People can break, and there are times when they will.
It's a fact of life, and it's something that I'm very intimately acquainted with, as I wrote in my book, Winning: From Walk-On to Captain, in Football and Life.
But it's OK to break. It's OK to fail.
Failure, after all, is just part and parcel of success.
What's important is to make that decision to build yourself back up, no matter how hard it might be or how long it might take.
What's important is to use your past not as an excuse, but as high-octane fuel to drive yourself headlong towards success.
Breaking, failing, and standing back up was a subject that I spent some time pondering after my recent stint as a guest on the very insightful Life Drive Success podcast hosted by 1851 publisher and Sticks and Stones author, Nick Powills.
It's this drive—just this pure, unadulterated belief that I was going to succeed—that pushed me towards being the best I could be while playing the highest-level football in the NFL.
When I retired, it came in handy when I chose to take over the Stacked Pickle restaurant chain and become an entrepreneur.
It may not be anywhere near being as physically demanding as crashing regularly into 200- and 300-pound linemen in full battle gear, but the mental game of being a franchisor is at least as tough—if not more.
You always need to think 5, 10, 20 moves ahead. You need to know how to adjust your game plan to accommodate your strengths and plug up any holes in your armor.
And most importantly, even if you do go down after a big hit, you need to have the resilience and mental fortitude required to stand up.
You need to turn all that adversity, all that hardship, all those times the world broke you, into (in Nick's words) a chip on your shoulder that urges you to keep standing up and moving forward.
This mindset, this drive, is something that I always had, even as a little kid with big football dreams. I guess having to play day in and day out against brothers who were older, faster, and stronger can do that to you.
But it's also something that I believe can be taught and imparted to anyone who has the willingness to listen and learn.
And that's one of the significant lessons on which I'm working hard for a new project of mine: the upcoming Gary Brackett Champions' Academy, which aims to help anyone and everyone develop their champion mindset to set them up for success.
We're still working out all the kinks in the academy, but keep an eye on this space for news and updates in the coming weeks. You can also sign up for the Champions' Academy newsletter here to be informed immediately when the classes go live.