America doing something different than everybody else. They are the same 3 percent of people you made fun of in high school. At my high school, we said they were corny, that they were the nerds! But the thing is, everybody else is working for them now. By the time they get to be 40 or 50, all the people that made fun of the nerds are working for the nerds.”
Well, we kept on talking, and his message just really stuck with me, particularly when I think about the things I want to tell my own kids (and do) that they basically roll their eyes and, you guessed it, say, “Dad, you’re so corny!” But here is an NFL football player, a very successful guy in football and now in real estate as well, telling them the same things:
- You don’t have to go out on Saturday night to party; you can stay in and get your homework done.
- You don’t have to do something that feels wrong just because your friends are doing it; you can do what is right and sleep at night.
- You don’t have to give up the things that you love doing because they’re “corny;” you can keep working on getting better and better at your craft.
What a cool (and unusual in today’s world) concept! So I want to make sure every one of you reading this and every one of the people related to the people reading it (like your kids or grandkids!) also get this: It’s okay to be corny. It’s okay to be you. It’s okay to be different.
The things that make you different are the gifts you were given to help you reach Good Success.
Being a good steward of the gifts you are given is one of our core values at Good Success. That means that you are not just being smart or responsible when you decide to be “corny,” as Hakeem Valles puts it. You are doing what your Maker intended you to do when he gave you those gifts in the first place. What an honor to be a good custodian of those gifts and use them to the greatest good possible!
You can listen to my interview with Hakeem Valles HERE.