510 – What Can Be Learned From Peyton?

photo (48)Peyton Manning has now thrown more touchdown passes than any other player in NFL history.  He is a 5-time NFL MVP and has made 13 appearances in the Pro Bowl.  Manning is arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history.

It’s easy to think of Peyton as a naturally gifted athlete and chalk up his success to freakish genes that he was lucky enough to inherit.  But really, what has made him so great?

He is not known for his mobility, speed or athleticism.  His arm strength has also been in question.  Peyton has 3 key elements that have made him succesful.

1. Purpose

As a sophomore at Isidore Newman School in Mississippi, Peyton started  at quarter back.  He threw passes to his older brother Cooper who was an All State receiver on the team.  Cooper was on his way to Ole Miss and many had him slated as a future NFL star.  He was forced to give up football because of a spinal condition.  Peyton started wearing the number 18 in his brother’s honor.  When Cooper found out his football career was over, he wrote these words to Peyton: Via Sports Illustrated:

I would like to live my dream of playing football through you. Although I cannot play anymore, I know I can still get the same feeling out of watching my little brother do what he does best. I know now that we are good for each other, because I need you to be serious and look at things from a different perspective. I am good for you, as well, to take things light. I love you, Peyt, and only great things lay ahead for you. Thanks for everything on and off the field.

Peyton has always been playing for something bigger than himself.  If you want to make history, you must find a purpose beyond yourself.

2. The Norm

Peyton Manning’s father Archie, spent 13 years as an NFL football quarterback. The average American citizen sees playing in the NFL as a near impossibility.  For Peyton, not only was it possible, he watched his own father do it.  It was a part of their lives.

Bible - As he thinketh

Think of what your father or mother does for a living.  Do you think it’s possible to achieve what they did?  Of course you do.  You’ve seen it with your own eyes.  If what you’re striving for is not your family norm, realize that you have to create a new norm.  Recognize that your thinking may be limited based on the family you were raised in or the people you spend your time with.

Illustration by Gary Lyons

Illustration by Gary Lyons

3. The Victory Comes After The Defeat

Breaking the record for throwing the most NFL touchdown passes is considered one of the greatest milestones in professional sports.  Peyton did not achieve this in the middle of a thriving career. Do you remember the Peyton Manning of 2011?  After neck surgery, He was forced to sit out the entire 2011 season.  He spent the season watching from the sidelines in warm up pants.  The Colts released him and it appeared that his career was over.

What seemed like the end of a very good career, was just the beginning for Peyton.  He continued pushing forward and a few years later led the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl.  At 38 years old, he has become one of the greatest football legends of all time. If he would have thrown in the towel after his injury, who would’ve blamed him?  He would still be known as one of the NFL greats.

At some point in our lives, we all face devastating obstacles.  The people that make history, keep moving forward.  Normal people do the responsible thing and quit.

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