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October – The Importance of Self Awareness


Jan. 1, 1970

Dear Fellow Former Players & Friends,

Mindfulness. The new found popularity and sudden interest around the value of self-awareness is now a full fledged “movement.” By definition, mindfulness is the intentional unprejudiced focus on emotions, thoughts and feelings occurring all around you in the present moment; responding to what is real and happening now.

I, like most people, thought being deeply “aware of oneself” was a discipline practiced as part of religious and spiritual  traditions. But when I gave it some more thought, it made sense; understanding your skills, talents and abilities allows you to connect to something pure.

You need to challenge yourself and engage the prospects of being more attentive to your emotions and the energy your inner voice creates. Knowing your strengths is part of being mindful and will prepare you to do your best in the moment.

Action creates opportunity.  I know you hear me say it almost every month, but that is because I truly mean it.  It should never get old.  Isn’t it better to be prepared to take action when the moment arises?

Being in the moment has long been held as the secret to world class performance, no matter what the field. Don’t speculate or dream too far ahead without dealing with the here and now.  Our time on the field, playing at the highest level, combined with the unique challenges of transitioning has uniquely prepared us to remain balanced through anything life will throw in our path.

Knowing your limits is not a bad thing.  Think of it as a set of helpful hints.

Ponder this, the centuries-old quote says, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”  I would argue you are equally deceiving yourself if you are something and think you are any less.  Be mindful. Be self-aware. Become aware of how close greatness is in your life.

Andre Collins

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Executive Director
Professional Athletes Foundation
NFL Player 1990-1999

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

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