David Vobora on Pushing Past Limitations

This episode is sponsored by Gusto.

You might not think you’d be inspired by someone nicknamed “Mr. Irrelevant.” But former football player David Vobora, who was given the moniker for being the last selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, calls it an “honorable title.” Vobora speaks with SUCCESS editor-in-chief Josh Ellis about training athletes, people with disabilities and American veterans, and sheds light on how an addiction to painkillers nearly destroyed his life.


  • David’s journey to the bottom began just a month after he left the NFL. He went through a 7-day detox after being severly addicted to pain medication, lost 34 pounds and had two seizures. “Just a month or so before, I was playing inside of CenturyLink Field for the Seahawks and running down on kickoff in front of 80,000 people. That was quite the fall.”
  • Vobora poured his energy into creating a gym, the place that he always found solace in. “It was always my sanctuary,” he says. “Physical pain is emotional purge. I could always come to the gym and work on myself and direct that energy toward my goal.”
  • What makes Vobora’s gym different is its mental, emotional and spiritual approach to training and its clientele, a mix of elite athletes and wounded military veterans.
  • Mindfulness practice at the gym has helped Vobora’s clients recognize what they’re feeling and in some cases, improve their memory-based functions of the brain. 

Favorite quote from this episode:

“The overarching thing I’ve learned is that if you treat people broken, they act broken.”

—David Vobora

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Josh Ellis is the former editor in chief for SUCCESS magazine. Before joining SUCCESS in 2012, he was an accomplished digital and print sportswriter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine, the team’s gameday program, and DallasCowboys.com. Originally from Longview, Texas, he began writing for his hometown newspaper at 16.

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