Walter Payton’s Lessons For Handling Failure

© AdobeStock
In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, Jarrett and Brittney Payton, the children of Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton, share life lessons about work, parenting and being kind to others, all learned from their late father.
Jarrett Payton, right, and Brittney Payton, son and daughter, respectively, of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, stand on the field during the national anthem before an NFL football game between the Bears and Cleveland Browns in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. The game was dedicated to Walter on the 10th anniversary of his death from liver disease. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Many years ago this author had the opportunity to work on a book titled Never Die Easy with Walter Payton. A running back and Super Bowl winner with the Chicago Bears, Walter is widely viewed as the greatest running back of all time. And you would find no shortage of fans of the game who view him as also the greatest football player ever to play the game. The NFL thought enough of him as a human being to name their Man of the Year Award after Walter Payton.

During the time we worked on the book together, Walter had been diagnosed with a rare liver disease and in the last weeks of his life, wanted to tell his story. On November 1, 1999, Payton died from the complications that arose from his illness. He was 45 years old.

The experience was life changing for this author because out of that book grew a relationship with his two children, Jarrett and Brittney. Both of these wonderful people are athletes in their own rights and both have established successful media careers, while continuing to honor their dad’s legacy through their work with the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation.

In the podcast, Brittney and Jarrett reminisce about their father and growing up as a Payton. They reveal how they are still drawing lessons from Walter about balancing work and family life, something their father had to deal with as a football player and businessman. “And to be a grown up now and a father, a business owner and all these other things, your time is limited, and you have to be able to manage your time,” reflected Jarrett.

Now Walter’s kids are passing along his example to their children. “My parents never pushed anything on us,” recalled Brittney. “My lesson from dad was always to go out there and compete at your best and give it your all. Sometimes in life, that might not be good enough, but that’s okay, too. You’re still winning. That’s what I teach my kid.”

Listeners to the podcast will enjoy a behind-the-scenes view of Walter’s greatness on and off the field, including

2:30   The importance of being present.

11:30  How to put his “never die easy” code of conduct to work in your career.

15:30  How Walter Payton taught his children to handle failure.

18:00  Walter’s encouraging words to Brittney following a track and field meet loss.

21:00  How to deal with the pressure of high expectations.

21:00  Jarrett’s historic introduction of his father to the 1993 Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If you knew and loved (or even if you rooted against) Walter Payton as a player, you’ll enjoy seeing a side of him only his own children can offer. And if you’ve never watched a down of football in your life, you’ll still enjoy some wonderful storytelling about a complex man, father and competitor at this Payton family reunion.

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.