It’s football season! So, what better way to celebrate than to be inspired by a superbowl MVP!
#86 Himself, Steelers Superbowl MVP Hines Ward joins us on the Solohour Podcast today. As you might know, I’ve been a great admirer of Hines for many years now…so much so that my vintage Porsche wears the #86, and the Solopreneur Hour Podcast studio name is “Studio 86”!
On this show, we talk about Hines’ childhood, overcoming adversity, and the mindset it takes to make it as a professional athlete and beyond. Tune in for this very fun, candid and interesting edition of The Solopreneur Hour.
More About This Show and Hines Ward
For those of you who don’t know who Hines Ward is he’s a Super Bowl MVP, a two-time Super Bowl champion, an Ironman athlete and a Dancing With The Stars season winner. He’s also the founder of Helping Hands Foundation, a charity we talk about on this show.
I’ve followed his career after he was drafted by the Steelers and have always been impressed by his tenacity, his commitment and his attitude on and off the field.
Today we chat about what it was like to grow up as a biracial kid in Atlanta in the 1970s, how his mom showed him the meaning of persistence and dedication, why he started his foundation and how he’s transitioned from being a premiere athlete to life post-NFL.
Hines was born in Seoul, Korea and lived there until he was a toddler. His mom is Korean and his dad is African-American. Back then interracial relationships were not accepted in Korea and were barely tolerated in the U.S. His mom was kicked out of her country and her family shunned her when she married Hines’ dad and gave birth to Hines.
So his dad brought them to the US and they settled in Atlanta. Their marriage didn’t last and Hines’ mom became his primary caretaker. She worked multiple jobs to make sure he had the best life possible. They were seldom home together, but she always made sure to have food prepared for his meals and let him know how much she loved him. Hines knew she was working so hard for him, and that’s a lesson he has carried with him throughout his life.
On This Show You’ll Also Hear:
- How he has proven haters wrong over and over again.
- How did he land a spot on Dancing With The Stars?
- What’s the worst part of playing in the NFL?
- The connection between being a football player and being a solopreneur.
- How he played without an ACL!
- And so much more.
Even with his mother’s love and support growing up biracial at that time in history was hard. Hines didn’t fit in with either the black kids or the Korean kids, both sets of kids made fun of him. He struggled to find his identity, especially without his father around.
But that didn’t stop him from dreaming big and going after those dreams. From early on Hines wanted to be a Super Bowl MVP; he would play football at recess and pretend to be whoever that year’s MVP had been. He envisioned himself in that role, and worked tirelessly to be the best athlete he could be so one day he’d step into that role.
He also worked hard at school so he could go to college. Kids would make fun of him and call him an “Uncle Tom”. Naysayers said a lot of things but Hines just ignored them and carried on being the best he could be.
And it eventually paid off. He was drafted by the Steelers in the third round as a special teams guy. But by his fourth season he led the team in receptions – and he did so as the fourth man on the depth chart. That meant the team had 3 other guys ranked ahead of him in their receiving core. Hines proved he was a great asset to the team, and would continue to do so throughout his career.
When he helped the team win a Super Bowl and was named MVP it was a dream come true for him. He was elated, and was not prepared for the whirlwind of attention it would bring from his home country of Korea.
As is his nature Hines found the positive in the situation. He visited orphanages and met with the biracial kids there. He heard their stories of helplessness and their contemplation of suicide. It broke his heart to see them suffer, and made him even more grateful for being raised in the US and for what his mom did for him.
Hines’ status as an exalted professional athlete and his willingness to speak out against the discrimination there helped biracial children in Korea live better, healthier lives. As a result Hines became an international role model for kids everywhere.
And his charity, the Helping Hands Foundation, is dedicated to helping kids overcome difficult circumstances to make their lives better. He knows what it’s like to face adversity and how challenging it is to overcome, but he also knows that doing so is the way to achieve success on and off the field.
Listen in to episode 338 of The Solopreneur Hour to hear him share the proper mindset to achieving greatness, the correlation between being a pro athlete and a solopreneur, and what’s next for him and his podcast Smiling Through Adversity: The Hines Ward Show.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What adversity have you overcome and how did you do it? Let us know in the comments below!
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