Leadership Lessons from a Journeyman Quarterback


If you happened to watch the Super Bowl last Sunday then you were probably introduced to a Quarterback named Nick Foles. Since the hype and celebration of this Game tends to reach well beyond your average Football fans, or even sports fans, this game was probably the first time many had ever heard the name Nick Foles.


His story is similar to many young players in professional sports. He was drafted out of college, showed some early promise and success even making the pro-bowl in his second year. Then he got injured, hit some tough times, was traded to a bad team and was eventually released. After nearly quitting the sport he decided to give it another shot and was signed as a back-up QB and finally traded to his original team the Philadelphia Eagles to back up their young superstar Quarterback. This is the story of a Journeyman player. Bounce around from team to team, play very little and retire in relative obscurity.


This Journeyman’s story has taken a bit of a twist however, because Philadelphia’s Superstar Quarterback suffered a season ending knee injury back in December. Nick Foles was given his great moment- to meet a great opportunity. Safe to say he made the most of it by outdueling the greatest Quarterback of all-time Tom Brady. To top it all off Nike Foles was named the MVP of the Super Bowl performing brilliantly on Football’s grandest stage.


There are always so many amazing lessons learned when an event such as this takes place, here are a few that come to mind.


Strong belief in yourself and the value you create. Many times in his career Nick Foles was passed over for others that were deemed to have greater talent or higher potential. When this happens it’s easy to doubt yourself and your ability. This internal doubt ultimately leads to poor external performance as our brains our hard-wired to re-enforce whatever story we tell ourselves internally. Like compounded interest, these negative thoughts stack up and manifest themselves in our lives.


This negative internal conversation almost caused Nick Foles to give up on himself and on his dreams of being a successful NFL Quarterback. Thankfully for the Philadelphia Eagles, he was able to change that conversation into a dialogue that allowed him to once again believe in his ability and what he’s able to bring to any organization.


Here’s the thing. We will all go through times of adversity and challenge. How we respond to those events is what makes the difference in our business and in our lives. Also remember if you don’t believe in yourself and recognize all of the amazing things you have to offer, than why should anyone else.


Surround yourself with people that support your dreams and lift you up. After bouncing around the league for a few years, Nick Foles considered giving up on a career in football and starting over. After many conversations with his wife, family and friends he was convinced to give it another shot- on his own terms with a coach that believed in him.


Upon winning the Super Bowl and being named MVP it was great to see Nick Foles wasn’t looking for a TV camera, he was looking for his wife and young daughter. They were the people who supported him, they were his biggest fans up until a few months ago when nobody really even knew his name. They are also the people who will be there when he’s eventually traded away yet again in favor of the franchise Quarterback who’s knee has almost healed up.


Every successful person that I’ve ever met or worked with seems to have an amazing support system. Those people that keep them grounded when things are going great, and energized when things seem to head in the wrong direction.

Conversely I’ve seen extremely talented people that tend to surround themselves with energy vampires and naysayers. These unsupportive people eventually drag them down and keep them from achieving to their full potential.


The road to becoming an overnight success is rarely walked alone. Who is your support system? Have you thanked them lately?


Find the right fit for you and your ability. It’s not like Nick Foles didn’t have talent, the problem is he never seemed to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people around him to truly be successful.


In college Foles transferred from Michigan State to Arizona, which was the right place for him and he found success. In the pros, he was released by a bad team that wasn’t right for him, and he came back to work with the coach that originally drafted and believed in him. Once again he found this was a good fit and it worked well for him. Even though he was eventually traded yet one more time, the year he spent in the right place with the right people restored his confidence and gave him the tools he needed to become successful this year.


Many times in our business and in our lives we find ourselves in a seemingly good situation, but it’s ultimately a bad fit. Sometimes we jump into a promotion, or a new role un-prepared, or take on teams that really don’t compliment each other or what we have to offer. In those times it’s easy to once again doubt yourself and your ability. Here I often challenge my clients to assess where they are, and if they can become successful based on their unique skill-set? Do they have the right people around them both from a leadership perspective and their teams to accomplish their goals?


Sometimes we get to take a step back in order to take 3 steps forward. Take a look at where you are, what is needed for you to achieve at a higher level? How can you make that happen? What steps can you take this week to move closer to making your current situation a good fit for you? What skills will you need to acquire to achieve at the level you desire?


As Nick Foles hoisted the championship trophy last Sunday night, he stated that somewhere out there is young kid working his tail off- A kid that maybe has been overlooked by the so-called experts. Well Nick Foles is living proof that with hard work, belief in yourself, a strong support system, and ultimately finding the right place- dreams can most certainly come true.



Thoughts for the week:


Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life- J.K. Rowling


When you believe in yourself, you have 100% of the people you need on you side.- Anima Vitam


You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness. –Brene Brown


To be the champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will. –Sugar Ray Robinson


Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. – Unknown


The road to overnight success is rarely walked alone. – Coach Tim



Here’s to your continued success One Quarter Turn at a Time.

8 Comments On “Leadership Lessons from a Journeyman Quarterback”

  1. Thanks! I needed to hear these words today!

  2. Thanks Tim for sharing this story, I find myself in this situation and have a awesome support group, but again there are times I want to give up. This story is my inspiration now.

    • Thanks Anita
      I’m so happy this story resonated with you- remember if you believe in yourself than you already have 100% of the people needed to be successful!

  3. Excellent!! Thank you!

  4. What a great motivational start to my work week. Thank you Tim.

    • Thanks Kay
      Happy that this post got your fired up to start of the week and fight the good fight!
      I hope your year is off to an amazing start!
      Coach Tim

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