Theismann: Face Change Head On

NFL MVP and Super Bowl champ Joe Theismann kicked off the Channel Partners Conference & Expo on Sunday with a challenge for partners to embrace change as an opportunity. “Some of us sit here and wish for the old days … but I say embrace the change,” he said during his keynote address, which was co-sponsored by AireSpring.

While Theismann acknowledged he did not know about all the changes in the telecommunications business, he knows a lot about the challenges it brings, and he went on to share a few of those moments in his life. Theismann told the story of one significant change – his last name. He said his college coach changed its pronunciation from a long “E” to a long “I” so it would rhyme with the coveted Heisman Trophy – a marketing ploy that, from that day forward, essentially changed a bit of who Theismann was.

What really changed his life was the infamous leg injury in a 1985 Giants-Redskins game. He was forced to face change head on. “My whole world changed. I wasn’t a really nice person … I figured that out,” Theismann said. He had to analyze his opportunities and set goals for himself.

Theismann referenced a statistic that said 98 percent of people refuse to take a pen in hand and write down a goal. “How are you ever going to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know where you want to go?” he said.

After setting goals, the next priority for adjusting to change is attitude, Theismann said. “Attitude precedes everything we do in our life,” he said. “If you don’t believe in who you are, who’s going to believe it? … The confidence inside us is the key to our success.”

Theismann also discussed the importance of customer service, teamwork and motivation, using the lessons he has learned in athletics to relate to day-to-day business operations. He stressed that communication and recognition are keys to success on any team, on or off the field.

Finally, Theismann noted while business conducted here at the Channel Partners Expo is important, it is not everything. He urged the audience to “play every play like it’s your last and live life like there’s no tomorrow.” He closed his presentation by saying, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s a lot more important to be nice.”

The MVP then received a standing ovation from the audience; not his first by any means, and perhaps not his last in telecom.

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