Real Leaders

Former NFL Player Shows You How to Pivot to Win

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Jordan Babineaux, former NFL player-turned entrepreneur and business coach, inspires leaders to transform their lives and fulfill their wildest dreams.

Whether you’re building a career, leading a team, running a business, or simply trying to live your best life possible, Jordan Babineaux is a role model whose experiences, both good and bad, will inspire you to achieve your wildest dreams. In his new book, Pivot to Win, the former NFL player turned sports broadcaster, entrepreneur, and business coach urges people to embrace change as a catalyst for growth. He teaches by example, sharing his personal story to help readers know when it’s time to pivot, use their strengths to overcome adversity, and stay motivated for the long run.

Even as a child, Babineaux had some difficult choices to make. He could have been tempted by drugs and crime, but instead, encouraged by his mother and siblings, focused on sports and education as a way to reach his goal of playing pro football. Once in the NFL, he relentlessly strove to stay fit and play his best until the day he retired and had to face the biggest challenge of his life. He knew the grim statistic: seventy-eight percent of NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress within two years of leaving the league. Babineaux overcame the odds, decided to “pivot” and build a new career. The road was not always easy. Along the way, some of his businesses failed, and he nearly went bankrupt, but eventually, he triumphed and today helps others achieve their mission. 

One of his most important lessons involves establishing a personal Ground Zero. He explains, “Change can feel like you’ve lost part of your identity. Be it a new career, a move to a new city, or working for a new boss, you must find the time and space to self-reflect. This is ‘Ground Zero,’ and it means establishing where you are.” Here are Babineaux’s six insights on how best to pivot:

  1. Examine Your Behavior – Consider developing new skills and new relationships that support your discoveries in Ground Zero. What activities do you do in a day, a week, or a month? Once you create a list of those behaviors, it will be easier to see what stays and what goes. Which of these activities is serving you? Which will you give up in pursuit of something more?
  2. Find People Who Will Hold You Accountable – Find people who support your good habits and push you to develop more. Ask yourself, who do I know who lives a life that I want to live? Who around me has a set of morals that I would like to mirror? Then interview these people. How can you act in a similar way? What kind of actions can the two of you take to hold each other accountable to your goals? 
  3. Learn From Your Mistakes – Think about a choice that you’ve made that doesn’t align with the person you want to become. What can you do to prevent yourself from being in that situation again? Who can you rely on to help you stay out of toxic environments? What do you need to change?
  4. Refuse To Take “No” For An Answer – When you face a “no,” it means you’ve asked the wrong person. Sometimes the person who says no doesn’t even have authority. Don’t walk away without seeking the person who has the “yes” that you’re looking for. “No” could be the one thing standing between you and achieving your goal. Consider this approach the next time someone tells you no.
  5. Focus On What’s Ahead – Whatever you focus on gets your attention. Life is like a magnifying glass that can burn a hole in paper when it’s in pure focus. You, too, can ignite a fire when you focus on what’s in front of you. Stare into the rear-view mirror too long, and you’ll crash. Get back in the game and pursue the future you really want.
  6. Employ Both A Growth And Service Mindset – Nothing can be lost when you commit to growing and serving. Who in your life has a growth mindset? Can you talk with them about how they maintain that mindset? As for a service mindset, what can you offer others even when you’re struggling? What skill sets do you have that you can lend to someone else?

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