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GOAT talk: Why we should focus on owning our greatness like Ed Reed

It’s the little things that make all the difference. The little things can show someone that you care; they can help set a pattern that leads to prosperity.

In a relationship, getting your significant other a small gift lets them know that you’re thinking of them, that you care. For other people, going to the gym every day (even for half an hour) sets a pattern that leads to growth. It’s the little things.

For Ed Reed, Pro Football Hall of Fame safety and Super Bowl Champion, it was picking up your mess after games.

This was 2013, the year the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. This small act that Reed explains, helped provide the professionalism that is paramount to champions. It all starts with taking responsibility, whether it’s in the locker room or on the field.

Ed Reed was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last week, Aug. 4. With a bust as impressive as any, Reed stole the show of the night, with a passionate and thoughtful speech.

He cited mental illness as one of the biggest problems in our world and said prayers to the families who lost loved ones in the mass shootings over the last couple of days.

Reed explained his upbringing in a “crime-infested” neighborhood in Louisiana and shouted out a police officer who gave him a ride home one night and told him he could do big things with his athletic ability.

Turns out he did. Reed was drafted in the first round, won the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, and holds the record for the two longest interception returns in NFL History.

Reed was known to study film feverishly before games. As all of the best athletes have shown us, it’s not all about talent. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

At the end of his speech, Reed said,

“Everyone has their own greatness. Whether you reach your own greatness depends on your environment, your structure, the company you keep and your attitude. I tell you, each one of you, stay encouraged. Encourage each other. Help somebody. That’s what being a human is about, leaving this place better than we got it.”

Reed is a legend for what he did on the football field and an even bigger one for the wisdom he’s given us from it. I’m very happy he got his moment and hope that everyone will listen and follow his words.

His last sentence resonates with me. That energy is what we need right now.