|Jonathan Stewart, giving God the Glory.|
*This interview and story is featured in my book Hustle Believe Receive
This is the 4th interview and story in my 5 part series “Inside the Mind of an Athlete.” A series designed to inspire and motivate you to live your dream. Each with a different focus meant to provide you with tools and real life examples that these tools really do work. It’s possible for anyone, for you, to take what you’ve learned in this series and change your life. All the tools to success using the #HBRMethod have been demonstrated in this series, and if applied can bring you the life you desire and deserve to live.
This weeks focus is on what happens when you’ve achieved your Ultimate Dream; living it, day in and day out. It seems counter-intuitive on the surface to chose this topic for an interview, yet it’s such a critical part of achieving success. If you’ve worked most of your life chasing your dream that requires one mindset, but actually living it is a whole different thing. It takes a strong mind to keep your footing and not get caught up in the pitfalls of success. It also takes aware intention so you don’t become complacent and stagnate when you’ve reached your goal. This story will prepare you for when your dream comes true, so that you can handle it with grace.
Jonathan, like the other athletes in this series played football at Oregon, entering the NFL draft his junior year. He was selected as the 13th overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Panthers, and is entering his 7th season with the team. I asked Jonathan, to tell me his story and what football meant to him growing up.
“I was always the little kid growing up, out there playing catch with my older brother and his friends getting teased for being the little guy.” He laughs a little. Jonathan’s parents divorced when he was in fourth grade, and his mom began dating a man named James Parker. “He really fell into that father figure role in my life. He’d come to our apartment complex and we’d go to the field across the street, and he’d be out there throwing the ball with me for hours. He’d leave work early, or drop whatever he was doing to come teach me the game of football and spend that time with me. He introduced me to flag football my fifth grade year, and always encouraged me, never pushed or forced, just encouraged. So football came with a sense of comfort and a connection with someone who really cared about me, it came from a place of love.”
In 7th grade Jonathan began playing select league tackle football and started to notice two things: 1. He was always the smallest kid on the team and 2. He was starting to love it, and he was pretty good at it. In high school Jonathan racked up the most yards of anyone on the varsity team as a non-starting freshman, and then the “high school hype” started. “My mom raised me in church and that’s always been really important to me. I was blessed to see that at a very young age and always put God first in everything I do. So in high school I just wanted to play football, honor God and focus on school. I felt like football was my tool to honor God. Everything I did was for that end, and to make sure I was living up to that potential.”
In 2008 when Jonathan was drafted, he signed a deal with the Panthers for $14 million, and resigned with them in 2012 for a reported $35.5 million on a five year contract. Knowing what I do about money and athletes, and seeing first hand how it destroys perfectly good people, I needed to know how Jonathan’s been able to keep his head about him after seven seasons in the league. Especially with the distraction that type of money can bring. Many players unravel when they reach this level of success. They lose a grasp on reality and are not able to think past it. The “be careful what you wish for” factor tends to take affect.
So I had to ask…
Sarah: How have you managed to stay grounded and not complacent in your success?
Jonathan: The key to staying grounded is to stay yourself. You remember where you came from and you don’t change, you adapt. You refuse to change for anyone and surround yourself with the people who have always been there for you. If you are true to yourself that is the kind of people you will attract, those are the kind of people who are drawn to me. I think it’s like; if you go to a Country Music concert you’ll see mostly country fans, because that’s whats on the stage, that’s what people are attracted to. So if your heart is true, that’s what is playing on your ‘stage’, and those are the types of people you will attract to yourself.
You also need to have a good internal radar to know who’s real and who’s fake, to steer clear of the mess. I don’t ever want to be seen as something I’m not. I watch who I interact with because I know you will be judged by the company you keep. You become very aware of that, and the company you keep becomes who you want to be. If you really want to be successful you need to filter what comes at you.
Sarah: Where does that mental strength come from?
everything, I’ve made it through them before, I can do it again. And having gratitude no mater what. If something is going wrong I focus
on what God’s given me, and not on my problems. It especially helps when you’re faced with an injury, it’s easy to get down and upset because you’re not out there doing what you need to do. But I don’t let myself dwell in self-pity. Your mind is such a powerful thing, it’s critical to keep it full of gratitude, because that energy effects everything, including
your physical health and recovery.
you do. Do that consistently, and when you do over time it becomes who you are. Weather it’s a goal or a dream, seek out people who can help hold you accountable to that goal, find things and ways to push you that extra mile, so it becomes who you are. It’s a lifestyle that you create and attract to yourself.
READ JONATHAN’S FULL INSPIRING STORY IN MY NEW BOOK #HustleBelieveReceive
|Jonathan’s Facebook post|
|Comments on his Facebook post of the story|
|His Instagram Post|
|Twitter post had over 20 retweets and favorites in the first few hours|
Sarah Centrella is a Success Coach for professional athletes, the Reality TV show REVERSED, and anyone with a dream. She is also an author an motivational speaker. Follow her on Twitter for motivation and inspiration, be sure to Subscribe for my newsletter and info on free coaching classes.