The success story you will hear about fullback Derrick Coleman is inspiring. Coleman is the first legally deaf offensive player in the National Football League.
"Just quit." "You won’t make it." "This isn’t for you." This is what friends told Derrick Coleman to get him to stop playing football, because he is deaf.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, 253 players were selected, and he wasn't one of them. However, he didn't give up on his dream.
He landed on the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad that season but didn't make the final cut. Later in 2012, the Seahawks invited him to their practice squad, and Coleman made the team, becoming the first legally deaf offensive player in NFL history. He's played in 12 games this season, and his brightest moment came last month against the New Orleans Saints when he caught a tipped pass from Russell Wilson at the goal line and dove in for his first NFL touchdown.
“Being deaf, being hard of hearing is who I am, so I’m not going to let someone else come in here and say ‘Oh, you’re deaf,’” - “That’s who I am. It made me who I am today.”
"That's just the way I approach my life." - "Every day I wake up and I get a chance. I always say that God blessed me this morning and I can do what I do. Our time in this world is very limited. It can be gone now or it can be gone later so I take advantage of every opportunity I have whether it's playing football, working or whatever. I'm just a happy guy."
“They told me it couldn’t be done. That I was a lost cause. I was picked on. And picked last,” - “They gave up on me. Told me I should just quit.” -
"I think everyone has their unique story and that just happens to be mine,"
"I just hope to inspire people, especially children, to trust the power within and achieve their dreams." (What inspired him to do the Durecell commercial in the way that he did.)
Here are a few take aways:
- Friends are not always helpful (though well meaning) and may actually get in the way.
- What appears to be a disability may in fact become a foundation for success.
- There are no rules about who can become successful.
- Attitude is the difference between those who achieve success and those who bump along.
- To believe that you will succeed as an entrepreneur, you will feel you are worthy of success and have the courage to be imperfect. Understanding courage, compassion, authenticity are aspects which must be understood to create success.
How will you stay inspired? Here are resources for you: