Michael’s Rules: No. 8

I’ve been really lucky to have the love and support of a lot of wonderful people throughout my life. Along the way, they’ve given me some pretty great advice which I now consider my own personal rules for living—words of wisdom that have helped me navigate my career and my life and that I would like to pass along to you, too.

When I was playing football for the Giants, sacks were my specialty. I did what I could to give myself the physical advantage to be an outstanding player—and the extra training paid off when I had 15 game-changing sacks in a season and new contract to reflect my value to the team. But then my sack total dropped … and the sports critics noticed. I took it hard. One of my best friends on the team, Jessie Armstead, noticed my funk and gave me some of the soundest advice I’ve ever received: “Let the sack stat go and just play.” He was right. I had trained my body, reviewed the tapes, and studied the skills of my opponents, and now it was time to play for the fun of it. But there’s a learning curve involved with doing that: I had to learn how to let go and play in the moment—to really connect with my teammates and not just pursue sacks for the sake of the sack glory. And then a funny thing happened: my game improved.

You can read more about my story in my book, Wake Up Happy.