I was recently fortunate to be invited to a Regions Bank event where Bo Jackson was the keynote speaker. He has an amazing story and has become a huge success. He was born one of ten kids in a seven hundred square foot house with no electricity or plumbing. As a child, he went to school barefoot…even when it was freezing outside. His single mother worked two jobs from 7 in the morning to 11 at night just to make ends meet. From that place, he has become one of the most successful multi-sport athletes of all time and has also become a great entrepreneur. Here are a few lessons that can be learned from the life of Bo Jackson:
1) Like many who have achieved sustained success, he did not come from wealth. His challenges early in life shaped him into the man he is now. He recalls making a commitment as a child while sitting on his back porch watching planes fly overhead that he was going to do something greater with his life than stay in his current situation.
2) Even though all of his neighbors believed that Bo would wind up in jail, Bo believed in himself. He says that it doesn't matter what others think, if you believe in yourself you can do anything. He also says that you have to believe it all the way. Doubt will make you tread water or back track.
3) Bo attributes a lot of his success to his mother. She never put up with any crap and she taught him to raise the bar for himself. I think good mothers are the reason behind the successes of most great people.
Towards the end of his speech, someone asked Bo why he did not go to Alabama. He said it was because Alabama told him he would likely not play until his junior year. Auburn, on the other hand, told him he would have the opportunity to prove himself and play in the first game if he earned it. He shook Coach Dye's hand on the spot and said, "If you will give me the opportunity to earn a spot I'm coming to Auburn.” Ironically, he scored the winning touch down his freshmen year to beat Alabama.