A Magnificent Role Model Inspires Kids to Give Life all They’ve Got!
Daniel Wilcox could have been a statistic. He grew up without a father in a community filled with violence and drugs. He never thought he would make it to 21.
How this self-described ‘ordinary, nothing super special’ guy became an accomplished NFL athlete dedicated to motivating and inspiring kids is a remarkable story.
“My Mom was my difference maker,” Daniel remembers. “She made sure I didn’t have too much idle time to get into trouble.” Carol Wilcox taught her son how to throw a football and baseball, and she was a little league baseball coach.
Early on, Daniel’s outstanding athletic talent helped him choose a different path.
“I saw kids selling drugs a lot”, he recalls. “They had much nicer things than me, but I didn’t care. I never wanted to live that life. After a while, I was doing so well in sports they wouldn’t let me near the stuff! They looked out for me – they thought I would do something with my life.”
Daniel didn’t meet his father until he was 17. “At first it was shaky. It took 2 – 3 years to acclimate to each other. He did everything he could to help me grow up and become a man. Now he’s one of my best friends.”
Daniel’s strength of character and commitment to excellence has made him the outstanding athlete and remarkable man he is today. “My work ethic is my blessing. It makes me competitive with myself. Competing with yourself pushes you harder. It helps you develop endurance and resilience and grow… It makes the sacrifices worth it.” Daniel says that honoring sacrifices is very empowering. It builds your confidence.
Daniel’s passion for the game burns as brightly now as it did when he began playing at age 5, and he intends to stay involved in professional football “forever”. He has set his sights on becoming a TV and Radio analyst when the time comes for him to retire as a player.
What Daniel didn’t get as a child is the very thing he is giving to kids. He launched his Baltimore-based foundation, Empowerment Minds, because he wants kids to go where they have never been before.
A lot of kids use “I am a victim of my environment” as an excuse, Daniel observes. He doesn’t let them get away with that. This “no excuses” attitude especially applies to education.
Daniel’s special message for kids: “You are the people who are going to make this world better. You’re going to take us adults into the rest of our lives. We believe in you, and we are counting on you. Your individual and personal role is very important.”
In addition to his Foundation, Daniel participates in other good causes, such as visiting troops in Afghanistan. He admits that, without his ability to tap into his strong desire and follow through, plus his previous travel experiences, he never would have had the courage to take that trip.
Commitment is one of Daniel’s biggest themes. “People will tell you that you aren’t good enough, fast enough, smart enough, talented enough or creative enough. Don’t give up on yourself! You can be anything you want to be in this world.”
Daniel’s message touches people and rings true because he has lived it. His drive, values and commitment make him an extraordinary Insightful Player® team member. He is an inspiring example of just how much one person can enrich the world when he gives it all he’s got.
Instant replay of Daniel’s guiding principles:
- Find an adult role model that you want to be like when you grow up.
- Let go of any thoughts of being a victim — you can become anything in the world you want to be.
- Push yourself to the limit so you can become the best you can be. Be willing to make sacrifices. Honoring the sacrifice is very empowering.
- Send the right message to the world with your appearance.
- Develop resilience and endurance. Talent isn’t enough.
- Ask for help – it is a sign of strength and wisdom, NOT weakness. Any successful person that ever lived didn’t do it alone. Get support, and find mentors to help you.
- Find something to be passionate about. Have an unswerving commitment, internal drive, focus and a specific and compelling goal that will catapult you out of bed every day, regardless of your situation. Whatever your goal, do everything you can to make that happen with all you’ve got!
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call 603-897-0610.
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