This week’s conversation is with NFL Hall-of-Famer Ronnie Lott.

Ronnie has been a champion and a leader his entire life.

After graduating high school in 1977, Ronnie went on to the University of Southern California where he helped his team win the 1978 national championship. He was a unanimous All-American and team captain in 1980 and graduated in 1981 with a degree in public administration.

Shortly thereafter, he became the first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers.

His legendary football career included four Super Bowl titles and 10 Pro-Bowl appearances.

He is one of only five 49ers to play on all of the team’s 1980s Super Bowl wins. He retired from professional football in 1994 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Post-football, Ronnie has found success as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and also has a long history of philanthropic involvement.

So what has allowed Ronnie to be successful at pretty much everything he’s done in his life?

It starts with a commitment to excellence, a determination to be great, and his relentless will to keep trying.

For Ronnie it really comes down to “exhausting every moment.”

What I hope you pick up on in this conversation is that Ronnie’s thoughts and actions reflect a man who’s had the courage to go for it, a man who hasn’t feared the consequences of coming up short.

In Ronnie’s words: “You’ve got to dare at moments to see that you can do certain things. Sometimes you fail and sometimes you win. But the most important part of it is, did you try? Did you try to do something that maybe nobody thought you could do? “

“I think any individual has the capability to be extraordinary.”

In This Episode:

  • Moved around frequently as a child… his father was in the military and they eventually relocated to California
  • His father played a massive role in his life, taught him how to explore, take risks, and manage difficult transitions
  • He was inspired by Deacon Jones and his philosophy that you can be great at whatever you choose to do
  • His high school football coach taught him not to quit and to always have a positive mindset
  • Why he looks for opportunities to excel rather than mitigate risk
  • The thing that stands out about his relationship with coach Pete Carroll
  • What drove his relentless pursuit to be great?
  • Why he thinks Eddie DeBartolo Jr. was the best owner in sports
  • What former 49ers owner Eddie Debartolo Jr. and coach Bill Wash taught him: Excellence + Determination
  • His will to “exhaust the moment” and make every moment count
  • The most exhilarating part of sports… “being completely here”
  • The qualities that stand out in the best coaches
  • Why he thinks athletes have the most valuable trait for being successful in the business world
  • The elements that help people live fulfilled lives: taking chances, service to others, gratitude, and hard work
  • Jerry Rice… the hardest working player he’s ever been around
  • The dark side of his pursuit … not understanding love
  • The conditions that come with being a “family” and a “team”
  • Joe Montana… the most clutch player he’s ever seen
  • His definition of mastery: being able to master a moment

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