“From a young age, people gave so much to me. They paid it forward, and I want to do the same. I love the quote by A. Kalam, “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.” For me, it is about legacy. I want to leave a legacy that long surpasses my existence here on this earth as well as my family lineage.”
I had the pleasure to interview Taylor Symmank, the current Punter for the New York Giants. He has been in the NFL for two years now (previously with the Minnesota Vikings), he holds Texas Tech University Career Records in punting/kicking, has a podcast on iTunes, has spent countless hours in community service, and a huge proponent of development of individuals to achieve their maximum potential.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I grown up around the game of football for my entire life.
Ever since I was a young, I have been surrounded by family and friends that have encouraged me as well as pushed me into becoming the best version of myself. I didn’t always have the punting and kicking label attached to me, I actually grew up playing other positions as well as sports. I played everything, I took pride in the fact that I was an athlete and I could excel at multiple sports. Everything from soccer, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, competitive hip-hop dancing, to football. Recently I have also added tennis and golf, which has given me a different dynamic that has allowed me to grow as an overall athlete. The main position I played in football growing up was wide receiver and cornerback. Wide receiver was my first love, and was almost the route I took going into college. Due to me growing late and only being 160lbs my senior year in high school, college coaches weren’t drooling all over me. As a result, I went to a D2 college out of high school in efforts to hopefully continue my career as both a wide receiver and a punter/kicker. I quickly found out that punters weren’t typically allowed to play other positions at the college level due to injury issues, so I changed my focus off both to only on punting/kicking. From there, I spent countless hours dedicating myself to the craft and ultimately landed myself an opportunity at Texas Tech University a semester later. At this point in my career I just started punting, I didn’t always grow up punting (I actually didn’t punt in high school either!), but found some natural attraction to it because of the ties to playing soccer. From there I went on to set some records at Texas Tech and earned myself a spot on some NFL rosters, which I am currently on with the New York Giants.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now, I am working on a bunch of different things. I am currently working on writing a book, instructional journal, podcast on Itunes (which has been on iTunes for 2–3 months now), personal training, kicking camps/trainings, and community work with multiple organizations.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I have been blessed with the opportunity to be around some great people my whole life. My grandfather (Bob Ward) was a strength coach for the Cowboys during the era with Tom Landry, so he has been apart of Super Bowl organizations! He is also in the strength coaches Hall of Fame, so some of my development can be attributed to an amazing grandfather. I have also been able to be around 6x National and 4x World Martial Arts Champion, Joel Scrivner, during the later years of my life. There are countless others who have had a massive impact on my life as well, so I have been very blessed to be surrounded by some great people to say the least.
What would you advise to a young person who aspires to follow your footsteps and emulate your career? What advice would you give?
The first thing I would tell someone following my footsteps would be to find your ‘why’, because without it you will struggle with it later on down the road. On top of that, your why is what will fuel you while you are in the process of fulfilling your dreams and goals. Secondly, I would say surround yourself with people who push you to be the best version of yourself. It is too easy to find friends to be ‘cool’ with, challenge yourself in finding friends that have bigger dreams than you even do! That goes right into my third point of, don’t let yourself be the smartest one in the room. Meaning, if you are constantly the smartest one in the room then you need to find a new room to spend your time. Allow others to challenge you in ways that you never thought were possible. If you aren’t constantly putting yourself in a place to learn more, you will gradually fall back without you knowing it until it is too late.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
This has always been a focus of mine growing up, because from a young age, people gave so much to me! They paid it forward, and I want to do the same. I love the quote by A. Kalam, “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.” For me, it is about legacy. I want to leave a legacy that long surpasses my existence here on this earth as well as my family lineage.
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful? Can you share a story?
As I alluded to earlier, my grandfather was a huge part of who I am today. He has taught me more lessons than he probably will ever realize, and has shaped me into who I am as a man. Growing up around someone who had excelled at a high level, especially in the field that I was interested in, allowed me to see what it took to reach his level and the amount of work required to stay at that level. He was literally around multiple iconic figures in the history of the sport, as well as being a Hall of Famer himself, so I had an example of what ‘it’ looked like right there in front of my face. It was truly a blessing and I am beyond thankful for him.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
I have countless life lesson quotes that I love, but the one that has been resonating with me lately is one by Ralph Emerson that says, “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.”
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each)
For me, it boils down to three key components! One, it would have to be knowing your why. Because without knowing your why, it will be very hard for you to attach any sort of passion or desire to the goal or task you are pursuing. Two, it takes diligence. Diligence is not only hard work, it is hard work along with a strategy to dominate one’s opponent. Three, it is the understanding that ‘diligent work’ is never done. Meaning, there is always more room for growth therefore there is always more room for diligent work.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
If I had to choose the core people I would love to meet one day over a lunch or some coffee I would quickly respond with this answer “Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffett, Judah Smith, Eric Thomas, and Donald Trump.” Hopefully one day I will be able to meet every single one of them, and get to pick their brain on how they do what they do!
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Originally published at medium.com