SUCCESS Stories Episode 114: Let the World See the Real You With Sam Acho
Sam Acho is a new author, public speaker, humanitarian and a committed Christian. A veteran NFL linebacker who is twice a nominee for the league’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, he has been named one of the 20 Smartest Athletes in All of Sports. Sam has spent time with world-shaping organizations, such as International Justice Mission, the American Diabetes Association and the Clinton Global Initiative. He has lobbied Congress to change laws as it relates to justice-related issues both inside and outside the United States. He hosts the Home Team Podcast, is a frequent guest on ESPN, and his brand new book is titled Let the World See You: How to Be Real in a World Full of Fakes.
Sam didn’t plan any of this. “For me, it was a story of just walking through the next open door,” he says.
His junior year of high school, Sam had no hopes or dreams of playing professional football, but he decided to go to a football camp at the University of Southern California with his brother that summer. When they showed up, they realized it was an invite-only camp for top student athletes from the state—and they weren’t invited. The camp let them in anyway, and at the end of the two days, the coach offered Sam a scholarship on the spot. As this news spread, Sam started getting letters from schools all around the country to go play football in college. That was Open Door No. 1.
Listen to the full episode to hear Sam’s story and learn how he got to where he is today.
A few lessons from Sam…
- When God opens up a door, nobody can close it. Even if it’s not the right time or situation, it doesn’t mean the dream isn’t going to happen. Your decisions on the path to success won’t always be easy and it’s not always a “yes”—you don’t have to run through every single door. Some people’s journeys are different.
- What does it mean to let the world see you? For Sam, he says what makes him, him is “not just the ups, it’s the downs; it’s not just the good, it’s the bad; it’s not just the joy, it’s the sadness. It’s what makes us human.”
- It is so hard to be real with social media and the pressure of performance, so a lot of us pretend. “Pretending will get you in the door, but being you will open up doors you could never imagined,” Sam says. The problem with pretending? 1) Masks are hard to keep on, and 2) people love you for the you that you are not.
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