BTU #84 – Nate Boyer: Army Green Beret to the NFL

“That’s the main takeaway from things for me: to not limit yourself. I never played football until I was 29 years old. I never long snapped a football until I was 31, and  I somehow had a shot in the NFL. And I’m not a good athlete; I’m an OK athlete – I just worked hard. And that’s just one example, but we’re all capable of that.”
– Nate Boyer

Most recently, Nate Boyer was the long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, but his is also an actor, public speaker and thought leader. Nate started out as a relief worker in Sudan, building camps for refugees of the War in Darfur. He then joined the Army, where he served for six years with the Green Beret as a Sergeant and earning a Bronze Star. After he transitioned from the Army, although he had never played a down of organized football in his life, he went to the University of Texas and was a walk-on to their football team. He became the team’s starting long snapper, and played 38 consecutive games for the Longhorns. He was an Academic All-American in 2013-14, Academic All Big 12 from 2011-2014. After Texas, Nate played with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent.

Oh man, where to start with this interview. If you are in need to a shot of jet fuel to your soul, you owe it to yourself to listen to this interview. I want Nate Boyer on repeat during my runs – the man is incredible, and I found our interview inspiring.

The top two reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Failure – Nate has achieved the impossible – repeatedly in his life. He talks about being a grinder, of just working hard to go after his dreams. And he talks about how it’s not about not having fear – it’s about having the courage to realize that there is no downside, that the only risk is not taking an opportunity. There are far too many incredible words of wisdom to summarize here, but believe me – it’s a lesson every single veteran will benefit from hearing.
  2. Passion – Nate talks about how many veterans fall back on what you know. He talks about how tried many things – and failed at many things – in his journey to find his calling and what he enjoys most. Again, these are lessons I found inspiring and hope you do too.

 

Selected Links

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books
  • Conquering Kili Waterboys.org – Nate was cut from the Seahawks and was disappointed. Literally the next day, while trying to think of his next mission, Chris Long (Rams, now NE Patriots) had started a clean water project – Waterboys.org – and reached out to Nate
  • Merging Vets and Players – Nate co-founded this with Jay Glazer to connecting veterans with transitioning professional athletes. These groups face similar challenges – going from a position of sacrifice to a dramatic life shift, the locker room and team environment feel, fighting for the person next to you… there’s a lot each side from learn from the other and share in common.
  • Nate talks about a Shia Labeouf video that’s cheesy but strangely motivational. You can check it out here. This remixed version is even better after you’ve watched the original

Show Notes

  • 2:09 – Nate’s background in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. He served for six years in the Green Beret in the Army and was a walk-on at the University of Texas for their football team.
  • 3:05 – A special disclosure for listeners about my extremely poor background with football
  • 3:47 – How Nate has lived his life in the moment, trying new things and diving in, not being afraid of failure and knowing that you are just as qualified as everyone else out there.
  • 12:58 – How Nate decided to join the Army after spending time volunteering in Darfur
  • 26:14 – How Nate approaches his career now, and advice he has for veterans seeking a career that will make them passionate (hint: it’s about trying new things and not being afraid of failing as you work towards what you want to do. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about you need to try something your’e interested in. Nate tried things he wasn’t interested in, knowing he wasn’t wasting time if he was exploring. If you’re not afraid of what you’re getting into, you probably shouldn’t do it)
  • 32:42 – What resources Nate would recommend to veterans (hint: it all boils down to being open each moment to whatever experience you have, and be open to learning from anyone)
  • 36:31 – an overview of Waterboys.org, and how Nate came to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser from a random connection the day after he was cut from the Seahawks
  • 43:00 An overview of Nate’s venture Merging Vets and Players, and how it came about. It pairs transitioning veterans with transitioning professional athletes, and you’d be surprised at much these two have in common
  • 50: 20 Nate’s final words of wisdom…surprisingly to a motivational video from Shia Labeouf, and how you can seize each moment to make the most of your life