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What strikes you first when you meet Aaron Golub is his confidence. It’s the confidence that comes from being the first legally blind football player in the NCAA Division 1 in the world and a free agent for the NFL. It’s the confidence that comes from being (literally) traumatized on the court over and over and finding the strength to come back. It’s the confidence that comes from learning how to pick up a football at 15 yards without being able to see your receiver and hit it right in the hands.
Gollop has spent his life proving skeptics wrong. Not only did he form the Tulane University football team, but was also named captain in 2018. And while athletics will always be a part of his life, he has now shifted his focus to entrepreneurship as a financial advisor and motivational speaker, addressing audiences across the country, from sports teams Professionals to Fortune 500 companies.
We caught up with Golub to discuss the lessons he’s learned and how the rest of us can find the confidence we need to make “the impossible possible” in work and in life.
So how did your football career begin?
I wanted to play soccer in the seventh grade. My parents were definitely nervous, but they let me do it. And you’re terrible. You know, I wasn’t an athlete. I was a third guy for several years.
How did you improve?
During my sophomore year, I got up at 5 a.m. every day, went for a long pickup, went to class, went to group training, lifted weights every night after school, and did it every day for the next three years. I just understood that I had to work ten times harder than anyone else just to be as good as them, and that required me to do things no one else was willing to do to achieve my goal. I was willing to put those actors in for the long shots, and I’ve done it 10,000 times. When I fired the football out of my hand in college, I could tell you if it would hit the punter on the right hip, left thigh, shoulder, head or stomach. It really is a good lesson for life and for work because the people who make money at work are the ones who do the boring and repetitive tasks over and over again. And if you’re willing to do the things you don’t want to do, and you’re doing them consistently, you win.
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What did people think of you at first?
I think most people thought I was silly. Most people thought I could never do that, and that’s okay. I love that kind of thing because I’ve been able to prove these coaches, these teams, these individuals wrong. But the people who were close to me, the people who saw my work ethic, the people who saw what I was doing on a daily basis – they knew I was going to achieve something great someday.
So were you motivated to prove them wrong?
No, I wasn’t motivated to prove people wrong, I was motivated to prove I was right. When you try to prove someone wrong, you focus on the wrong motives. And I think a lot of people rely on these external stimuli, and that’s the wrong way to think about things. If you think of external motivators, then what you think of is something that can allow you to achieve something in a short period of time. So if I go to the gym, and I want to do a 500-pound squat, I’ll think of something that’s going to bother me, that will make me want to prove someone wrong in that 30-second time frame. But that’s exactly how long it will take – 30 seconds. It won’t last for a week, a month, a year, or 10 years.
I have talked a lot of events. Was there a particular moment that made you feel that your story might inspire others?
Yes, I really think the most impactful one was when I was in Tulane. The child’s mother reached out to the coaching staff in an attempt to connect with me and her son was dealing with some health issues, specifically a form of cancer that was causing him to really lose his sight. And my coach sat me down and talked to me about it and we brought them to campus. I showed them around the facilities, the football field, the weight room, the locker room, I sat down and talked to them. It was a really great afternoon and the fact that I was able to really make an impact on this kid and his life is really incredible to me.
This must be a great feeling.
definitely. This is honestly one of the most satisfying things. You know, if anyone is reading this, and I have affected them in any way or if I can help them in any way, send me a message on Instagram or Twitter Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I have influenced you and helped you in any way, I would love to hear these kinds of stories.
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Are there specific heroes that you look forward to?
I think heroes and terms like this get thrown around a lot. Take someone like Tony Robbins. I definitely look up to him. I think he’s a great businessman and talker, but would I consider him a hero to me? No, because if you consider someone a hero, and if you want to be the next Tony Robbins, the world doesn’t need that. The world already has Tony Robbins. What the world needs is the great Aaron Golub. Look at Tom Brady. I’m a Patriots fan. I think he’s the best midfielder ever, but he’s not my hero. Can I learn some principles, some things he did that I can take into my own life? absolutely yes. But I won’t be the next Tom Brady. I will never be the next Tony Robbins. What I’m going to be is Aaron Golub. I will achieve great things in my name with my identity.
I’ve been through a lot. What do you consider “difficult”?
Look, everyone has their own challenges and obstacles. Each individual’s challenges are unique to them. The hard stuff for me, everyone probably thinks is too easy. The hardest things in my life are the little things that no one thinks about. Crossing the street is very difficult for me. Making sure I don’t get hit by a car, cooking dinner, making sure the chicken is cooked, walking down the street making sure I don’t hit a pole or someone else. These things are difficult for me.
What is the biggest business lesson you have learned from your football experience?
It is consistency. In football, I had to be consistent every day to succeed. There are a lot of people who suffer from shiny body syndrome. They work on something for three weeks and then quit because they haven’t achieved their goal. three weeks? Talk to me after three years. Be consistent every day, do outreach, do your marketing, and do what you want to do. But a lot of people in this world of entrepreneurship have an idea that might be a really good one, and they’ve done it for three weeks, they don’t see any results and they give up and go on to something else. And then they gave up on that idea, whereas if they got stuck with the first thing, a year later they might have made a million dollars.
Do you have a message for those of us who face challenges in our lives and work?
Yes, literally anything is possible. Don’t get stuck in your head. Don’t think about it. If you want to achieve a goal, be the hardest person working in the room. Be the most creative person in the room. Don’t listen to anyone’s opinion other than your own. If you really think you can do something, and if you really think you’re here to do something special we all are, you can do it. Trust that the impossible is possible.