For many of you who may follow football, John Mobley was an all-pro linebacker that played 8 seasons with the Denver Broncos. He was a key component of the Broncos teams that won Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. In fact, his tipped pass of Brett Favre in the final minutes of Super Bowl XXXI, secured him his first ring.
Not only is John Mobley a decorated football legend who demonstrated a fierce tenacity on the field. He is also a soft-spoken gentleman who happens to be my neighbor.
I have known him for the last 8 yrs. and we have played golf on many occasions. What struck me most about him when I first met him was his sincere generosity and humbleness that he displays at all times. He didn't come from a privileged background (same as myself) and went to a small school in Pennsylvania called Kutztown University. He had to compete against the top players from the big schools from all the major conferences: Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-10. Through his hard-work, dedication and perseverance, he managed to be a first-round pick of the Broncos and the rest was glorious history.
Similar to John, I went to the University of Missouri and not an Ivy-League or elite private institution. My father handed me 18 dollars, paid for one semester of college and gave me a one-way ticket to fly to Missouri from India in 1960. I ended up taking a full semester load while becoming a teaching assistant to earn extra dollars. During the summer breaks, I took a job waiting tables at the legendary Sahara Inn Hotel in Chicago and even served the great Roy Orbison, Sammy Davis Jr. and Chi-Chi Rodriguez.
When I graduated, I had to prove myself against folks who came from the finest institutions: Harvard, University of Chicago and Northwestern amongst many other elite schools when entering the workforce. When I was given my chance at General Foods, I seized the opportunity and never looked back. I like to call out from time to time that I come from the former Big 8 conference that has produced the likes of Warren Buffet (Nebraska) and T. Boone Pickens (Oklahoma State) which is good company to keep!
My Super Bowl ring came when I was nominated as a finalist in New York for the highly prestigious Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award (past winners include: Hamid Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani Yogurt, Thomas Mackey, Founder of Whole Foods, and Wayne Huzienga, Founder of AutoNation and Blockbuster Video). Although I didn't win, it is the highest honor bestowed on entrepreneurs who have a vision, take the risk and are able to influence change amongst the status quo.
What John and I have in common is that we had the drive and motivation to succeed in our respective fields. And yet we never lost sight of our roots and where we can from. We did not have all the advantages when we started our professional careers and had to prove ourselves even more. But we demonstrated that by having inner conviction and self-confidence, you can achieve your ultimate dreams and hoist your own personal Lombardi trophy.