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EP 87 – Andre Young: The Keys To “Get Great” In Sports, Business, And Life

Hey, hey! Welcome back to Friday Bullpen Sessions! Today, we will be joined by an extraordinary guest who will teach us a thing or two about the power of consistency and positive mindset. So, be sure to get your notepad out and put your seatbelt on because this interview is going to be a remarkable journey

I’ve got leadership and mental health coach Andre Young with us on this episode. I must admit that I was beyond impressed when I read about this man’s journey. He went through a lot in his life as a young man, but now he’s a successful mental health therapist. And not only was I impressed with his past, my curiosity of how he handles life’s troubles as a mental coach got the best of me.

In this episode, we will explore Andre’s not-so-ideal childhood and the relevant experiences that led him to a life of success and value. His story is that of a young child who, for the sake of doing the thing he loved the most, learned about one of life’s harshest truths and used it to transform himself into the person he is now. You will definitely get inspired and be moved by the wisdom of this man. So if you’re ready, let’s get down to business!

Who Is Andre Young?

If there is one word that I’d use to describe Andre Young, that would be strength. He has gone against the odds of his difficult childhood and built himself a career as a speaker, author, and founder of You Evolving Now, LLC. He has definitely been instrumental in improving the lives of thousands of students, business owners, employees, and leaders.

His mission is a reflection of his own life story — his EVOLUTION. This is why he dedicates his time, expertise, and efforts to improving and transforming organizational work culture, improving employee-worker relationships, and your own person. Through his 19 years of experience as a mental health therapist, he has transformed marriages, individuals, and groups by sharing his life-altering experiences. 

He has written four books, including his newest book, 7 Ways to Lead. He also hosts his podcast called You Evolving Now. Even though he is successful, Andre never fails to keep his feet on the ground. If his story has inspired me, I bet he would encourage you too.

Do What You Have to Do, So You Can Do What You Want to Do

Andre grew up with nothing. His family lived in Philadelphia’s inner city, where he first found his gift as an artist after selling an original painting at age 13. But the neighborhood wasn’t excellent. In the 80s, it grew into a wild place with drugs, shootings, and a lot of chaos. Some might even call it a war zone. It was also during this time that Andre discovered his love for music. He still fondly remembers this part of his life. 

“I used to play guitar in 1987. I didn’t have a guitar case. I had a triangle or a box, and I’m walking down the street. That’s where my music class was through all of the drug deals, shootings, [the] police station that was stationed on the corner.” – Andre Young

Though he never really had a mentor, Andrei treated his experience as one. He looked at his environment to learn what not to do so his life could go the opposite direction. Eventually, his love for music ended as soon as he picked up football and fell in love with it.

“I remember watching a playoff game. I love that type of competition and intensity. At that time, though, I saw myself as a painter. A painter does not do football. I was an artist, a musician. But after watching a playoff game, I just kind of loved it and fell in love with it. That was the moment where I told myself, ’This is what I want to do.’ “- Andre Young

After realizing what he wanted to do with his life, Andre played for his little league team. Once he finished tenth grade, he transferred to his neighborhood school with 5,000 plus kids. This was a turning point in his life.

“I was studying in a free-for-all school. At that time, I didn’t know that I was an ADHD inattentive type. I had a hard time learning things that I don’t care about [and] sitting in rows. The result? I was left with four F’s, two Ds, and a C going into my 11th-grade year. I never really understand why I wasn’t learning. I still remember my mom looking at the report card saying, try to make out what this F was.” – Andre Young

But the repercussions of the F’s in his card did not just end with his mother reprimanding him. 

“I was the starting running back and linebacker. It was such a great experience. One day, my coaches called me and told me, ‘Hey son, you can’t play – Andre Young

So in his eleventh-grade year, Andre couldn’t play football for his high school. He cried like a baby when he heard the news, but there was nothing he could do. It was one of the first lessons that he ever learned about being an adult and professional, whether in business or in sports. The truth is straightforward: Do what you have to do so, you can do what you want to do.

What’s Your Superpower?

Andre endured the pain of losing his chance in eleventh grade. Once he was able to get his rates up, he went back to playing high school football. This continued until college, where he would cross paths with future football legend John Mobley.

“John Mobley is a first-round talent. First-round draft picks run differently. I say they float on top of the grass. They don’t run on the grass. They have that certain power, explosion, coil, but also the dedication. When you’re in the first round at that level, it means you’re doing a lot. You play with the stamina that takes the will, and the mindset takes. I got to watch him day after day, week after week, and I’ve seen firsthand his dedication, his grind, and everything it takes from a physical standpoint.” – Andre Young

After graduating from college, Andre joined the NFL Combine and spent one year as a semi-pro in the NFL. By the time he was 25, he had decided to go back to school to earn his Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a Marital and Family Counseling specialty. 

“I became a mental health therapist, and I absolutely loved it. I love being able to impact people, connect with people, read between the lines, and serve. So I really thought that I’d be doing that.” – Andre Young

Despite shifting his career to counseling and helping people, Andrei still trained like the athlete he used to be. During a time in the gym, a gentleman came over to him and praised him for looking like a football player. 

“I said, ‘thank you.’ The gentleman says, ’Well, you look like you could still play’. I said, ‘Stop. I’m done.’ I have three kids at that time. I’m past it. I put that all to the side. He just kept hounding me about it and told me he was a coach for an arena football team. He wanted me to try out for the team. I said, ‘no,’ again, like for the 13th time, ‘no.’ But when he told me that [he would]  train me, I just gave in and decided to do the training.” – Andre Young

Once back in training, Andre, now 30, was working out with men in their 20s. These men are in the best shape of their lives and do not need to warm up. On the other hand, Andre needed to run 20 striders at that time just to warm up and stretch. What kept him going, though, was the exhilarating experience of playing for something that he loved. So against the odds, he trained and did what he had to do so he could do what he wanted to do.

His efforts paid off.

“I ran the fastest time that I ever had at 30 years old.” – Andre Young

Unfortunately, he had an injury and pulled his hamstring after his second 40. This was the death of his football career. He was released in week five of the season while his team went on to win the championship. It was still a great experience, though, and he felt incredibly grateful for the occasion.

“I got a second chance to look at it all, after being eight years out of football. It was an awesome experience. My football career might be over, but it was the launch of a new career path for me.” – Andre Young

What Andre went through taught him an important lesson. Despite not playing football for those eight years, he never stopped putting in the work like he did when he was an athlete. That’s what gave him the superpower to run for three 40 at age 30. 

How to Get Great in Sports, Business, and Life

Andre’s experience as an athlete taught him how to be great in life. He believes in the power of effort and its necessity in doing the things you want to do. But he also knows that the path to greatness is not as easy as it seems to be. He believes in doing something with a purpose. 

“When we do things we want, we need to make it life-changing. We need to take it back to our team [and] coaches and bring it home to our parents. I didn’t have that kind of thinking back then, so in my career as a speaker, I’m honored to be able to give it to them.” – Andre Young

His words were an epiphany. It makes sense. You might be doing what you have to do, but you might not be exactly heading on the right path. You may think that it’s progress, but it’s actually not creating the value you need because it doesn’t support those around you. 

Try to ask yourself, “Am I putting in the hard work and putting in the grind when no one’s watching?” Because if you answered yes, that’s real progress. That’s follow-through. That’s the right path.

With this as a good start, Andre also shares essential points on how being an athlete changed his mindset and how this made his career as a leadership and positivity coach possible. He calls it the 4 Cs — consistency, confidence, construction talk, and competition. Let’s look at them briefly and learn how they can help us achieve our hidden greatness. 

#1 Consistency

Andre shared the story of how his son was caught by his friends throwing a football like a pro. . They were having a practice when his son’s friends went over and invited the teen for a pickup football game. To be caught being great is different from showing off being excellent. Getting caught being great means doing what you have to do without anyone watching you. That’s consistency. As adults, leaders, bosses, or whatever leadership role you fill, get caught being great.

#2 Confidence

We all know that confidence is necessary because it helps us experience life to its fullest. It totally changes our mindset and makes us not afraid to act though things might not go as planned. When we are confident, we become these high-vibe, cheerful, and energetic people who are fun to be around. To achieve confidence, Andre gives us this advice:

“You get confidence when you know that you’re not only doing a good job, but you’re meeting somebody else’s needs. Sometimes in our job, we get paid not because we offered something of value to our company, but because we did a good job” – Andre Young

#3 Construction Talk

“The third most important thing I learned as an athlete and I apply to myself now is construction talk. You always gotta be talking good, whether to yourself or others. I avoid dwelling on negativity even if things don’t go the way I want them to be and shift my focus on the question, ‘What can I learn from this?’”- Andre Young

You are always your most prominent critic. I urge you to take this statement with positivity because you are the source of your doubts and insecurities, but you also have the power to shut them off. Be mindful of what goes inside your mind because they might be the words that come out of your mouth. Remember that whatever is in you radiates to others.

#4 Competition

“Lastly, you got to compete. You’ve got to compete. As an athlete, you’re competing with yourself, [and] you’re competing with your teammates. You’re competing with people that are about to get drafted or recruited behind you or veterans that they can bring in. It is constantly a competition with a focus on winning. But you have to be very clear on what that definition of winning looks like.” – Andre Young

Take a step back and reflect. What does winning look like to you? Is it a big house? A fancy car? A big paycheck? Probably awards and recognition? By knowing what YOUR definition of winning is, you know what you need to do or what you can give to compete. Only by sitting with yourself can you get to know what satisfies and fulfills your being. Once you know this, trust me, you’ll feel great and start to look at life from a different perspective.

Why You Should Listen to This Andre Young Podcast Episode Right Now…

Guys, let’s applaud the wisdom of this man! It is massive. After hearing all these practical and powerful tips, I feel more empowered than ever. If you are a business owner, a manager, or just looking for ways to improve your leadership skills, please grab a copy of Andre’s latest book, 7 Ways to Lead. It contains exciting insights on what it takes to be a leader in this contemporary, particularly in this COVID-19 era. You can also know more about Andre and what he does by going to his website or connecting with him via email at andre@youevolvingnow.com. Start a great conversation with him because he loves meeting fantastic people. 

Also, please share this episode with someone who needs to hear it! Tag me, @andy_neary, and Andre Young, @youevolvingnow, with a screenshot of your biggest takeaways on Instagram — I’d be extremely grateful! 

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Remember that where confidence and clarity collide, action happens. If you’re in the rock bottom moment of your life — a health crisis, poor decisions, or a tragic situation, take a step back. Put your life in perspective. Stop doubting yourself and your capabilities. Know that you have the keys to unlock your life’s greatness. So, go make it happen today!

Until next time, folks!

Andy Neary Signature

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