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Do you want to be successful? They may not always be obvious, but entrepreneur lessons can be found nearly everywhere we look if we want to be more successful.

Huge congratulations to Peyton Manning for a stellar career.

He is expected to announce his retirement today from the NFL after 18 seasons with the Colts and Broncos. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be able to watch Peyton’s greatness over the past couple of decades. He is a true icon and the epitome of how to be successful to the point of being great.

No matter where you stand in the ‘greatest quarterback of all time’ debate, it is undeniable Peyton is in the top 3 with Tom Brady and Joe Montana. All time leader in passing yards, touchdown passes, and many, many other statistical categories, Manning solidified his legacy with a second Super Bowl victory last month.

In order to improve oneself – to be more successful, be more confident, have better work life balance and essentially, be happier – it is always wise to look at the qualities that make the great ones great.

After 18 years in the NFL, here is a look at 18 things that you can take away from #18 and his illustrious career if you want to learn to be successful too:

  1. The importance of study and preparation when you want to be successful

    There might not be another player who has logged more hours of film study than Payton. Consequently, he seemingly knew what the defense was planning to do before the snap. Therefore, he was able to put his team in the best position to be successful on each play.

  2. Take advantage of second chances

    Many people thought Peyton Manning’s career was over when the Colts made the decision to move forward with Andrew Luck. In 2011, Peyton missed the entire season with neck injuries and his future in the NFL was in jeopardy. Yet, he went on to have 4 more stellar seasons with the Broncos, including what many consider the greatest single season in NFL history in 2013, tossing 55 touchdowns and compiling 5477 passing yards.

  3. Have awareness

    Peyton always knew where everyone was on the field.  Likewise, he also knew where they were going to be. Thus, his complete awareness allowed him to be successful in making the right decisions in a fraction of a second.

  4. Know your strengths

    Peyton was definitely not what is considered to be a dual-threat quarterback. Meaning, one who was proficient at passing and running. He was the epitome of a pocket passer. Additionally, he was likely one of the slower players on the field at any given play. Consequently, he never wasted time becoming a better running QB. Instead, he became better and better at what he already did well.

  5. Lead by example to be more successful yourself

    Manning was revered by his teammates for his tireless work ethic. While there were times when he could be seen yelling, coaching, and encouraging players, the greatest impact he had with teammates was example he set through his actions, not just his words.

  6. Know your personnel

    Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your own team can be vital to your success. Likewise, putting others in the position to succeed based on their unique skill set – and not asking them to do something outside of their area of competence – is something the greatest leaders do. Peyton was certainly no exception here.

  7. Know your competition

    Peyton might have known the opponent better than they knew themselves. Thus, going into any game, he knew the tendencies of the other team, including all the players on the defense, and used that knowledge to his advantage.

  8. Adapt when necessary

    Following the neck injuries in 2011, Peyton did not have the same arm strength he had in previous seasons. Yet, that did not stop him from having a couple of his best statistical seasons – and another Super Bowl – after his surgeries. He became even better at understanding all the small details, breaking down film, and making adjustments on the fly.

  9. Block out the noise from doubters and haters

    There are always going to be those who doubt your abilities. Likewise, there will be haters. Many thought he should have walked away after the neck injuries. After all, he was still a Super Bowl Champ and had put together Hall of Fame numbers. On the other hand, Manning had unfinished business, and he cemented his legacy with another Super Bowl win.

  10. You can be ruthless in business and still be liked

    Peyton has compiled more wins than any other QB in NFL history. He probably beat your favorite team multiple times. However, almost everybody still loves him. Or at the very least, they respect him. Anybody who says otherwise is nuts.

  11. Lead a revolution

    Manning revolutionized the position of quarterback, and to some extent, the game of football as well. With his vast football knowledge and his preparation, he was able to change plays at the line of scrimmage to give his team the best chance of success on a given play. Further, the percentage of shotgun snaps and the increased importance of the passing game, were both a result of the Manning effect and his proficiency passing the ball.

  12. Be humble

    There are many times Peyton could have stepped up to the microphone and declared his greatness. Yet, he thought it was best to let his actions and his play speak for itself. And there were times he could have put others down to make himself look better. Remember Ryan Leaf?

  13. Build your brand

    As Manning progressed as a player, he also progressed as a brand. Allowing others to see his wit and sense of humor began to pay big dividends. Similarly, it will continue to do so in his retirement. In 2015, he made about $12 million in endorsements.  There will most certainly be more to come.

  14. Family is important

    No matter what successful person you find, there will be hard work as  a foundation for that greatness. Also, there is generally a strong family unit and a strong support system. Peyton’s older brother, Cooper, once had a promising career as a wide receiver.  However, after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis in his neck at age 18, his career was over before it started. Peyton has always been vocal in support of his brother and vice versa. Peyton leaned on his brother as he returned from the 2011 neck injury, as older brother had some experience in that area.

  15. Time for business, time for play – work life balance

    All work and no play – it’s not only boring, it’s not healthy either. There must be some sort of work life balance.  Otherwise, burnout is likely. Between his coveted private family time, his appearances on SNL and commercials, and his well known witty sense of humor with teammates, Manning brought a great sense of balance.

  16. Give

    Although much of Peyton’s contribution flies under the radar (he prefers it that way), he has established the PeyBack Foundation, which supports underprivileged and at-risk youths. He is also very involved in support of local children’s hospitals.

  17. Develop partnerships

    I am sure many of you watched the post Super Bowl festivities in which Peyton exclaimed that he would be drinking “a bunch of Budweiser” in the wake of the celebration. That 5 second sound byte generated an estimated $3.2 million in advertising for Budweiser, and you can be certain that that relationship between the two will likely continue into the future.

  18. Go out on top

    If at all possible, going out on top is the way to go!


 Get organized and be more confident expert Susan Sly tiny face pictureSusan Sly is a best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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