Congratulations to Peyton Manning on his recently announced retirement. And thank you Peyton Manning (and family) for sharing your “class act” example with us over the course of your hall-of-fame career.
Manning rightfully belongs in the company of sports’ greatest legends. His numbers speak for themselves. My favorite Peyton Manning stat? Manning is the oldest quarterback in NFL history to ever win a Super Bowl.
Not bad for a guy who will turn 40 years old on March 24th. Especially when you consider that the majority of Peyton’s fellow forty-somethings struggle just to stay awake on the couch while watching a 3 hour game on TV never mind play in one. Never mind excel at it!
How did Peyton do it? He did it the old-fashioned way. With character.
To see precisely what I mean, treat yourself to this quick video of Manning’s son as they enter Manning’s retirement announcement press conference (you have to scroll down a bit for the video).
A son clinging to his Dad like that doesn’t happen by accident. It can only happen when a man is willing to expend the time and energy needed to bind a father and son at the only time such a bond can be forged, in those youthful days when a new father first walks with character, and his child first walks with him.
I bet Manning would agree, his greatest accomplishment so far was not on the football field, but in his home, where he chose to become the Dad to this little boy who when scared and nervous, gravitates to the safest place he knows.
This is character and self-leadership at its highest level. This is what can happen when anyone, not just a guy who can throw a football 80 yards, assumes the challenge of living with integrity, dedication, courtesy and humility.
In a word, character. Something all men possess, but only the best choose to embrace.
Character is knowing who you are, and refusing to be anything else. Character is doing the right thing, however tempting the easy thing. Character is self-respect, as opposed to self-destructive. Character is yes or no, as opposed to might or maybe.
Without character we waiver. With it we conquer. No matter what you, to do it with integrity and character is to function at a higher level of purpose. It is a positive belief in oneself that can withstand any adversity, overcome any obstacle and illuminate any darkness.
No matter how many mistakes we have made, no matter how many attempts we have failed, no matter the disappointments we have suffered, we can forge ahead. Surrender is the opposite of character.
Winning the Super Bowl is about teamwork. That’s believing in each other. Winning the Super Bowl at 40 years old is about character. That’s believing in yourself.