Monday, May 21, 2012

be prepared. work hard. be successful.

Have you heard about Les Brown and the Miami Dolphins? Last month the Dolphins signed Brown, hoping he'll make the team and become a dominating tight end over the next few years. No big deal, right? Every other team has been signing players as well. But this is a bigger deal than most, you see - Les Brown is an accountant who hasn't played football since high school, about 8 years ago!

There's a good write-up of the story in the Seattle Times:

This time a year ago, Les Brown was working behind a desk at Huntsman Gay Global Capital's West Palm Beach office. He was planning to return to school at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and finish his finance degree. Long-term, his goal was to work for an investment bank or a consulting firm in New York.

The NFL was something he watched, like a second religion, Sunday afternoons. In high school he got offers to play football at Oregon, Washington State and Brigham Young. Instead, he chose to play basketball, the sport he always loved most, at Westminster College, an NAIA school.

It was a longshot, but the precedent already has been set. San Diego's Antonio Gates and New Orleans' Jimmy Graham made the transition from college basketball player to NFL tight end. Brown, at 6 feet 4, had that same prototypical pro look.

"I would never undersell this kid," Ikei said. "He's a very intelligent kid. Has a great work ethic. He won't be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes and pick himself up and do it again. It will actually surprise me if he doesn't make the roster."

Now he is living his life completely, without regrets. He's taking a chance, unafraid of failure, unafraid of miracles.

"I hope that my story, albeit a very nontraditional one, can be helpful to people," he said. "I hope it can help people realize that, hey, it doesn't matter if you're two years removed from playing college sports and you're sitting behind a desk. If you put your mind and effort into something, you can make your dreams come true."

It's a great story, regardless of the ending. Maybe he'll make the team and become an all-pro tight end. Maybe he'll get cut and never play a down in the NFL.

But look at what he did.
  • He kept himself in great shape, even after his fleeting college basketball career was over.
  • He was willing to elevate this goal above everything else, giving it his absolute focus - so much so that he moved 3,000 miles away from home, to a place where training would be the only thing for him to do.
  • He was given an opportunity, and he seized it with both hands. No hedging, no fear of losing, no regrets.
I realize Les Brown possesses some physical traits most of us do not, like a 6' 4" frame coupled with a 4.4 40 and a 39" vertical jump, which is why he's shooting for the NFL while most of us are excited just to watch the games on TV come September.

But that's not the point. Last week I wrote "where preparation meets opportunity." This is the same story - just with different names and different places.

Be prepared. Be focused. Be dedicated. Be willing to answer when opportunity knocks. Those are the points.

If Les Brown can go from accountant to Miami Dolphins tight end, what can you do?

-Chris Butterworth