Today we’re kicking off the Champion’s Mindset series by speaking with AJ Hawk, Super Bowl Champion and host of The HawkCast. He was a linebacker for Ohio State, the Green Bay Packers, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Falcons. I also spoke with AJ’s brother, Ryan Hawk, on episode 23 of The Impact Entrepreneur Show.
The HawkCast is a podcast in which AJ interviews rock stars, hall of fame broadcasters, world class athletes, war heroes, bestselling authors, philosophers, and even an astronaut. The podcast is his platform to share great stories and pursue a deeper understanding of what makes people tick.
As an athlete, AJ was mentored by a number of great coaches. At Centerville High School, Bob Gregg and Ron Ullery were incredibly influential. “Those two guys shaped how I attack every single day. They taught me how to work, how to be open-minded, how to learn and how to just shut up and do it.”
AJ’s other coaches – Jim Tressel, Mike McCarthy and Marvin Lewis – had every second of the day planned out. He knew they weren’t going to waste his time, and he respected that. Jim Tressel, AJ’s college coach, surprised him by how much he cared. He didn’t want to make them better athletes, he wanted to make them better people.
“In the meeting rooms with Coach Tressel it would always start out with things that had nothing to do with football. It was about your character and your integrity and how to be a good, moral person and how to treat the people around you.”
AJ developed a deep respect for process and consistency. If you’re an athlete, entrepreneur or parent, you need to find a way to live in the moment. It’s about the process and being consistent every day.
“If you stay the course and you stick with what you believe in, good things will happen eventually.”
It’s easy to work when you feel good, but what are you going to do when you have a moment of weakness and feel tired? Committing to the process can help you stay on track in difficult moments, and overcoming obstacles will help you grow as a person.
“When things are really tough I can actually grow as a person.”
As AJ transitions from the NFL to pursue a life in broadcasting, he is using the mindset and skills he developed as a champion athlete. He is doing his reps and being consistent by getting out there, getting on camera or on mic any chance he gets, and doing what he is passionate about. He’s just trying to get better every single day.
“If you just act like you know what you’re doing, chances are people are going to believe you. Just get started, and it’s amazing the momentum you can build through that.”
AJ is a tremendously humble and courageous champion, and I can’t thank him enough for coming on the show. Make sure you subscribe and listen to The HawkCast for more of AJ’s thoughts and insights, plus some incredible stories.
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