When attempting to separate yourself from the crowd, dont be afraid to turn to those around you for a little help. Thats just part of the message former NFL running back and current ESPN personality Merril Hoge will give today during his keynote address, Find a Way, at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. And Hoge, who played seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers and for the Chicago Bears from 1987-94 before concussions cut his career short, has had no shortage of people to help him along the way.
Hoge did a lot of self-motivation growing up, including heavy use of the phrase Find a Way, as he dreamed of becoming a pro football player. But that laid only a foundation. Im a product of a lot of people Ive learned from, Hoge says. They helped him go from an unknown Idaho kid to a success on the national stage. Their encouragement helped him transition his career and overcome his biggest obstacle non-Hodgkins lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in February 2003.
The late great running back Walter Payton taught Hoge what it takes to develop a mindset that exudes greatness. Chuck Noll, a four-time Super Bowl champion coach with the Steelers, inspired him to be uncommon, because anyone can be average. And his daughter Kori helped him beat cancer.
Hoge has a story for each situation and it is clear that he carries those lessons with him every day. He says every person, business or industry faces adversity. Its how they deal with the bad that can have a big influence on the good, he points out.
There is not a person in the world who doesnt have the ability to have that right mindset, Hoge says. When youre faced with difficulties, do you fight the change or do you find a way to capitalize on the change?
Cancer could have brought Hoge down, and moments after hearing the news it felt like it would, he says. But his daughter ran up to him and relayed that beloved slogan Find a Way.
That completely changed my mindset, Hoge says. After she said that, I told myself I wasnt going to lose anything but my hair with this fight, and thats what happened. A nine-yearold inspired me more than any person ever has. It can come from any place or any person. You just have to be open to it.
Hoge has been cancer-free since completing chemotherapy in July 2003. Hoge’s address is co-sponsored by AireSpring and Magellan Hill Technologies.