Episode 145: AJ Hawk – Life In The NFL: Awareness, Consistency, Curiosity

A special “swapcast” episode of The Learning Leader Show. This episode with my younger brother AJ is being released on both “The Learning Leader Show,” and AJ’s video podcast, “The HawkCast.”  To view the video of this conversation go to: TheHawkCast.show. This has quickly become one of my favorite episodes. I really enjoy when AJ and I record episodes together.  We’ve done it in the past and we’ll continue doing it in the future.

Episode 145: AJ Hawk – Life In The NFL: Awareness, Consistency, Curiosity

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The Learning Leader Show

“It’s really easy to work hard when you feel good. The difference is consistently working hard everyday.”

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Focusing like Jim Tressel leads to sustained excellence. Keep everything simple… And LISTEN
  • The 3 words to describe AJ
    • Consistent – Always being there for your teammates. Everyday in practice, weightroom, film room, games
    • Aware – Understanding your surroundings. The real measure of intelligence is your awareness
    • Thoughtful – Caring for others. Understanding how your actions impact others
  • Where was our curiosity developed? Has it always been there? (No)
  • TRUST = It’s everything
  • “Do Not Blindly Follow”
  • Why AJ feels that he wouldn’t be a good coach (I disagree)
  • Creating actionable steps to change a bad habit — Get an accountability partner
  • What makes a great coach
  • The best teammates he’s ever played with
  • Talking a lot on the football field = “Insecurities bubbling to the surface” – Brady Poppinga
  • Be about DOING… Not Saying
  • AJ’s philosophy as a Dad
  • The importance of authenticity as a leader and passing that on to your kids
  • How AJ would respond if his children are not hard workers like him
  • What one coach would he like to hear on the other end of the phone to sign him this season?
  • His dream golf foursome: Charles Barkley, Bill Belichick, Jesus playing at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin
  • The question he asks others to truly understand how they think
  • Learning Leader = “It felt right. It fits you.”

“Typically, the “talkers” are simply voicing their insecurities. The “doers” don’t talk about it. They just do it.”

Continue Learning:

You may also like these episodes:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 082: Dan Pink – The Science of Motivation, Legendary Writer & Ted Talk

Episode 086: Seth Godin – How To Become Indispensable & Build Your Tribe

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Did you enjoy the podcast?

If you enjoyed hearing AJ Hawk on the show, please don’t hesitate to send me a note on Twitter or email me.

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

Bio From Bengals.com

Rookie first-round draft choice started all 16 games for Green Bay and led team in tackles (155) … Ranked third in Associated Press voting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year … 2008—Played through chest and groin injuries, starting every Packers game and leading team in tackles (121) …  2010—Team leader in tackles (134) for 10-6 Wild Card team that went on to capture Super Bowl XLV with 31-25 conquest of Pittsburgh … Seven tackles (six solo) in Super Bowl win, with two passes defensed … Named by teammates as one of two postseason defensive captains … Led team in tackles (10) in NFC Championship win at Chicago … Career-best three INTs in regular season, including picks against Brett Favre and Eli Manning … 2012—Started every game and both postseason games for Packers club that went 11-5 for NFC North title … Led team with 142 tackles, including three sacks… 2013—Started 16 games for Packers’ NFC North title winner, and played in both postseason games (one start) … Led team in regular-season tackles (153) and had career-best five sacks … Named a Packers postseason captain for third time in his career …

College: Played four seasons (2002-05) at Ohio State … Earned consensus All-America honors in his final two seasons and was first-team All-Big Ten in his last three campaigns … Foreshadowed his NFL durability by being available for every game of his career, and started his last 37 games … As a senior in ’05, won Lombardi Award, given to college football’s top lineman or linebacker, and was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive MVP of Tostitos Fiesta Bowl … As true freshman in ’02, played as a key reserve on 14-0 national championship team … Career totals of 51 games, 38 starts, 394 tackles,41 tackles-for-loss, 15.5 sacks, seven INTs and two TDs (one on blocked punt and one on INT).

Community service: Has held an annual “Mane Event” in Columbus, Ohio, raising money for “Hawk’s Locks for Kids,” his charity that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatments … Has participated in NFL’s Play60 program … Worked with Packers in their “Take a Player to School” event … Visited with Green Bay area elementary students as reward for their participation in Packers’ Women’s Association food drive … Has supported Jerry Patrins Cruise for Cancer, the Donald Driver Foundation, the Greg Jennings Foundation and the 2nd-and-7 Foundation, the charity of fellow Ohio State alum Mike Vrabel … Has made multiple appearances on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, and has been a spokesperson for Wisconsin Special Olympics.

A racing connection: Hawk’s initials stand for “Aaron James” … He was nicknamed A.J. by his parents as an infant, after legendary Indy car driver A.J. Foyt.

Personal: Hometown is Centerville, Ohio … Attended Centerville (Ohio) High School, where he logged 585 career tackles while also seeing time as a quarterback and place kicker … Also earned two basketball letters as a point guard for Centerville … Married to the former Laura Quinn, sister of former NFL QB Brady Quinn. Earned degree from Ohio State in criminology … Grew his hair long in 2005 as a tribute to Pat Tillman, former NFL player who lost his life while serving with U.S. Army in Afghanistan, and kept hair long until 2012, when he cut it and donated trimmings to Wigs for Kids charity … Chosen to throw out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewers game in 2007 and also took part in batting practice, hitting two home runs … Twice won “Celebrity Long Drive” title at the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic in Lake Tahoe, Nev., Hosts his own podcast, interviewing people from all walks of life, including golfer John Daly and sportscaster Joe Buck … Brother, Ryan, played football at Ohio University and in Arena Football 2 league.