As a graduate of Texas A&M University, it likely comes as no surprise that I am a fan of Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football. During his Heisman winning freshman year in 2012, I watched in awe as he piloted an underdog Aggie team to victory over the juggernaut that is the Alabama Crimson Tide. The following year, I was at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl as he led the Aggies to one of the greatest comebacks in post season college football history (21 point deficit at halftime) over the Duke Blue Devils.
He was a stunning, exciting college football player who seemed to have a very bright future in the National Football League after being drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, his story has mainly been a sad, cautionary tale of squandering one opportunity after another:
Habitually not preparing on the practice field
Skipping injury rehab sessions
Arriving late to meetings
One stint in rehab for unknown substance abuse
Ignoring the advice of two agents to get help
Dodging offers of help from teammates, friends, former coaches and even his parents
Despite all his talent, he has blown every opportunity to succeed and resulted in him being cut by the Browns, dropped by two agents in three months, and an indictment for misdemeanor domestic assault which will be adjudicated over the summer.
How many of us squander opportunities in our business lives? Perhaps it’s spending too much time behind the desk rather than in front of clients or not taking advantage of industry continuing education. Maybe it’s shutting down early and not continuing the hustle or simply refusing to change and evolve.
Every single day, each of us are given opportunities – some we grab with both hands and some we simply waste thinking there will be another chance. When opportunities are squandered, they don’t always come back around which is why it’s so critically important to seize every single chance as if your business depended on it – because it may very well.
As for Johnny Manziel, we – he – will likely never know if he was really good enough to play at a high level in the NFL. He has been given countless opportunities both to succeed and to get help for his problems and has squandered every one of them. My only hope is that he grabs the next opportunity to get help as I’d rather see his story end in redemption rather than tragedy.