In Other Words: Life Lessons from Peyton Manning’s Retirement Speech

Peyton Manning retirement speechThere are many reasons to applaud football icon Peyton Manning for the speech he delivered earlier this week announcing his retirement from the NFL.

Delivered with grace and humility, it stands in stark contrast to the dastardly dialogue and vindictive language that we continue to hear during what is bound to be one of the most significant presidential elections in American history.

For football fanatics, his speech was a testimony to the greatness of the game and the ability of any player to rise, against any and all odds, on any given Sunday. For Peyton Manning’s fans, it was bound to confirm their fervent admiration and respect for an athlete who has role modeled hard work, dedication and integrity throughout his 18-year career.

But, for the every day man, for people who don’t necessarily follow football, nestled within his speech were tidbits of wisdom that we all can apply in our own lives, no matter the position, job or title we may hold – on or off the field.

Subtle and unassuming, they are important reminders of how to cope with challenges and setbacks and how to evolve into the person we aspire to be. They are nothing new or revolutionary – in fact, we hear and read variations of them all the time – but coming from someone whose actions have aligned with his words, they somehow seem more potent.*

After all, such messages require not only for us to understand and acknowledge them, but to act on them.

They are outlined below:

1. In the beginning of his speech, Peyton Manning remarked: “There’s a saying that goes, treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be and he will become what he should be.”

…in other words, challenge yourself not only to do more, but to be more.

2. He went on to say: “Grateful is the word that comes to my mind when thinking of the Denver Broncos” (he used “thank”, “grateful” or “gratitude” eight times in his speech).

…in other words, be grateful for the people and things in your life and commit to giving thanks each day.

3. Later, he said: “Football has taught me not to be led by obstructions and setbacks but instead to be led by dreams.”

…in other words, persevere through all challenges and obstacles with determination, hope and faith.

4. He continued on: “Our children are small now, but as they grow up, we’re going to teach them to enjoy the little things in life because one day they will look back and discover that those really were the big things.”

…in other words, make a conscious effort to live in the present and treasure each and every moment.

5. Toward the end, he said: “Life is not shrinking for me, it’s morphing into a whole new world of possibilities.”

…in other words, with every new or unfamiliar situation comes an opportunity to learn something that can help you grow in unexpected ways.

6. And, finally: “There were other players who were more talented but there was no one who could out-prepare me and because of that I have no regrets.”

…in other words, hard work, preparation, discipline and commitment pay off and will always help propel you to success and achievement.

Read the full transcript of Peyton Manning’s retirement speech.

*Full disclosure: As a diehard Steelers fan, I have very little reason to support Peyton Manning (he led the Denver Broncos to victory against the Steelers in the playoffs this year). But, as a seeker of All Things Good, it’s hard not to give credit where credit is due or commend someone of such fame for their humility, grace and integrity.

Good News From Dana Perino

I knew I was going to enjoy Dana Perino’s book after coming across an article she published entitled: “Advice for Millennials: What I learned From My Quarter-Life Crisis (Yes, I had one).”

Discovering that the former Press Secretary for President George W. Bush had once been “racked with anxiety, filled with fear, and totally confused about what I was going to do with my life,” was more than enough to convince me to begin reading her book, And The Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice From the Bright Side.

Funny and moving, insightful and informative, balanced and practical, it is well worth the read, particularly for millennials who may be in the midst of their own “quarter-life crisis,” just as Ms. Perino describes experiencing in her early career.

Dana Perino And The Good News Is Book Review

Spanning her humble, modest upbringing in Colorado and Wyoming, her years working for President George W. Bush and her current role as a host on the popular talk show The Five, And The Good News Is… tells the unlikely story of how a young girl who had once visited the White House at seven years old would return some 20 years later to serve as the first female Republican spokeswoman for the 43rd president of the United States.

Full of poignant stories from working with President Bush, humorous mishaps both on and off the podium and challenging decisions that tested her courage and strength, the book provides an authentic glimpse not only into her own personal journey, but into the journey of life itself: the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, questions and doubts, triumphs and defeats. Which is perhaps why it – and she – is so relatable.

Far from being pretentious and brash, she isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself and her weaknesses, sharing personal anecdotes of cases where President Bush impelled her to practice self-restraint (and to always forgive and “let it go”) – which is admirable, especially for someone who has attained such a prominent and respected position in politics and media.

Sprinkled throughout with valuable lessons on life and the workplace, it isn’t until the end when she offers solid, concrete advice for young people – which would serve many well to read.

While some of her tips are what you might expect (i.e. dress for success, don’t chew gum and never underestimate the value of networking), most of them are refreshingly distinct – and certainly no less important than the ordinary checklists made available to young professionals today. For instance, she has now inspired me to start a weekend reading folder and may have also convinced me that I should leave New York City and move to North Dakota. She even got me thinking seriously about my response to the question: what do you do for fun?

But, you might be wondering, what of the good news? What is the good news? I think it is just that: that there is always good news. That, as she writes in the introduction, “…in America, nothing is ever as bad as it seems because we have the opportunity and capabilities to fix problems.” She later goes on to say: “Whatever is being said about you, whatever criticism you’re facing, it probably isn’t as bad as a million other things that happened in the world that day…remember, most of us are really not that big of a deal.”

As a young woman, who might just be in the midst of my own quarter life crisis, perhaps that is just what I needed to hear – and why I so thoroughly enjoyed her book (it also didn’t hurt that I could effortlessly relate to her desire to always be thoroughly prepared and her excessive worrying tendencies, even when there isn’t something to worry about).

So, thank you, Ms. Perino. Your book might just be to me what Peggy Noonan’s, What I Saw at the Revolution, was to you: a source of clarity, inspiration and encouragement.

And henceforth, when I’m nervous, scared or tasked with a challenge, I promise to just “put my big girl panties on and deal with it.”

Be sure to also check out our other posts, including: