Michael’s Rules: No. 13

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.

The legendary businessman and former chair of GE, Jack Welch, said that among his best business advice to anyone was, “Change before you have to.” As an athlete, I became a master at making small changes: changing my diet, changing my workout, changing the way I approached a certain play or offensive move. But I’m also the guy who played 15 years for the same team. That’s almost unheard of in professional sports. So in a lot of ways, I’m like the guy who spent his entire life at the post office. I knew the terrain, liked the regular paycheck, didn’t want to make any changes. On the other hand, I knew that there was a ticking clock on my career and that, like it or not, in give or take five years, I would be out of a job. My career was winding down. So after more than a dozen years in the league, I began thinking about what I consider the two essential questions to making a big job change: when do I want to leave this job and what am I going to do next?

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