In this special interview, Overdrive interviews Bo Eason, a former professional football player, motivational speaker and playwright.
Growing up, Bo Eason was told he’d never amount to much on the football field. He was too slow, people would say. He was too small. Even if he had been fast and big, the odds of making it to the National Football League (NFL) are still mind-bogglingly low. How did Bo respond? He put his head down, mapped out a plan and worked his way onto the squad of a celebrated NFL team. In short, he thrived.
Today, the retired football great is starring in a one-man play about his journey to the NFL. Early on, Bo endured the naysayers’ comments—you can’t act, you stink at writing—but with of the same hard work and passion he applied to getting to the NFL, he tackled the odds and proved himself once again. How did he do it? He started by building a foundation of greatness at the ground level.
Overdrive: You faced a lot of uphill battles to fulfill your dream of making it to the NFL. What did you learn along the way?
BE: “For me, dreams are an amazing part of personal and professional growth. Once you set your mind on a dream, you’ve started this amazing, moving machine, and obstacles are going to start coming your way. For example I was nine-years old when I said I wanted to play pro football. At the time, I was the smallest kid in my class, but I embraced the challenges. After all, I’m the one who created those obstacles in my mind! Since I invented the obstacles, they’re my responsibility. And the great thing is, since I’m the one who made the obstacles, I can also overcome them!
“Most people focus on their obstacles and try to fight or work around them. I’ve learned to work toward them and with them, as opposed to fighting the current and losing the battle. Also, I choose to ignore them when things get tough and they don’t motivate me anymore. That’s the great thing about obstacles; as long as you know that you’re the creator of them, then you can ignore them. Just stay focused and move toward the ultimate prize: the realization of your dreams.”
Overdrive: What did you learn when you ventured into uncharted business territory?
BE: “In my experience, people who have achieved a certain height—let’s use the NFL as an example—they usually move to another field of business, thinking they can start at the same level of success they had on the football field. That’s a mistake. When I left the NFL, I knew that if I wanted to be the best at anything, I had to start at the bottom of the ladder, just like I did as a football player. You really have to rediscover yourself. When I entered the theater business, I found myself in a dark theater for 10 years, putting in the time and repetitions need to be the best stage actor I could possibly be. Twenty years later, I have a show and a nation-wide tour, all because I realized that greatness starts at the ground level.”
Overdrive: What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned both on the football field and on stage?
BE: “One of the biggest things I learned in football was that a lot of my success involved teamwork. I find this to be true in business, as well. When I first started working on my play, I invited others to be a part of my visions, my plan. Why? Because I wanted to achieve my dream. I didn’t care who carried the ball into the proverbial end zone, I just wanted that ball in the end zone. I learned that it’s crucial to have your employees buy in to your vision so you can move forward and excel.”
Overdrive: How can other people harness their talents?
BE: “I always think talent is derived from the mission, the goal or the dream; whatever you want to call it. That’s where you have the most strength, passion and desire. Say someone is in the plastics industry and always had a dream of being a rock star. That may not come true, but there are ways to access that passion, go forward and live that dream. You can develop the habits, take lessons, go to a local bar and sing! You’re living your dream; even if you’re 65 years old, you can still do it. In my experience, those who achieve their dreams are the most creative. I also encourage people to make goals for themselves; mini goals that help direct them to the completion of their dream. I’ve found this serves as a great foundation for greatness.”
Bo is a former NFL player-turned star of his one-man show, “Runt of the Litter,” which inspires audiences to make their dreams a reality. His unforgettable story is living proof that with enough determination, nothing can prevail over the human spirit. “Runt of the Litter” is soon to be a major motion picture. For more information, visit www.BoEason.com.