How a Career Ending Sports Injury Has Benefited Others' Careers

May 28, 2014
7 Min Read

I recently spoke to Matt Mayberry, who is a professional speaker, fit-life strategist, fitness & health expert, author, and high-performance business coach.  As a natural motivator, Matt inspires others towards positive change and reaching their fullest potential while living the life of their dreams. Matt is constantly challenging one to be better and do better in all areas of life. In the following interview, Mayberry talks about how he recovered from a near career ending injury, how to prevent bad circumstances from getting in the way of your success, how to best maximize your day, and more.

Dan Schawbel: What did you learn from your "career ending" injury playing for the Chicago Bears? How did that time period help you become who you are today?

Matt Mayberry: I learned a whole lot from that experience. Since I was 2 years old my dream was to become a professional athlete, and here I was fortunate enough to live that dream. But it all came crashing down on me one night while playing the San Diego Chargers. As a rookie, every minute counts, and I was just told that I would be out for 6-7 months. I was depressed. Hopeless. And worried. I didn't know what to expect. Since getting injured, I had a ton of free time on my hands after I finished with rehab, so I ended up taking a speaking engagement with Stedman Graham. That night changed my life forever. When I was on stage, I felt alive. Charged. And all of the disappointment and worry vanished. I went home that night and said, "This is for me. This is my calling." The injury led me to my purpose. Now, I get to travel the world and share my story while helping others fulfill their full potential in life. There is a greater purpose that serves us in a positive way behind every disappointment if we are just willing to search for it.

Schawbel: How do you prevent bad circumstances from stopping your future success?

Mayberry: By fully understanding that no matter what our current circumstances are, things can and will get better if you just keep taking action and moving forward. The main problem that most people face is they begin to let their current circumstances define them. When my circumstances weren't all that great, I would envision the life I wanted to live. That gave me hope and the courage to keep working through those circumstances.

Schawbel: What types of strategies should you create so you can maximize your day?

Mayberry: It's all about adopting and creating systems that work for you. What works for the next person may not work for you. I believe that the first thing that needs to be implemented is structure. It's very easy to let the hustle and bustle of life get in the way. When you have structure you make it more difficult to get thrown off track. Once structure is implemented, the next focus should be energy management. When looking to maximize your day and results, it's all about where you direct your energy. Third, stay active. Find time to go for a run or head to the gym. The greatest productivity tool in the world is exercise. Use it to your advantage.

Schawbel: How do you step outside of your comfort zone so you can challenge yourself and grow?

Mayberry: Do one thing you are scared of or makes you feel uncomfortable every day. Get in the habit of facing fear head on. Fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. More times than not, most of the things we are scared of are not even real. It's usually an inner conversation that we have been telling ourselves over and over again and began to believe it. Also, learn something new every day. Growth is optional, never automatic. If you want to grow as an individual, you must be intentional about it.

Schawbel: What do you consider to be the most important time in a given day and how can you best use that time to become more successful?

Mayberry: I refer to the first hour every morning as my "Hour to Greatness." How we spend the first hour every morning determines how well the rest of our day will go. The Hour to Greatness consists of fueling my mind. body, and spirit for the day ahead. First thing I do when I get up is get my body moving by getting a workout in. After my workout, I read an uplifting book for 10 to 15 minutes. From there, I rewrite my goals and determine the action steps that need to be taken that will move me closer to the achievement of those goals. Lastly, I listen to a motivational and empowering audio instead of turning on the news or reading about all of the negative that is happening in the world. By the time I am ready to start my day, I feel extremely motivated and prepared to dominate the day ahead. This is something that has never failed me for the past 10 years of my life.

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