I want you to picture your wildest, craziest, most outrageous dream. Do you think that dream is possible for you? Maybe you, like so many others, think it’s nothing but a pipe dream. Shawn Harper had a dream that seemed impossible. Like so many other young men, he wanted to play professional football in the National Football League.
Everything in Shawn’s life made that dream an unlikely longshot. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio on the “wrong side of the tracks.” His earliest memory is of his father’s physical abuse.
“This is the man that I looked up to. That I held my hand out to every day, and I was pushed away and physically abused.”
When his dad left a few years later, he left the family destitute. Shawn’s mom scrubbed floors for long hours every day to put food on the table for her six kids.
“There is a different value system in the hood. It’s eat or be eaten. People didn’t have goals. They didn’t worry about how they were treating other people. Most people are just wondering how they are going to survive and where their next meal is coming from.'”
By first grade, Shawn was struggling in school. He felt his peers looked down on him, and teachers wrote him off as a lost cause.
“I wore hand-me-downs. I was documented with learning disabilities. I stuttered. I couldn’t complete a sentence until college. People had low expectations of me, and expectations are dangerous because they give off energy. Their opinions became my reality.”
Shawn became bitter and angry. He made up a script about what others said about him and began to internalize it. It destroyed his drive and desire to succeed.
“Anger is interesting. If it doesn’t have an outlet, it will turn on you and eat you. Nothing around me validated the dream that was inside of me. That zeal and drive were made stagnant. “
Shawn barely started on his high school football team. When he went off to junior college, he didn’t play a single game.
“I was living the life of an underachiever. I was into just about everything: sleeping around, doing drugs, partying like a rock star, playing video games, hanging out. I didn’t have focus.”
When Shawn stood up in a room full of college friends and said he wanted to play division one NFL football, they laughed at him.
“They were like, Shawn you’re never going to make it. You’re not strong enough. You’re not fast enough. You’re not good enough.”
But instead of giving up, Shawn used their lack of belief to fuel his dream.
“I stopped paying attention to the circumstances around me and starting tapping into the dream. I wrote the words NFL on the wall in my dorm room and every day I said ‘NFL, that’s where I’m going.’ I became an overachiever. Those guys were right. I have to get faster. I have to get stronger. After practice, before practice, I’m out there working. I’m focused.”
Instead of taking offense from his friend’s ridicule, Shawn looked for the truth. He knew that if he stayed on the path he was on, he would never achieve his dream. His hard work paid off, and he played football for Indiana University, and then went on to get picked 4th in the third round of the NFL draft.
“If you have something inside of you that you want, you lock onto that dream. You take the distractions, and you take whatever is trying to pull you out of being all in, and you strip it out of your life. You judge everything based on that dream. ‘If my friends don’t line up with my dream, they don’t line up with me. If my habits don’t line up with my dream, they don’t line up with me.'” You gotta be all in.”
Shawn had a coach who saw the potential in him and pushed him until Shawn discovered the tenacity inside of himself.
“A coach can pull the king out of a kid. A coach can see things in you that you can’t. You’re down and out, and you’re sweating, and you want to collapse, and the coach is like ‘you have more in you.’ You have two more sprints in you. They push you until you want to ball up and die, but they see more in you.”
To realize his dream of playing in the NFL, Shawn had a coach that helped him through the huddles. After the NLF, Shawn continued setting new goals that come with a whole new set of obstacles. Knowing the value of a good coach, he didn’t hesitate to hire Dani Johnson to push him toward making his new goals a reality.
Today, Shawn is a dedicated husband and father who runs a multimillion-dollar security services business. With the help of his new coach, he’s paid off over a quarter of a million dollars in debt in three short years. He has become a sought-after motivational speaker who inspires others to find their dreams. And, last month he released a brand-new book called The Winning Edge.
What is that dream, friend? It’s time to strip away whatever it is that made you think that dream is impossible. That dream was planted inside of you for a purpose and for such a time as this. Shawn didn’t get there on his own. Dani Johnson is the coach who sees the potential inside of you and is ready to give you the tools and the training to unlock it.
Shawn has attended Dani’s live training event, First Steps To Success, for several years. Learn to rediscover the dream you may have given up on. Dani Johnson is the coach who will help you implement strategies to make your wildest dreams your reality. Register right now for the next First Steps To Success.