Hard Work Leads To Success – Learn From Karl Mecklenburg. We love introducing you to amazing people in the youth sports world that are working to positively impact our kids in sports. Welcome to the Mental Toughness Academy! I’m Craig Sigl, the Mental Toughness Trainer for youth sports.
We have recently partnered with author and business coach, Chrissy Carew who created the site Insightful Player, to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. As you know, this is something we are also passionate about at the Mental Toughness Academy.
The Insightful Player site features inspirational stories of exceptional NFL players picked for their strong integrity and character. Each player shares a personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children.
We wanted to share with you an inspirational story of Former Denver Broncos Linebacker Karl Mecklenburg. He is of one the Insightful Players NFL players, who worked hard to achieve his success.
As a junior on the varsity squad, Karl missed a game to go hunting with his father. His coach was so angry, he sentenced him to a week of grueling workout drills that included running up dozens of long, steep hills five days in a row.
The coach figured it would cause Karl to quit the team, but instead, it hardened his resolve. “I’m going to be a great player,” Karl told himself. “If I can do this, I can do anything.”
And he did! Karl went on to play in six Pro Bowls and three Super Bowls. He was such a versatile athlete that he played all seven defensive front positions. He was responsible for 79.5 sacks, the second highest total in Broncos history.
You may thinks this sounds like a fairy tale career, but it certainly was not. In 1983, when the Denver Broncos picked Karl, he was drafted in the 12th round and was the 310th pick overall.
As a young athlete, Karl was, by his own description, stiff, small and slow and he wasn’t naturally gifted. He had to work at the game.
He had to leave one college after the scholarship he thought was coming never did and then toughed it out as a walk-on at another school. Ineligible to play, Karl had to sit out for a year. To hang out with the team, he swept the weight and locker rooms.
He believes talent is just a tiny piece of the path to success, especially since he knew many talented players who never made it. “I think God has given each and every one of us more talent than we can use in a lifetime,” said Karl. “And along with that, He’s given us free will.
What that means is that it is up to us to go out and find out where our talents and abilities lie and then work hard to develop those talents and abilities. It doesn’t happen by accident.”
For Karl, a good and successful life required a smart game plan, which included hard work, the courage to try new ventures and the persistence to pick yourself up and try again if you fail.
In addition to his battles on the field, Karl also dealt with a noticeable lisp and dyslexia. “I have to carefully watch my pen form letters or the ‘p,’ ‘d,’ ‘q,’ and ‘b’ will be mixed up,” said Karl.
The challenges made him a cheerleader for a can-do attitude and believes the potential he found in himself, despite his handicap, exists in us all.
“The path you take and the success you ultimately achieve is up to you,” said Karl. “Don’t let anyone else tell you, you can’t, because you can. Find that passion and chase it.”
The lessons Karl learned now serve as a playbook for others. He reminds kids to wisely select their teammates off the field. “Your team of friends is the only team that you get to pick,” he said. “Choose a team of friends that have dreams and aspirations, who value friendship and respect you.”
Karl’s passion to help others lead a successful life and is a motivational speaker and author of two books.
Here is some of Karl’s guiding principles:
- Act in the best interests of the team. Think “we,” not “me.” Leadership is critical to business and all relationships. Leadership is the highest expression of teamwork.
- Have the courage to try new things; you will gain confidence and develop new skills that will; carry over into every area of your life.
- Have the courage to be decisive. Trust your intuition and take action. Being decisive will expand your perspective and give you easier access to your wisdom.
- Own up to mistakes and then forgive yourself. Learn to be 100% accountable to yourself without self-judgment.
- Work hard, continue your education and refuse to quit.
- Nurture a big dream, a passion. Think big picture and long term. Your passion will make it easier to overcome obstacles.
- Use your desires to help you create and follow through on specific short-term and achievable goals. Make sure they move you forward to fulfill your dreams.
The Insightful Player just launched a new free online game that teaches kids life lessons. The challenges built into the game allow kids the chance to earn points for every positive action they take and share. Players that give and receive the most “You Inspire Me” points will win prizes.
Tap here to get the game for your kids.
Insightful Player Founder, Chrissy Carew is the author of the recently released book, Insightful Player: Football Pros Lead a Bold Movement of Hope. She is also a Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business, who coaches high integrity professional football players to maximize performance on and off the field.
Welcome to the Winner’s Circle!
Craig Sigl, the Mental Toughness Trainer for youth athletes