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.