Monday, December 10, 2012

7 leadership lessons from Johnny Manziel's Heisman Trophy  acceptance speech

On Saturday night, Johnny Manziel won the 2012 Heisman Trophy. I was inspired by his speech and spent some time reflecting on what his speech said about his leadership. Even though he is only 20, we can learn some great lessons from his speech. 

Below are seven leadership lessons we can learn from Manziel's acceptance speech. The lessons are followed by a complete transcript of the Texas A&M quarterback's speech.

7 leadership lessons:

1. Dream big. "This is a moment that I've dreamed about since I've been a kid - running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing a Hail Mary to my dad."

2. Acknowledge the leaders who have gone before you. "Now I'm so blessed to be on the stage with such a group of great guys and to be invited into this fraternity - what a pleasure it really is."

3. Be gracious to your competitors. "What a great experience it was to meet the people that I have - Manti, Collin - not only great football players but great guys off the field as well."

4. Share the spotlight with the ones who made your leadership possible. "It's such an honor to represent Texas A&M and my teammates here tonight, I wish they could be on the stage with me." Manziel later said, "I wish my whole team can be up here with me tonight especially my great offensive line and the whole offense. Luke Joeckel, Jarvis Harrison, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Matthews and Patrick Lewis - I'm as safe standing right here as I am in the pocket with you guys." (I think he meant to say, "I'm as safe in the pocket with you guys as I am standing right here.")

5. Show gratitude to the people who have invested in your life. He thanked the Heisman Trust, his mom and dad, his family, his grandparents, and his coaches. 

6. Lead in light of a compassionate cause that gets you beyond yourself. Joe Villavisencioa was a center on the Texas A&M who team passed away in a car accident. Manziel honored him and said, "To Mr. and Mrs. Villavisencio, if I had a son, I would want him to be exactly like him."

7. Give honor to the Lord for His love and grace. "Most of all I want to thank God for allowing me to be here. All that he's blessed me with in my entire life I'm so thankful for. For the love and the grace you have shown me, I'll be forever grateful."

Are you dreaming big? 
Do you acknowledge and learn from your predecessors? 
Are you gracious and encouraging to other leaders? 
Do you share the spotlight? 
Are you actively showing gratitude to people who have helped you along the way? 
Do you have a compassionate cause that expands your heart and your horizon? 
Are you giving God glory? 
What are some practical steps you can take today to move forward in these 7 areas of leadership? 

Below is the complete transcript of Manziel's speech: 

"This is a moment that I've dreamed about since I've been a kid - running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing a Hail Mary to my dad.

Now I'm so blessed to be on the stage with such a group of great guys and to be invited into this fraternity - what a pleasure it really is.

I'd like to start by thanking the Heisman Trust and everybody that made this weekend possible. What a great experience it was to meet the people that I have - Manti, Collin - not only great football players but great guys off the field as well. It's been a pleasure to get to know you guys better and I wish you all the best of luck.

It's such an honor to represent Texas A&M and my teammates here tonight, I wish they could be on the stage with me. Texas A&M, choosing that school is one of the best decisions I've ever made in my entire life and I'm so proud to be a part of that.

To mom, dad, Mary and the entire family watching - you mean the world to me. I just want to thank you for the encouragement, the love and the patience over the years.

Grandpa, to all the times we used to play in the hallway and throw the ball until we couldn't anymore, I love you with all my heart and you inspired me to play football. To Grandma, I'm so sorry for all the things we broke in the house.

To my coaches back at Kerrville Tivy - Mark Smith, Julius Scott and everybody there - you taught us all what it meant to really fight and work for something that you wanted more than anything in the world. You taught us about passion and about heart and what it truly meant to say "Tivy fight never dies."

To coach Sherman, coach Rossley, coach Sumlin, coach Kingsbury and everybody that's been part of me playing football for my entire life - you've been truly a blessing. You taught me not only what it is to be a football player but to be a man as well. For that, I thank you so much.

I wish my whole team can be up here with me tonight especially my great offensive line and the whole offense. Luke Joeckel, Jarvis Harrison, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Matthews and Patrick Lewis - I'm as safe standing right here as I am in the pocket with you guys. You've done a great job of keeping me off my back and I can't thank you enough for everything. To all my teammates back home, I love you with all my heart.

I especially at this time would like to honor somebody who is near and dear to everybody at Texas A&M: Joe Villavisencio. Around this time last year, a center on our team passed away in a tragic car accident. It was something that as a whole team that we really had to fight through and press on through the bowl game. To Mr. and Mrs. Villavisencio, if I had a son, I would want him to be exactly like him. I know Joey is in a better place.

Most of all I want to thank God for allowing me to be here. All that he's blessed me with in my entire life I'm so thankful for. For the love and the grace you have shown me, I'll be forever grateful.

The values that I have learned from my parents and that have been carried over by Texas A&M - leadership, respect and putting others first is what the 12th man is all about. I believe the 12th man is one of the greatest traditions in all of college football - 40,000 students standing not as fans but as members of our team. To the 12th man, Texas A&M, Kerrville, Texas and Aggies everywhere - this Heisman Trophy is for you."

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