How Faith, Hard Work and Love Define a Brand

Tim Tebow

Tim’s penchant for overcoming long odds and finishing strong began at the very start of his life. His mother had been treated for amoebic dysentery, which caused significant complications during her pregnancy – he wasn’t expected to survive to full term. Yet he was born perfectly healthy on August 14, 1987 in Makati City in the Philippines where his parents were Baptist missionaries.

The family had returned to Florida when, at the age of five, Tim was caught in a riptide and pulled out into the Atlantic Ocean. One of his older brothers swam out to him, holding him afloat until a life guard arrived to complete the rescue. That incident left him contemplating where his soul would go after death. It reinforced his Southern Baptist belief that one can’t earn their way to heaven – rather one asked for, believed in and accepted the gift of salvation. These strong beliefs would guide his life.

Along with his four siblings, he was home schooled. In 1996, Florida law was changed to allow home schooled children to participate in public school athletic programs. He learned that he loved football – and was a standout player. As a star quarterback, he led his high school team to a state championship – but it was a game his team lost which better defined him. He snapped his fibula in the second quarter of the game. His performance prior to breaking his leg was nothing short of awful, and his team was trailing 24-7. He stayed in the game – passing, running and landing on that leg. In spite of excruciating pain, he led his team back to tie the score before ultimately losing by a field goal. He led by his actions. He overcame a significant challenge. He finished strong.

He had caught the eye of several major football programs and ultimately elected to attend the University of Florida. Throughout his collegiate career he and his team realized great success. Again, a loss may best define him. The Gators lost a game they should have won easily – his fourth quarter comeback effort fell short by one point. He was very direct in his post-game statement – “A lot of good will come out of this,” he said. “You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season. God bless.” Florida went undefeated the rest of the season and won the national championship.

No one on any of his teams worked harder than he. His persistently positive outlook was unmatched. His faith was his foundation. During his college football career his team won the National Championship twice, he was the first sophomore to win the Heisman trophy, he was all-SEC, all-America and won countless awards. Ultimately, he was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the NFL draft. He had an enormous national following based on his athletic success, his faith, his looks and his humble nature.

While these accomplishments are unique and impressive, they aren’t the full story nor do they define a fearless brand. It’s how he created  these results  – and how he handled both his success and his challenges – that define Tim Tebow as a fearless brand.

(For a more in-depth look at Tim Tebow, read Sports Illustrated’s The Book of Tebow by Thomas Lake)

Fearless Brands accept life on life’s terms.

Tim Tebow is considered to be one of the greatest college football players in history – yet he has not achieved anywhere near the same level of success in the National Football League. Currently, he is attempting to make the roster of his fourth team since turning pro in 2010. He has been a starter for just one year, engineering several fourth quarter comebacks and leading a playoff game victory for the Denver Broncos. It’s a strong likelihood that he never will match his collegiate performance as a pro.

Regardless, Tim Tebow is a gifted athlete and a proven leader. He is very transparent with his faith as a Christian. These facts have led to Tebow having both a huge fan base and a large group of critics. Many are critical based solely on his football potential. Many resent the openness he has with his faith. What virtually everyone agrees on however, is that Tim Tebow is a genuinely nice, caring and likeable man.

When he’s successful he gives thanks for the skills he’s been given. When he falls short, he gives thanks for the opportunity and the chance to learn and move on. When the opportunity to play in the NFL wasn’t open, Tebow has been a reporter for the SEC Network and joined Robin Roberts and the Good Morning America team.  At his core, Tebow believes he will be a successful starting NFL quarterback. As committed as his is to achieving that goal, it is not how he defines success.

Consider Tebow’s beliefs about life and success – they will help you to define your fearless brand.

Embrace your dreams – refine your talents – Tim Tebow has a dream of being an NFL quarterback. By all accounts he has been the hardest working player on every one of his teams. These are the two essentials to building an effective brand…know your why and maximize your skills needed to achieve that dream.

Be grateful – Tebow really is thankful both for his success – and for his failures. Having that ‘attitude of gratitude’ allows you to make the best of every aspect of your life. Gratitude leads to humility which is a key attribute of a fearless brand.

Do good – His Tebow Foundation is building a hospital for children in the Philippines and provides assistance to hundreds of orphans in several countries as well as in the United States. You certainly don’t need to build a hospital, but as Bob Burg says about The Go-Giver philosophy, Shifting one’s focus from getting to giving is a nice way to live….

Love people without judgment – Contrary to what many might think – this is not a statement wrapped in religion. Tebow believes it’s another way for him to proclaim the grace of God. If you agree, terrific. If not, the belief that adding love to your life adds to success has been espoused by many highly successful people. It’s the summary of Og Mandino’s Scroll II, “I will greet this day with love in my heart”.

One sure way to upgrade your brand is to learn from Tim Tebow – a truly fearless brand. Whether you love him or hate him, whether you see ‘Tebowing’ as a genuine act of faith or view it with cynicism, the core principles Tebow exhibits will add to your value and increase your success. One thing is for certain, when it comes to Tim Tebow, we can all learn a thing or two about overcoming long odds and finishing strong.

(For a more in-depth look at Tim Tebow, read Sports Illustrated’s The Book of Tebow by Thomas Lake)

Friday's Fearless Brand

Coach, International Speaker and Thought Partner - Bill’s mission is to add value to the world – one brand at a time. Bill guides individuals and companies alike in building what he refers to as a ‘fearless brand’. This is the process of discovering, embracing and delivering their greatest value – which allows them to realize greater profit. Read More

4 comments on “How Faith, Hard Work and Love Define a Brand
  1. Mike says:

    Great post Bill and his success in life will always exceed any success he could have on an NFL team.

  2. Mark Reither says:

    Wonderful post Bill. Amazing how grace and love transforms us…

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