3 Powerful Lessons We Learned From Rudy Ruettiger

by | Jul 11, 2018

leadership coaching, elite momentumAs part of our Elite Momentum program, we host quarterly two-day events, usually near the Infusionsoft headquarters in Chandler, Arizona. We’ll often bring in outside speakers to provide amazing content to our members.  At our May 2018 event, we brought in Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger to speak about optimism and grit to achieve our goals. If the name, Rudy, doesn’t ring a bell, then you probably missed out on a great movie from the 90’s.

I was fascinated to hear that Rudy’s journey to get the movie made was more challenging than his unlikely and inspiring path to playing in a college football game as a member of the storied Notre Dame football team.  Here are some of my key takeaways from Rudy’s talk.

Get clear about what you want to do and commit.

Rudy shared incredible and inspirational stories describing his improbable path to playing college football as an undersized walk-on as well as his journey to get someone to make a movie about his dream to play Notre Dame football.

In both cases, Rudy had a clear idea of what he wanted to accomplish and he went to work to make it happen.  There was never any question in his mind what he was going to do. Despite the seemingly never-ending obstacles, the only questions in Rudy’s mind were, “How would he do it?” and, “How long would it take?”

Are you clear about what you want to do/create?  How committed are you?

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Don’t listen to ‘Goofy Thoughts’

There were plenty of people in Rudy’s life with logical reasons behind their nay-saying, including most of the people who were closest to him.  It would be easy to succumb to beliefs like, “You’re a fool to believe you can do that.”

Rudy told us to get really good about identifying any ‘goofy thoughts’ creeping into our mind and getting rid of them.  We may not be able to keep goofy thoughts from coming into our minds, but we don’t have to pay them any attention or let them stay when they show up.  Kick them out!

Do you let goofy thoughts lower your sights or keep you from achieving great things?  Is there anyone in your life who is quick to plant goofy thoughts in your brain?

Treat people with respect; Be kind!

Even if you are surrounded by people who can’t see the path to success as clearly as you do, treat everyone with respect.  You don’t have to believe their ideas to be friendly and kind to others.

Rudy related an experience he had where a colleague he was with was crumpling at the sight of an obstacle and telling Rudy how he wasn’t going to speak to someone that day about getting the movie made.

Rudy and his friend had a lunch date with an important movie person and had been stood up.  Undaunted, Rudy needed some space and some fresh air to think. He separated himself from the person spreading goofy thoughts and said hello with a smile to a mailman.  The two struck up a conversation and were friendly with one another. By the time the conversation was through, the mailman had offered to take Rudy to the residence of the script writer who had stood him up for lunch!  Rudy DID have the conversation that day that led to the movie being made… all because he stayed positive, said hello and smiled to a mailman.

How do you treat people as you walk your path to success?  Are you respectful and kind to everyone?

I love to watch the movie, Rudy.  It inspires me to dream big, work hard and to never give up.  It was a memorable experience to have Rudy speak at our Elite Momentum event.  Even more memorable, however, are the powerful lessons we learned from Rudy that day.

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