Don’t reveal your plans until they are well underway of execution. Most people discourage you or tell you that you are nuts.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their lives. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Boryla, former NFL quarterback, tax attorney turned actor, writer and director.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up on the bench of the legendary New York Knicks basketball team. My Dad was all pro basketball player for the Knicks, who later became head coach. My Mom was the creative influence with reading and the arts, which always inspired me.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“There is a way that seemeth right unto man but its end is death and destruction.” That bible passage has always inspired me to go in the opposite direction as everyone else.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
“I have no fear, I do not overvalue money and I believe anything is possible.”
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
I am a man of many accomplishments, which began as a college football quarterback and made All American at Stanford University. After college I went on to play professional football, becoming a Pro Bowl honoree for the Philadelphia Eagles. With a master’s degree in Taxation, I was able to practice business tax law for 25 years. My compassion and desire to give back to the community led me to Shannon’s Hope. A non-profit home for unwed mothers, I served there in an unpaid position as Director of the organization for 26 years.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I started writing musical plays, six days a week each morning for seven years.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
I was always creatively inspired and loved writing. I never actually took action to invest time in my creative pursuits and dreams. After retirement and cutting off ties to my father, I started writing and never looked back.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
I realized that I had a writing block when I was in college, which I hated to acknowledge. Once I started writing again,in my later years, the block disappeared. And I realized I was a good writer, and I loved Shakespeare!
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
My newest creative initiative, is really in its infancy. It is a screenplay, I have written about the star quarterback from Stanford, Jim Plunkett, called “Carmella’s Son.” My one man play about my football career and having suffered a concussion during play, is called, “The Disappearing Quarterback”, has been performed more than 50 times in Philadelphia and Denver. I produced and directed the musical version, at the famous Ellie Caulkins Opera House of the Denver Performing Arts Center. Finally, the June release of my audiobook, “Mark of the Beast is a huge success!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My artistic director, Daniel Student asked me to turn my play into a one man show. He worked with me on the emotional beats necessary to be a good actor, transforming me into a highly trained Stanislavsky method actor.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
During the run of my one man play, “The Disappearing Quarterback,” my artistic director decided to hang an NFL football from a wire on the stage. The football hung above a table with a full glass of water and it had a hook through the laces. During the play, I was to take the football off the hook and hold it so when I touched the pigskin, it landed right in the water glass, falling off the table and bouncing toward the audience sitting in the front row. I ran to the front of the stage, yelling “fumble” with my hands splayed. A startled man jumped up and out of his seat, to pick up the ball, as though it was part of the play. So I learned that no matter what mistakes occur, the audience doesn’t know the difference.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example? A struggle with believing in myself was not an issue for me.
Having grown up playing sports, and being a gifted athlete, I was instilled with a confidence that I could always rely on myself.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new.
How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter? The sports world, for men is an especially loyal fraternity. No matter what, my friends and family have always been there for me.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why?
Please share a story or example for each. 1) Don’t reveal your plans until they are well underway of execution. Most people discourage you or tell you that you are nuts. 2) Take tons of acting lessons, learn at least 300 different “emotional beats” and three forms of crying. 3) Tell no one you are a “playwright” , for some reason, it scares people. 4) Don’t take things personally. You can’t please everybody.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My youngest son, Ryan, has Downs Syndrome. He has been a huge influence in my entire family’s life. I’d like to create an organization that adds to the public acknowledgement of Down’s Syndrome in a positive way, and help move a mainstream influence towards Downs Syndrome and the people who are born with it.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
Jim Caviezel was a college basketball player in Washington. He also decided to become an actor and is a great one at that!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My audio book can be downloaded via https://www.brookforestvoices.com/audiobooks/new-title-_mark-of-the-beast_mike-boryla.html.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!