Today our expert guest is Morten Andersen, a living personification of the American Dream. Morten came to America as a foreign exchange student when he was 17, and during his first week in the USA, he discovered a talent that changed his life forever.
Morten went on to have a remarkable career in the NFL, during which he achieved a number of impressive feats: he’s the only player to hold statistical franchise records for two teams, the Falcons and the Saints; he played an all-time NFL record of 382 games throughout his career; and in 2006, he became the all-time leading scorer in the NFL (a title he held onto for 12 years).
These days, Morten is a speaker and philanthropist who draws on stories from his 25-year NFL career to deliver speeches on teamwork, leadership, and achieving goals that will motivate and inspire the audience.
Morten actually came to the U.S. as a soccer player, but his high school didn’t have a soccer team. They did, however, have a very good football team, which happens to have exactly one position that perfectly fits someone who is good at kicking: the placekicker, or kicker.
He did extremely well in his first year. So well, in fact, that Michigan State University offered him a scholarship. He went from playing in front of 1,000 to 100,000 people, but the intensity didnt’ say his resolve. Morten set records, was named an All-American, and earned himself a spot with the New Orleans Saints.
But even then, Morten didn’t exactly think of the NFL as a career. He was still, really, just putting one foot in front of the other. “I wasn’t trying to project how many years. I was just trying to, literally, make the next game.” And, unfortunately, Morten also had a “dismal” pre-season, followed by an injury on his very first kick in a season game.
Luckily, the NFL player strike that year gave Morten an opportunity to fully heal, while his replacement kicker coached him on how to finesse the field goal. Then, Morten has a breakout ‘83 season, and he realized that he had an opportunity to do something special in the NFL.
Morten learned a number of important lessons during these years, and they’re lessons that we can all benefit from learning and applying to our own lives:
- If you want to be a high-performer, that doesn’t mean coasting on talent. You have to do your homework own your work bench.
- You also have to identify your work bench. For Morten, that was very simple: it’s the little area where the ball is put down. Then, you have to train through repetition; when you start developing good habits and training good habits, they become dominant, and that’s the secret sauce to success in high-performance situations.
- Unconscious competency is the highest level of learning (also called muscle memory), and as a high performer, that’s where you want to get to.
- High-pressure situations only exist if you aren’t prepared. “Pressure happens when your skillset doesn’t match the task.”
The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway
“It’s one simple word – Will – and the will to do the distasteful. It’s not when your hands are in the air that you improve the most. It’s not when everybody is applauding you and clapping on your shoulders and saying attaboy. It’s when your back’s against the wall. It’s when the world is suck. It’s in that moment when you realize that you have to go and recruit some traits that, perhaps, are not pretty, but are necessary in order to get through something.
“And within those traits is a very small word that’s so important – it’s will. The will to do the distasteful. The will to go places others may not want to go. But because you have the will to go there, you will be able to absolutely fly into that rarified air of personal excellence.”
Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.
- Learn more at http://www.mortenandersen.com/
- Support the Morten Andersen Family Foundation: http://www.mortenandersen.com/index.php/family-foundation/
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The Daily Helping is produced by Podcast Masters