New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Tony Gonzalez

What it Takes to Become the Greatest of All Time


People understand that there will be challenges and fear when they chase their dreams.

But they’re not willing to be embarrassed.

Are you willing to look like a fool? To go all-in and fail?

It’s a guarantee when you go after the thing you want.

You have to keep putting your head out there knowing that it could get chopped off.

The more you face your fears, the more self-confidence you’ll have.

You will fall.

You need to have the grit to use it as fuel to get back up.

On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about relentlessly pursuing your passion with one of the most successful football players in history: Tony Gonzalez.


“The hallmark of Greatness is consistency.” @TonyGonzalez88  

Tony Gonzelez is a Pro Football Hall of Famer, retired All-Pro NFL Tight end, and father of four. He is currently an analyst on Fox NFL’s pregame show. During his career, he only missed two games and lost only two fumbles on 1,327 touches.

Tony is open about his struggles with depression and self-doubt that he might not be good enough. But by working through these emotions, he has come out a more authentic and heart-centered person. 

So get ready to learn how to get into the flow of life on Episode 850.

“Life takes off on the other side of fear.” - @TonyGonzalez88  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • How do you get connected to the heart when there is so much ego? (8:00)
  • When did you experience the most self-doubt? (16:00)
  • How do people stop caring what people think about them? (31:30)
  • Who was the most influential for you growing up? (43:00)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How to get into the flow (6:00)
  • How to use criticism as fuel (20:00)
  • About Tony’s struggle to transition from football to commentary (22:00)
  • An exercise for opening your heart (32:00)
  • About the letters Tony wrote himself before games (35:00)
  • How to parent with your heart (52:00)
  • Plus much more…
Connect with
Tony Gonzalez

Transcript of this Episode

Male Announcer: This is episode number 850 with NFL Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez. 


Lewis Howes: Welcome to the School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur, and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let the class begin.


[background music]


Lewis Howes: Helen Keller said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” I am super excited about this interview with my man Tony Gonzalez. 


We just got back a week ago from The Summit of Greatness and it was the four year anniversary of The Summit of Greatness. An incredible weekend, thousands of people flew in from around the world and I’m so grateful. I’m still on a high reflecting on what that weekend was like. If you enjoyed that weekend, I’ve been seeing so many people posting about it on Instagram and Twitter. It was just a powerful time and it shows me how powerful and inspiring this community is- coming together creating lifelong friendships. People were coming, who had gotten engaged meeting previous years business partnerships, building the seven figure businesses in the last couple of years, so much inspiration. 


So I just want to say thank you for everyone who came and if you haven’t got your ticket for next year, we’ve already sold 2000 tickets in the first week for next year. Go to, check it out. And I can’t wait to get back there and see all of you in person. Just amazing. So thank you guys so much.


I am pumped about my man, Tony Gonzalez. I’ve got to spend some good time with him over the last six months and he’s actually my next door neighbor. He lives about a couple blocks away, and a much nicer home than mine. But he’s just such an inspiration and such a good guy, great husband, great father, and one of the greatest of all time, former NFL tight end, who was just inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. He was a 14 time Pro Bowl selection and holds the NFL record for total receiving yards by a tight end and the second all-time in receptions. 


And following retirement, Tony became an analyst on CBS his NFL pregame show NFL today where he worked until the end of 2016 season and he’s currently an analyst for Fox NFL’s pregame show Big Time, and he’s got a brand new Podcast called Wide Open. He dives deep into conversations with the brightest minds and worlds of business and entertainment to discuss health, wellness and mindset. Make sure to check out Wide Open. 


In today’s interview, we dive in deep as well we go Wide Open, and talking about how Tony stays open with his heart in an ego filled industry and how he differentiates himself by staying in that heart centered space. 


So talk about visualization, discipline and other tools to finding your routine for success. Facing your fears to figure out what you really want in life. The things Tony wishes he had done differently for his team, and how it has transformed him as a leader and a father, and the greatest lessons he’s learned from his wife and his children. We’ve dive into that and so much more. I am super pumped. Make sure to share this with your friends episode number 850. Make sure to text this to one friend posted on your Instagram story and tag Tony Gonzalez as well as I’m sure he’d love to hear your thoughts about this. 


And before we dive in, I want to tell you about one of my favorite apps called Blinkist. Blinkist takes the best key takeaways to the need to know information from thousands of nonfiction books, and condenses them down to just 15 minutes so you can read or listen to it in just a few minutes. Successful people, like business leaders are well known for reading lots of book. You hear that leaders are readers. But now you can condense all that wisdom into 15 minutes. I use Blinkist when I’m driving, when I’m working out, when I’m just taking a walk to meditate during a lunch break. Some of the books that I’ve loved on there’s the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Got The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, all the books you want an all for one low price. And right now for a limited time Blinkist has a special offer just for you. Go to to try for free for seven days and save 25% off your new subscription. That’s to start your free seven day trial. Spelled B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T and you’ll also save 25% off but only when you sign up right now at 


Also a big thank you to our sponsor, Talkspace. Now this is one of the most innovative new apps that I really appreciate because I think it’s helping heal a lot of people is helping people overcome big mental and emotional challenges. Talkspace helps so many different people and especially students right now who don’t have the support they really need at this challenging time in their life. And no students should have to wait to get the support they need with Talkspace student plan. Students can connect with their therapist in less than 24 hours. They’ll choose from a selection of recommended therapists and get started right away so not have to wait for weeks just to see a counselor. And best of all Talkspace lets you access your therapist from anywhere at any time so you never need to wait to share what’s on your mind. This is powerful and can help so many people heal the challenges they have inside their mind. The Talkspace student plan pairs your student with a licensed therapist trained to address the challenges they face. To get started for a fraction of the price of traditional therapy, go to Make sure to use the code GREATNESS to get your first week free and show your support to this show. So make sure to check it out one more time guys. and use the promo code GREATNESS when you check out. 


Again, a big thank you to our sponsors today, and without further ado let’s dive into this episode with the NFL legend Tony Gonzalez.


[background music]


Lewis Howes: Welcome everyone to the School of Greatness Podcast. We’ve got Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez in the house, my man. Good to see you brother. 


Tony Gonzalez: Good to see you. 


Lewis Howes: Super excited about this. We got connected what was it a couple of months ago? A few months ago?


Tony Gonzalez: I don’t know how deep we get connected. I was thinking about that on the way over here.


Lewis Howes : Someone made an email intro it was Katherine Woodward Thomas, I believe. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Lewis Howes: I’m not sure where you met her originally but she had come on the show like years ago and —


Tony Gonzalez: For people out there because Katherine Woodward she does — 


Lewis Howes: She’s a therapist.


Tony Gonzalez: The therapist, yeah. She’s for… 


Lewis Howes: The therapist who does a marriage counseling and things like that I believe still.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: But I remember, I went to a session with her like five years ago.


Tony Gonzalez: Uh-huh.


Lewis Howes: When I was going through a breakup a couple girlfriends ago and trying to figure out what was wrong with me? 


Tony Gonzalez: You like girlfriends, huh? Let’s pray that one thing is right. [laughs]


Lewis Howes: You know it’s finding the right girl for which I think I’ve found right now. So I remember going to her because I was just like, “Am I broken? What’s wrong with me? Why am I attracted these women? What’s, you know? What do I need to work on a minor stuff?” and she was amazing.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, she was great. I’ve met her at a Mindvalley event. 


Lewis Howes: Okay, yeah. She…


Tony Gonzalez: She’s vision lock young.


Lewis Howes: Yeah it’s great.


Tony Gonzalez: And I’ve become friend with him. So anyways, yeah, the whole room was filled with people like her. 


Lewis Howes: It’s amazing people.


Tony Gonzalez: So good to be into that.


Lewis Howes: Yeah, she connected us over email, I guess. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, because she was just talking to me. And so I had seen your stuff before School of Greatness on YouTube.


Lewis Howes: Alright.


Tony Gonzalez: You know, I’m a big YouTube guy. 


Lewis Howes: Sure. 


Tony Gonzalez: And so I’ve been admiring your stuff for a long time. And then it’s funny how you meet somebody and she’s like, “You know, somebody that you kind of remind me of his…”


Lewis Howes: The Big John guy?


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. She goes a little yada, yada. And I go Yeah, yeah. That’s how…


Lewis Howes: Yeah, that’s cool. So we connected over email funnel. I think it came – we met up for lunch, and then it came over your place a few times.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, I use my cold tub. 


Lewis Howes: I did, man, cuz I was trying…


Tony Gonzalez: Then try to come over.  


Lewis Howes: I know. I love that. I’m gonna come over more. You have an amazing place. We have some things in common. You were all American football player.


Tony Gonzalez: Um-hmm.


Lewis Howes: So was I. You went on to play in the NFL, I just played kind of Semi Pro Football arena league. And we’re both over 6’4.


Tony Gonzalez: Both over 6’4.


Lewis Howes: And we both hold football records.


Tony Gonzalez: Really? What records do you have?


Lewis Howes: Well, I mean, I’ve got some school records, a small school that don’t mean anything. You’ve got actual NFL records, but I still hold he record for the most receiving yards in a single game.


Tony Gonzalez: Really, at your high school?


Lewis Howes:  In College.


Tony Gonzalez: In College. 


Lewis Howes: And it was an all division record 418 yards in one game.


Tony Gonzalez: Get the hell out of here. You had 418 yards in one game?


Lewis Howes: Yeah, for 10 years it was, maybe 11 years it was all division record. I don’t think anyone in pro would ever done it or high school or college. And then someone in D2 broke it like four years ago. 


Tony Gonzalez: What the hell did you have 418 in one game?


Lewis Howes: You know what’s crazy? At the end of the game we lost. I scored, we scored, I scored four touchdowns, I scored like a two point conversion. I was kicking field goals and extra points. I was like punting kicking off defense- I was doing everything it was D3. And they had two or three guys on me. And I remember at the end, I was so focused on the loss that I thought I was like, “Yeah, I had a good game. Maybe I had like 150 yards.” And they were like “No, you had 418 yards.” And I was like “Are you sure the stats were messed up?” It was like 17 catches 418 yards. And it was one of those games, I’m sure you’ve had this where I just felt like no one could stop me. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes:  I just said, “Throw me the ball.” I mean every receiver says, Throw me the ball all the time.” 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, yeah.


Lewis Howes: But I was just like in the zone, they had one guy me then two, then on the safer top. And it’s just like it was always perfect placement and —


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: — I just caught the ball.


Tony Gonzalez: And not a good place to be.


Lewis Howes: Its amazing man.


Tony Gonzalez: That’s the place that I tried to get a daily. Can you get into that –?


Lewis Howes: That Zone. 


Tony Gonzalez: Zone? That flow? That heart that whatever, can you do that daily? Is what I’m after? 


Lewis Howes: Still.


Tony Gonzalez: That’s the question I always have for people always. 


Lewis Howes: Still. 


Tony Gonzalez: Always because I felt like that during games.


Lewis Howes: Yeah. How did you get into that? And when did you know that you weren’t into it?


Tony Gonzalez: You get into it, first of all, at each level. You know, as you keep leveling up, you have those type of games. I mean, you’re a kid out there and I remember being back in junior high playing basketball. I was a horrible football player. But in basketball, I was like, “Okay, this is something I can do.” And where you feel unstoppable and you are. You are unstoppable in that moment. And then you level up and then you start getting your ass kicked again, and then you gotta start developing, and then you start kicking ass again, and then you know you keep going up and then when you get to the professional ranks. I didn’t feel like that ever for the first two years of my career. And I’ve talked about the story before where the whole reason why I think I’m the only reason I’m sitting here is because I went through that shitty time after my second year where I led the NFL and drop passes. It was bad. Look at the Hall of Fame speech, if you want to know more about that. But that was kind of my transformation “power of crisis”. You know, as the quote goes.


Lewis Howes: You led the NFL and drop pass.


Tony Gonzalez: Led the NFL drop passes. 


Lewis Howes: You remember how many it was? 


Tony Gonzalez: Sixteen. Oh, yeah, I remember.


Lewis Howes: Sixteen.


Tony Gonzalez: I remember and then forget.


Lewis Howes: [laughs]


Tony Gonzalez: And then I remember my offensive coordinator named Jimmy Raye who’s amazing. A great guy. But that year, he was in front of the whole team, he goes, “Tony Gonzalez, you’ve dropped 16 balls this year and you’ve probably led to 32 missed opportunities for this whole team.” or something like that. He’s like you guys step it up. And that was kind of, you know, that was deep into my depression during that year.


Lewis Howes: In front of everyone.


Tony Gonzalez: In front of everybody, in front of everybody.


Lewis Howes: That’s mean.


Tony Gonzalez: That’s the thing about sports. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: That is so great. Doesn’t matter what sport you but you are in full blast. Where they, I don’t care if you’re in Pop Warner, High School, it doesn’t matter what level. You can be on your rec team at your local YMCA. 


Lewis Howes: Yep.


Tony Gonzalez: It doesn’t lie. I mean –


Lewis Howes: You’ve dropped a ball.


Tony Gonzalez: You’ve dropped a ball, that’s you. And so it’s embarrassing. If you’re the type of person – I mean, there’s guys you can call out thinking, I don’t give a shit. But for me, it meant something to me because I really wanted to be good at it, but I was-I was in the wrong place. I was in my head and I was working my ass off. I was working hard, and I was logical about my approach. I’m like, “Okay, well, I’m gonna go five steps and then cut it in and cut it out.” But you can’t play that way. I mean, when the ball snapped, I think just like anything, when you were playing that game and you had 418 yards, you’re not thinking about the next play. You don’t think about the last play. You’re not thinking about what the crowd thinks, you’re not thinking about your steps. It’s like you’re just going, you’re just going. And for me over the year, I learned how to put myself in that zone, in that flow, where I could get there pretty quickly when I needed to. 


Now, I mean, you’re gonna have bad games but you’ll be consistent if you can get into that state. And that’s one of the proudest things that I am with my career is that I was able to stay… I was consistent. I think that’s the hallmark of greatness.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Its consistency.


Lewis Howes: You missed like two games?


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, I missed two games, but even when I played like, you can count on me that I’m going to catch probably around.


Lewis Howes: A ball.


Tony Gonzalez: 75 to 85 balls a year.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez:  And I’m going to have close to 1000 yards. I’m going to have almost 10 touchdowns, it’s good. Year in and year out, and I knew that. No matter what, that’s what I was going to bring it’s because I was able to get myself into that mental and that heart connection. You know that’s what you have to connect. 


Lewis Howes: How do you get into that after the two years of dropping everything and being humiliated in front of the team and feeling disconnected? How do you get connected to the heart after that in an industry that is all about ego? 


Tony Gonzalez: Well, I think sometimes at least for me, and you probably notice this more me because you’ve been at this game where you’re interviewing these movers and checkers. Majority of people they have that story of just depression that story of like it all went to [****] for me. And where, you know, you stop believing in yourself and you suck and you’re just not good where it can bring you to your knees. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: And that’s what happened to me I was brought to my knees, where I –


Lewis Howes: Literally or figuratively?


Tony Gonzalez: Literally, where… I mean that there’s clips of me dropping another ball and just hitting the earth, the grass out of frustration. And I would go home that night, and I would be crying in my room, drinking a bunch of alcohol, and crying, and just spiraling out of control. And a lot of people maybe they go through it differently. But I think that’s part of the process. I mean, that’s part of you coming face to face with who you really are. And what is it? What are you going to do about it now? And I think from there, that’s how you learn at least that created a real hunger for me to go out and actually study the greater ones, you know, study the people that have had great success, because it leaves clues. I don’t know who quoted that that’s not my original, success leaves clues.


Lewis Howes:  Right. 


Tony Gonzalez: But whoever said that was, it’s wise, because the formula for success is there. But we all have these stories that you can all come in here and I can tell you my story. There’s underlying like, there’s always stories of jealousy, there’s stories of “Okay, I’m not good enough”, the stories of “I don’t have what it takes”, and the self-doubt and all that envy and all that stuff, wrapped up in different stories and that’s just mine. And I was able to start reading books, reading about people’s lives biographies. Then you start reading mind, body and spirit, those type of books I like to read.


Lewis Howes:  Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: And then learn from that. And then you start learning how to use vision, you know, close your eyes. That’s really been, that helped me a lot. Was just getting to where every morning and every night, kind of the first thought on my brain was “Okay, how am I going to get better at what I do?”  Maybe that’s, that’s a feeling of love too of like I love playing football. I don’t love practicing, but I love catching footballs and I fell in love with that. And I fell in love with the process of what it takes to be great. 


And I came up with this routine of success; I called it that that was my routine of success. And I did the numbers; I wish I had them. I should have brought them. But just to put it in perspective, because I fell in love with the sport. Because if you’re not in love with what you do, you’re gonna have to use a lot of discipline. And I always say if you love what you do the need for discipline will disappear. Discipline is great in a lot of areas of life and you need it. But when it comes to what you are doing for a living —


Lewis Howes: You’re excited to go to it.


Tony Gonzalez: You want to be excited. You want to be like, “Okay, yeah, it’s a grind and I’m working my ass off, but where else would I rather be?” And so I went from catching maybe 30 balls a practice, which, as a receiver, you know this. Most guys go out there they’ll catch about 10 balls to warm up. And then throughout practice as a starter if you’re one of the main guys who catches balls on the team, you’ll catch seven balls at the most during practice.


Lewis Howes: Maybe, maybe.


Tony Gonzalez: At the most. 


Lewis Howes: If the play doesn’t fall apart, it really goes your way.


Tony Gonzalez: We’re talking about seven on seven.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: You’re not catching the nine on seven.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: Like you’d really you don’t catch that many ball. And then after practice, everything goes in so I’m catching maybe 30 balls like the rest of the NFL does. Believe it or not, that’s all they catch a day.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: Where I said, you know what, I got to come up with a different routine because Michael Jordan does this. Michael Jordan gets a thousand shots. You know Kobe Bryant gets 3000 makes, makes not shots, makes.


Lewis Howes: Three thousand makes a day?  That’s something crazy, right?


Tony Gonzalez: That’s what I’ve read.


Lewis Howes: Wow. 


Tony Gonzalez: You know, you see, like I said those – you want to be a Jerry Rice. This is what Je — I started studying Jerry Rice routine.


Lewis Howes: Yeah, that’s like freak.


Tony Gonzalez: I mean like holy shit, these guys are putting in overtime. And, but you have to love what you do in order to do that. Otherwise you’ll quit. You’ll do, I’ve had guys that watch me, and they’re like “Ah, I wanna do what you do.” and they quit. They’ll do it for about two, three weeks. It’s because they haven’t fallen in love with some aspect of the game. And if you don’t do that, you won’t do it. So I got 30 balls, I went from catching 30 balls a day to now catching probably 300 balls a practice.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: And you add that up. And the difference I did it over my career, I remember this number is somewhere around this number. If after that 30 or so 15 years, I played 17 years after that, going from my third year to the end of my career, if I would have kept doing the routine that I did before, I would have caught 20,000 balls over my career. That’s including practice, and then games or whatever, who knows?


Lewis Howes:  At 30 balls a day?


Tony Gonzalez: At 30 balls a day. The way I did it now since I’m catching 300 over the four days a week or whatever it is in don’t – I have the numbers so people out there are like “That math doesn’t add up. Math’s not my strong suit.” But I did it. It was like 245,000 balls of count. 


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: So you just do the math $20,000 to $240,000 balls caught over in a 15 year span. 


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: That’s what will make you a Hall of Famer.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: But let’s not just not fool ourselves, you won’t do that if you’re not in love with your sport, and you’re not doing the vision, the confidence of closing your eyes, putting yourself in that game, speed, that that smell the grass. Looking up at the crowd, seeing the happiness for my coaches like I would do this before I even played the game. I do see my kids and I have four kids. And I do guided meditations and I’ve seen a result like —


Lewis Howes: It’s amazing.


Tony Gonzalez: It changes everything when you play the game in your head before you go out there. But it has to come from your heart. And I try to open my heart when I do these visionary exercises, or meditations or whatever you want to call it because that’s the most powerful thing on your body. That’s what your coach always says, “Get your head out of your ass and get your head out – like get out of your mind.”


Lewis Howes: Yeah, yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: You’re doing your mind and play with heart.


Lewis Howes: And play with heart.


Tony Gonzalez: And that’s what that means. And that’s when you can get to that point and there’s plenty of ways to do it. I have my ways. And it’s like, everything takes off.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Everything takes off. 


Lewis Howes: Do you think you’d be in a Hall of Famer if you just stuck to 30 balls a day?


Tony Gonzalez: No, no.


Lewis Howes: Because people would say, well, you’re so talented, you’re 6’5 you’re 250 pounds, you’ve got the natural athletic ability. You don’t think you would have made it?


Tony Gonzalez: No, I well, judging off that year, I mean, I dropped all those balls doing it that way.


Lewis Howes: Right.


Tony Gonzalez: And like I said, let’s stop mistake. Don’t act like I wasn’t that guy was out partying and chasing girls and stuff like that. I mean, I did a little bit that but I was in control.

It wasn’t your lack–


Lewis Howes: You were disciplined, you were showing up.


Tony Gonzalez: I was disciplined. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t because I wasn’t working hard. I worked hard as soon as practice started. You know, for that two hours, I got there and bust my ass. Just like the rest of the guys on the team. But I didn’t do anything before that and I’d do anything after that. It was like that was it and then I go home and I’d be back in my regular space where you can’t do that. It doesn’t work that way. 


Lewis Howes: It might get you in the league. It’s not going to help you excel, in your league, whatever industry or business your in.


Tony Gonzalez: Whatever industry or business, talent is – they say it, “Talent is overrated in it.” And it really is. Don’t get me wrong you need some talent in pick what you’re good at. But if you want to be an excellent, you want to be a mover and shaker, you want to be somebody that that has a legacy at what you do, if that’s important to you, this is the way to do it.


Lewis Howes: When after that third year when did you face the most self-doubt?


Tony Gonzalez: Honestly after that self-doubt never got in again. 


Lewis Howes: Wow, really? 


Tony Gonzalez: Never on the football field. Like I said I was gonna go out there, it was all routine now.


Lewis Howes: Hey, big games Monday night games, play-off, nothing?


Tony Gonzalez: Never ever, ever. In fact, the bigger the game the more honed in I got my better games came when the stakes got brighter and bigger. In fact, you’ll go from a point where now when the games you’re supposed to win the love of the competition is not as high, that’s what you have to concentrate on. 


Lewis Howes: Oh yeah, because you bring your game down.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, you don’t want to bring your game down you have to excel. And I think it’s all routine and just that Michael Jordan, Koby, Richard Branson, Michael Jackson, he was another. I mean, I could show you clips from Michael Jackson, where he’s like, I don’t know where it comes from. He’ll tell you and that’s how it is you feel like that as an athlete, like you’re just out there in that flow. It’s just flowing through you. 


And I remember Michael Jackson, they were interviewing some of his dancers and they were talking about Michael’s how he prepares for each show. And they were saying, Oh, Mike, they would rehearse until two and three o’clock in the morning. They start around six o’clock at night and go till two three in the morning, the same routine, the same routine.


Lewis Howes: Over and over again.


Tony Gonzalez: Over and over. And then they know they got it. And then Michael back, “Come on man, let’s just do one more, let’s just do this one more.” and I remember going “Wow”. And Michael even explain he’s on, you’d just love it. Like this is, now you are way, and the hard part is finding that, is finding that passion, finding that love. But I believe, especially for young people, if you just got to keep putting your head out there and be willing to get it chopped off because it’s going to come.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: I wrote a letter to my kids at the Hall of Fame. That the critics are common, the pain is common. There’s no, you have to go through that. That’s where beauty is, or the fear. And I always talk about that, like life takes off on the other side of fear. And you have to be able to willing to sit there in it and ride that wave. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. When you started to get criticized a lot for maybe those first few years, and I’m sure you got criticized from the next 15 years after that for certain things. How did you face the judgment to critiques? The, you know, he’s washed up or whatever they you know, different ages, you know.


Tony Gonzalez: I love it. I mean, that’s all fuel. When people tell you that you can’t do something, for me the way you take that say, “Okay, well, I guess I gotta show you that I can do it.” And when that self-doubt comes, I got into a good place, a good rhythm where for football that don’t matter. Now, I’m sure we’ll get to it. Now, the transition after I get done playing, that’s where all that self-doubt comes back, and that fear comes back, and the anxiety it all come, it came back to me.


Lewis Howes: Do you feel that right after you retired? 


Tony Gonzalez: You feel that? Yeah, right after retired. And I had a job. I had I mean, I went straight into working for CBS.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Being on national television to Mendes that every job, that every player who wants to be television ones. But I had to go through the same thing again. I got beat to my knees again. 


Lewis Howes: Really?


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: How so?


Tony Gonzalez: I remember. I was after my third year working for CBS, and I loved it over there.


Lewis Howes: I’m seeing a theme here three years.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, it’s funny. It’s funny, the same thing when I was younger to, two years of popular football, and finally took off my third year in freshman year, three. But I was, I made the transition and worked for CBS. I’m on the main desk, my contract is coming up and I loved working there. It was Shot Out in New York, but I did not like getting on plane going back and forth. And even more than that, I wasn’t giving them everything that I could give them. Not because I wasn’t trying either. I was trying to work my ass off.


Lewis Howes: Meaning what weren’t you in there?


Tony Gonzalez: Meaning I wasn’t coming from a place of in my heart. I wasn’t like on the football field. That flow never happened for me when I was over at CBS.

Lewis Howes: It was kind of a little bit forced here and there or yeah.


Lewis Howes: It’s forced. It was in my head the whole time. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Like hey, well if I say this joke here, and I punch it with this word, then it’s going to get a laugh or when I’m talking about, you know, Rob Gronkowski running his routes, I’m going to talk about it from this angle and you can do all that. But if it’s not here, it comes off as rehearsed. It’s not a good performance. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: Your performance it’s just not good. And it doesn’t feel good to me. That sucks. I was having some anxiety before shows.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: Nervous. And now, I don’t want to feel that way.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: I mean, I, don’t get me wrong, you’re gonna have that that excitedness. I mean, you need to have a little bit abs run faster, that helps you perform better. You want a little butterflies. But mine was from fear. I was so scared that I was going to screw up every time and scared of showing who I really am because what if that’s not good enough. And so you work your ass off trying to do it funny or to do it without stuttering or whatever it is. I mean, got a lot of I struggled to just watch players that make that transition TV.


Lewis Howes: Struggle.


Tony Gonzalez: It is hard because you have to show who you are. You have to put everything out there just like you’re on a football field, like I’m talking to you right now, whatever. I don’t care if you’re a doctor, your lawyer, your construction worker. It’s hard to let everybody see who you really are. 


Lewis Howes: It’s even harder because it’s your singular voice and you on a camera maybe with one or two other guys or girls, as opposed to a whole team, you know, 20 something people on a field being criticized. You can’t hide as much.


Tony Gonzalez: You can’t.


Lewis Howes:  On camera, right? 


Tony Gonzalez: Now, you can hide it all they’re picking up everything.


Lewis Howes: You can hide your voice. Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez:  You can have –


Lewis Howes: You can have to speak on the field, but you just, you know, you just use your talents. 


Tony Gonzalez: And that’s where a lot of people it’s like, well on the football field I can do I can just be physical. But here I gotta use my mind now and I got, you want it to be entertaining, and you want to say something good and something profound. But that talk right there, it’s like shut up, just shut up and go and just to speak, just talk, you know, this game. And that’s what I would tell all these guys and they gave me this guy that I had to work with. I’m not gonna say his name, but it just wasn’t for me because it just puts you more in your head. And maybe you have to go through that. But I remember I was, it hit me. I was sitting. We’re on vacation in Spain, just me and my wife sitting in a courtyard in a cafe. She starts talking about the contract negotiations with CBS and I’m almost done with my contract negotiation, and I’m going to negotiate another three years. 


Lewis Howes: Wow. 


Tony Gonzalez: But I kind of don’t want to be there. And I never told her, I never told my management team or anybody else. And I’m sitting there and the wife saw, yeah, so you got to be pretty happy with it. It was a good deal they offer me. And I’m like, yeah, yeah. And then I was –


Lewis Howes: Good money, great deal, yeah?


Tony Gonzalez: And all of a sudden, this wave of just fear came over me like my body started getting cold and I start sweating, but at the same time, sweating. And I had like, I don’t know if it’s a nervous breakdown, but I was like, “Oh, shit.” And it was the feeling of fear, just like absolute fear. And the thought came into my head that, “What if I, Pete? What if the best of me is over?” And that’s a scary feeling to be in?


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: I did not like that. And I started I started crying. And she’s like, “What’s wrong?” In the middle of this pain and I’m not bawling. But I started tearing up and I’m like, and she’s all,  “I just don’t know, over the last three years I have not felt how I felt that aliveness, that excitement. I haven’t felt it in three years.”


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: For what I do, because and this is a lot of football players go through this.


Lewis Howes: Lot of it, pro athletes.


Tony Gonzalez: Pro athletes. 


Lewis Howes: People transitioning into the next stage of life. Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: Anybody transitioning in because I’ve talked about that. I’ve told that story before in front of groups. And after the show, I’ve had men come up to me with tears in their eyes and they’re like, I felt that same way. I had a company that it was successful for 10 years. And then I made the transition out because I wanted something new. I was…


Lewis Howes: Even if you sell a company for a hundred million or whatever, it’s like now what?


Tony Gonzalez: Where do you, and how do you get back and then you doubt yourself, you’re like, “I’ll never be great again, like I was on the foot.” And obviously, I had a great career. That’s like a Hall of Fame career and you’re like, so now I never get to experience that again.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: And I’m 40 years old at this time. And I’m like, I got 40 more years to live, 50 more years to live and I’m going to be talking about football games talking about old back.


Lewis Howes: Thirty years from now. Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: I can, it was.


Lewis Howes: The glory days. 


Tony Gonzalez: It was a scary feeling in, but I’m glad that happened. Because off of that, I called up my manager, Constance Schwartz and I called up my agent, my Television agent, Jim Ornstein and I said, “Hey guys, I think I don’t want to..” They’re like “Yeah, it’s a good deal at go over all movie negotiating back and forth. It’s over.” And they’re like, I think I’m thinking of having second thoughts. I don’t wanna do it.” And they’re both like “Shut up.” Yeah, right.


Lewis Howes: Right. 


Tony Gonzalez: And then my agent was like, “This is mistake. I mean these jobs don’t come along and you’re not gonna get a job at Fox.” I mean, that’s Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jaime and-


Lewis Howes: Strahan.


Tony Gonzalez: And Strahan, like, it’s there’s no room over there. And I mean, what are you going to do? And I said, “I don’t know. But I cannot do this. I cannot live like this. I’m so tired of being afraid, being afraid when I’m on air. I’m tired of you know with my kids, because that was getting to me, you know, flying back and forth in New York for 26 weeks a year. From LA, that’s that’s a long hike. And I was like “I’m out.” I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I got it, something’s going to work. And that really changed my life. That was like, another Pinnacle moment in my life that I could either go this way, or I can go that way.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: And I was like, I’m going that way. I’m going to go to the road, that I don’t want the shear thing. You know, I had people close to me; the loved ones are like you’re, are you a fool? Like you can’t, you can’t walk away from that. I’m like, well, “Someone’s going to work.” And that’s where the phrase life takes off on the other side of fear. I was like, I am afraid right now. There’s no doubt about it. This is scary.


But I believe that’s where the good stuff is. That’s where the gold is. That’s where the diamonds are made. That’s where you will achieve greatness. If you go up to what you’re afraid of, but you know, in your heart, you have to do but you go anyway.


I’m not talking about skydiving, if that scares the shit out of you and you’re like, I don’t want to, but that’s on your heart anyway, you don’t want to do that and it scares you. I’m talking about the stuff that you want to do but you’re scared to do, but you feel it. That’s where you got to go. And that’s where you got to have the cojones or whatever you want to call it, the moxie, the balls, whatever you want to call it, you got to have that and go through that. And there’s steps out there, and there’s people that will help you if you just ask for help. And there’s books, and there’s School of Greatness podcast, there’s wide open on [crosstalk]


Lewis Howes: Wide Open, baby.


Tony Gonzalez: My podcasts, there’s, it’s all over the place, it’s all around you. And the only thing that’s stopping you is that fear, and just go for it because that’s where the beauty is.


Lewis Howes: You know, I love that story. And I think it’s so hard. I think people understand that there’s going to be challenges and fear that they’re gonna have to face to have what they want. And I don’t think they’re willing to be that embarrassed or emotionally like insecure through being dropped to their knees because either way, you’ve got to drop to your knees. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: You’ve got to fail. You’ve got to look like an idiot or, you know, make fun of yourself or something’s got to happen where you don’t look good.  


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: When you go after the thing you want, right?


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: Like, you’re gonna not look good. People gonna make fun of you, they’re gonna criticize you.


Tony Gonzalez: People – and sometimes the people that are criticizing you are your closest.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Relatives, your loved ones, your husband, your wife, just and it’s done out of love too they’re like looking out for you. 


Lewis Howes: So how do people manage that emotionally internally, knowing that they’re going to face criticism, judgment, embarrassment, and being laughed at when they go after what they really want? 


Tony Gonzalez: Well I think –the greatest thing is to understand that it is coming.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: So you’re not shocked. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: Okay. Just know that those roadblocks are coming and embrace it. And that’s where I always say, “Close your eyes. Calm your breathing down.” This is what I did on the football field. And this is what has dawned on me over the last couple of weeks, is you already know how to do this at least for me. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: And if you haven’t learned, this is a great technique for me is you close your eyes, slow your breathing down, relax every part of your body, do it one at a time. And then you open your heart up. And you say that, “I am opening my heart.” Because when you’re in your heart, there is no fear of judgment. There is purpose, there is authenticity. Time will stand still when you’re in your heart. And now you’ve opened up your heart now, it says love, peace, joy, just whatever you that’s what that means to me. And that’s unshakable confidence in there, too. And then you put in the vision of whatever it is that you want to do. See the highest version of yourself; see yourself dominating at what you do. See yourself in the moment, saying the greatest thing that needs to be said if you’re a person who’s a personality on TV or whatever it is, or making the right business deal.


Lewis Howes: Or making the catch.


Tony Gonzalez: Or making the catch, and see that the happiness that gives you, the happiness that gives the people around you, see yourself enjoying every aspect the highest version of yourself, the greatest version of yourself. And to me that takes first of all, I can take five minutes or 20 minutes, whatever you want to do, but at least the very least, it’s only takes five minutes. It’s a great way to calm yourself and breathe.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: When you breathe slowly, deep breaths, you send a message of calmness to your body. When you’re reading fast and out of control that’s why I look at teammates and all this stuff. It’s like, just watch Tom Brady in the fourth quarter zone.


Lewis Howes: He’s relaxed.


Tony Gonzalez: They call it poise, whatever it is. In the poise, what poise means to stand in the pocket. He’s just breathing slowly and he’s calm and he’s fearless in that moment, and that’s what you have to have. You have to be fearless. And it’s who cares what people think. Tell yourself that I got what it takes. I got this. Over and over and over again repetition and they’re proven this now with studies, meditation clinics, like self-talk is huge.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: It’s huge. And it works wonders. And then go out there and learn from the greats like I said, just YouTube it.


Lewis Howes: That’s it man, so much easier now to learn these things because it’s so available than when you were growing up probably, right?


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: I remember I had like, one CD from some weird, like, doctor or psychologist that no one was really studying. And I was just like, grabbing onto anything I could find. But now that stuff’s everywhere.


Tony Gonzalez: It’s everywhere.


Lewis Howes:  And it’s accessible. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: But there’s much more judgment and criticism than ever because everyone’s online with a voice. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: You know, and everyone can judge you online now as opposed to just at your school or in your company or at your work or something. 


Tony Gonzalez: But my thing is, who gives the [****]? 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: I don’t care.


Lewis Howes: How do people get to a place of not caring? 


Tony Gonzalez: That’s a practice. 


Lewis Howes: That’s a lot of people care about what other people how they judge them. 


Tony Gonzalez: I was that person too. I have been that person. 


Lewis Howes: So how did you get from caring to not caring?


Tony Gonzalez: And those are the people that are in their head, and that’s me. I’m in the head type guy. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah, yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: And you gotta get out of your head. And like we said the coach says, “Play with your heart.” But, and that’s what that means. I mean, you’re seeing a theme now for me talking about this. But if you’re a person who’s in your head, you have to work now. And just like anything else is like catching a football or doing a jump shot, or doing a presentation, the more you do it, experience, experience is going to make you better, but the way you accelerate that experience into knowledge and wisdom is by letting go of what people think, and letting go with what you think like really trying to put yourself in that flow, in that spirit of calmness, that that’s how you do and takes time. You’re not going to more than likely there’s people that have that overnight realization. And that is usually is they call that The Transformative Power Of Crisis going to write a great book a long time ago and they, and you can get there, you can do it, maybe you can do it in one night with you people talk about psychedelics. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: You talked about journeys, talking about ayahuasca, you talk about much psilocybin. 


Lewis Howes:  They deep meditation.


Tony Gonzalez: Deep meditation could do it, the rhythmic dancing, rhythmic breathing, there’s places to —


Lewis Howes: Chanting, whenever you —


Tony Gonzalez: Chanting whatever —


Lewis Howes: Sweat lodges. [laughs]


Tony Gonzalez: Sweat lodges, all that stuff. And there’s ways to do it. But ultimately, I think if you set the goal you write it down, I believe in writing down all my stuff. And you see it every day, you read from that every day; you give yourself a blueprint for success that you wrote to yourself. I write myself. I used to write letters to myself the night before game.


Lewis Howes: So that’s big.


Tony Gonzalez: Used to write a whole letter like, “You’re here they’re doubting you.” When I used to write they’re getting you’re getting old. You know, they’re going to be ready for you. You know, you’re going to be double teams tomorrow but you got this because you’re one of the greatest. And you’re one of the greatest that’s ever lived, ever make this game.


Lewis Howes: Give me chills now. Let’s go.


Tony Gonzalez: And so I’m writing this to myself. To my – this is from me, to me.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: And —


Lewis Howes: Did you read it later or would you just…


Tony Gonzalez: I’d read it. It would be on my notes for the week. So I’m sometimes I’d write that the beginning of the week when we get in there on Wednesday morning and I’d read it all week. And I would back I want six catches. I want two touchdowns. I want 125 yards. So whatever it is that’s my goal. If I don’t get it, I don’t care. 


Lewis Howes: Right. 


Tony Gonzalez: But that’s what I’m going for.


Lewis Howes: That’s your focuses.


Tony Gonzalez: And I want to break out 90%. So, I do believe that when it comes to abundance training, or greatness training, whatever it is, write out, write where you want to be. Write out what your goals are and then when you hit those goals, then it’s time to reset it, “Baby, let’s go. Let’s keep climbing. Let’s keep leveling up.” And let’s keep me you know, and in every aspect of your life, it’s not just work. I mean, that’s just a piece of the pie. 


Lewis Howes: Pie, right.


Tony Gonzalez: It’s a good piece, but you got to do that with your relationships. And that’s where I’ve missed the mark too before you know, you gotta do that with your kids. You gotta do that with strangers on the street, just looking people in the eye and connecting. It’s so much more fun to be there. And the only reason you’re not doing it, the only reason you’re not doing it because you’re afraid of something. You’re afraid to talk to the neighbor or you’re afraid to to open yourself up to people. But the way you get out of that, if you want to get out of that, some people might be comfortable where they are. And go ahead if that’s comfortable you’re at as long as you’re not hurting anybody. I don’t have a problem with you.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: But if you do want to get out of that, which I think most people do, that they’re that’s how you do it. Just set the goal and then practice every single day. Practice with the person in the elevator, say hello.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: You know, you want to put yourself in fearful situations. 


Lewis Howes: Yep. 


Tony Gonzalez: And go through it. Just keep putting yourself in those fearful situations. And you’ll keep leveling up I promise you. There’s no doubt in my mind, it’s already been proved. 


Lewis Howes: I now, this is – a I’m writing a new book about Eliminating Self-Doubt. And I think self-doubt comes from people that aren’t willing to put themselves through enough fear.


Tony Gonzalez: Um-hmm.


Lewis Howes: Just like you said, you’re saying everything that I’m talking about in my book where, I tell people to give yourself a 30-day challenge of whatever the thing you’re most embarrassed or insecure about and do that thing every day. Whether it is talking to the person in the elevator every day or talking to a stranger you would never talk to, but you got to do it over and over until the fear disappears. 


Tony Gonzalez: Just like anything else. It’s a jump shot.


Lewis Howes: That’s it, man.


Tony Gonzalez: It’s a jumpshot.


Lewis Howes: When you get past that fear. You go to the next one.


Tony Gonzalez: Yup.


Lewis Howes: You just keep doing it. You kind of bulletproof the more of those fears that you overcome. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: I think that’s the key.


Tony Gonzalez: I jumped out of a plane. 


Lewis Howes: That’s scary.


Tony Gonzalez: Last year.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Not last year. 


Lewis Howes: Maybe I’ll wait till I’m 40 or something and then I wilI do that. 


Tony Gonzalez: Do you want to do it though?


Lewis Howes: I don’t care to do it. 


Tony Gonzalez: Okay, well, then you probably shouldn’t do it.


Lewis Howes: Yeah, I don’t care.


Tony Gonzalez: But for me, I’ve always wanted to jump out of the plane.


Lewis Howes: Okay.


Tony Gonzalez: I wanted to do a parachute. But I’m scared. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: What if I no… you know. And so I finally did it. The opportunity came up. And I was like,


Lewis Howes: Really terrified?


Tony Gonzalez: I was at first I said, No, and then I thought about it. I said, you know, I gotta do this. I got to do this. Yeah, I could die but more like I’m not going to.


Lewis Howes: Sure. 


Tony Gonzalez: But anyway, long story short, you’re flying up there. The hardest part about jumping out of a plane is you’re scared the whole time you’re nervous and anxiety and all that stuff. But when they, when you’re up at 13,000 feet, whatever it is, and then they open that door.


Lewis Howes: Oh my gosh, red, that’s crazy.


Tony Gonzalez: You’re like I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid to jump out of a damn plane like this about to happen. 


Lewis Howes: Wow. 


Tony Gonzalez: And you’re scared. My heart was going so fast. And I was the first one out. 


Lewis Howes: Oh man. 


Tony Gonzalez: Of which I’m glad. I was like –


Lewis Howes: I don’t want watch other people waiting. [laughter] Send me back down.


Tony Gonzalez: Send me back down. And I was like, “Screw it, let’s go.” And you jump out and by the way, when you do go through that fear, you always find out that it’s not as bad as you thought it was going to be. And the cool thing of that, I did with the Golden Knights, which are experts at this.


Lewis Howes: Right.


Tony Gonzalez: And they’re jumping in and some guy jumps out, and he’s videotaping you. And he’s looking the whole time. And he starts doing this, like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.” I’m like, “You’re right. Yeah yeah, yeah.” I’m enjoying it. And I’m jumping out. But when I got to the bottom of that, when I landed, and I got on the earth.


Lewis Howes: Safe.


Tony Gonzalez: Safe and sound, I was – that something clicked in me that I was like, I got this because this I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life and I was scared to do this. And I did it and it really changed my life. Like I was like, I think everybody needs a mandatory.


Lewis Howes: Oh man.


Tony Gonzalez: Jump out of a plane. You talking about facing your fear. Most people are probably scared to do that. But it was exhilarating. It was Awesome. Would I do it again? Maybe? I’ll tell you right now, probably not but because I already did it once. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: But maybe I’d do it again. I’m telling you.


Lewis Howes: What opened up for you after that what change you?


Tony Gonzalez: I felt like I could do anything. I remember I walked in the room with all the guys because they’re at the Air Force Base was for Fox.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: And I remember, they’re like, “How was it? How was it?” and Michael Strahan with-


Lewis Howes: Did he go with you?


Tony Gonzalez: No, he didn’t go. He said he could go. He said he wanted to go he could go. And I said, “Man, I feel like I can do anything. I feel like I can honestly I feel like I can do anything.” And he’s like, “Alright do a backflip.” and I’m like, “Well, that doesn’t count cuz I don’t want to do a backflip.”


Lewis Howes: Right. Right. Anything you wanna do.


Tony Gonzalez: But I mean like you really feel I can accomplish anything because that’s all it is. Like I said it and that’s why I add whatever you’re afraid of what you did, what you want to do, you feel like a calling to do it, but you’re afraid to do it that’s probably, that’s your life. That’s life giving you that clue. But that’s a little push right there. 


Lewis Howes: That’s where you should go. 


Tony Gonzalez: That’s where you should go.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: That’s where you belong, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s quitting your job and saying, “You know what, I’ve been there for seven, eight years, and I’m getting a little tired of it. I would love to go over to do this for a living but I’m scared.” Because, you know, I got a family and I know there’s good excuses. 


Lewis Howes: Of course. I got kids.


Tony Gonzalez: I got kids; I got family, that’d be irresponsible of me. But I’m telling you, I do believe that that’s you need to make a plan. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Because you’ll be so proud of yourself. And yeah, there is that danger of it not working.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: But imagine the feeling to see yourself see it working for you. And that might not be what you ultimately want. I wanted to be an actor. You know, when I first got that plane.


Lewis Howes: Right.


Tony Gonzalez: And you talk about humiliating. Try auditioning.


Lewis Howes: [laughs] Oh, man. I get rejected over and over again.


Tony Gonzalez: Over and over. Over and over again. It that brought me to my knees, that was another. 


Lewis Howes: Wow. 


Tony Gonzalez: Literally, I was like, “Oh, this hurts.” 


Lewis Howes: Yeah, you’re so used to be in the man, the guy. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: The stud, the all-star, the all pro whatever. But now there’s like, okay, you’re one of a hundred coming through audition, and we don’t care. 


Tony Gonzalez: And the way to get good at it. 


Lewis Howes: And your name isn’t good enough for us.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. They don’t care about your name. Talking about who cares?


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: We gotta make money on this movie. And if you suck, you suck. And so that’s another lesson that that it taught me that you have to get out of your head. Because I was one of those guys I’d studied the script, and I look at it, and I go over and I’m like, Okay, well, I’m gonna, when it comes to when it says legends, I’m going to say, “Legends.” You know, and this and this, and then you rehearse it, rehearse, rehearse, it’s like giving a speech. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: That’s read. This is why I don’t like reading speeches. People are like for the Hall of Fame. They’re like, “Hey, we need your speech we need” I’m like, Well, too bad. I’m not I’m not rewriting. 


Lewis Howes: Not writing enough it…


Tony Gonzalez: And Its going to come from here. Because I believe when you can learn it, and you can perfect a performance, and I was doing that with acting. And then I’d go in there and I get crushed. Because at the moment you missed that rehearsed, like, you start getting in your head, you’re like, “Well, I didn’t say that, right.” That’s not how that didn’t sound like that in rehearsal. And now [crosstalk]


Lewis Howes: Give it a tight; you give it a tighter-


Tony Gonzalez: Give it a tight. Now you start now you’re thinking about that in the past, instead of think about the future, where true acting or true performing in anything, you’re whether you’re a doctor, whether you’re a singer or athlete. The good stuff comes when you’re completely in the moment. And you’re not thinking about the past the future. I’ve already said this.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: And then the ad lib that comes off of that. When you’re in the moment, if you get an impulse, you just go with it. That’s what Leonardo DiCaprio .


Lewis Howes: The Improv, yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, The Improv that’s in football. It would be boring to watch. Okay, Tony, you’re gonna go 10 yards and turn out. And I want you to catch it. And then more likely, they’ll tackle you right there. I don’t think fans would they would like “Ahh. So, okay, yeah, it’s fun.” Cool, but you want to see me okay. When I got to the top of that route, the defender was waiting there. So I had to do come up and come underneath and you’re not thinking this.


Lewis Howes: You’re just reacting. 


Tony Gonzalez: Some people, a lot of athletes do think this and that’s where they’re not as good, but you’re just reacting now and then when you catch the ball, okay, now you gotta move and now you got to start adlibbing. You got to start that’s where the beauty comes in. The people that can ad lib the best are the people that are in their heart and those are the ones that make the performance. That’s Michael Jordan when he goes up for the dunk. He’s like, Uh-oh, you know what, I’m gonna switch it and I’m gonna put it right here now. 


Lewis Howes: So clean. 


Tony Gonzalez: And that’s when we, as fans are like, Whoa! It’s the ad lib; it’s the ad lib where the magic happens. 


Lewis Howes: That’s true. 


Tony Gonzalez: So that’s you and the only way you’ll get there is if you’re completely in the moment, and you can train yourself to get into that flow.


Lewis Howes: Yeah. And that takes doing a lots of reps over and over again.


Tony Gonzalez: Experience.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Experience are the best teacher.


Lewis Howes: Yeah, a lots of reps. Now success leaves clues you said someone else said, but for me, that means that you had a lot of great insights growing up. There was someone or someone who taught you. And maybe it was coaches or teachers or parents, friends. Who was the most influential for you growing up and what was the greatest lesson they taught you? 


Tony Gonzalez: Okay, before I answer that, by the way, Jared Pobre, a buddy of mine who’s a successful business, he’s one who told me success leaves clues. 


Lewis Howes: Okay. 


Tony Gonzalez: I’m having dinner with him tomorrow night. I’m going to go where did you get that?


Lewis Howes: Yeah, exactly.


Tony Gonzalez: Because I copied you unknowingly but you know he said. But the people that affected me the most is my mother.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: Probably she is the rock of my life.  And the more I look at this woman, I see you talk about example living with your heart. Because my mom doesn’t you know, she’s not the most – how do I say this? Scholastic person or whatever it is, I know. Don’t get me wrong, smart woman.


Lewis Howes: Academic.


Tony Gonzalez: Academic, yeah. That’s a better word. But she is all this.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: You know, me growing up, I have three adopted brothers, because of my mom’s heart. Like she brings people in, you know, I remember we moved around a lot. We didn’t have a lot of money. We weren’t poor. We just didn’t have a lot of money. I think there’s a difference there. I always felt like we were good even though we were on welfare at times. But she is somebody that takes no [****] from anybody. She stands up for what she believes in, and she’ll love you fully like the best hugs, hugs and kisses. She was like a, you know, masculine and female perfect into one woman. And so she is somebody that will tell me the truth, always from her, but I’m not saying she’s right either. 


Lewis Howes: Right, right, hard truth, hard truth.


Tony Gonzalez: Even about their moms know what I’m talking about. And you need somebody like that in your life and so she’s really, really helped me. And then my brother Chris, my older brother Chris, he’s one who got me started in football. I will say this that we haven’t had a relationship in five years, but doesn’t take away the fact what he did for me when I was younger, really getting me in football and get me into that mindset of what it takes to be great on a football field. 


Lewis Howes: What was the best lesson that he taught you?


Tony Gonzalez: Really the consistency I think and the understanding that people are coming for you. And when you get on top, you know-


Lewis Howes: They’re coming even more.


Tony Gonzalez: The tall poppy syndrome or whatever,


Lewis Howes: Yeah, yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: They’re coming for you and so you better make sure that you’re taking care of business because you can’t relax. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I went all over the world. And I went out and have fun. And I was single for a while, and I was doing all the things that single men do, unapologetically, you know, and having a good time, but at the same time, when it comes time to lock in, you know, it’s an expression in football lock and lock out. You know, it’s time to get to work and so he really helped me out with that.


Lewis Howes: Yeah. And the greatest lesson your mom taught you was that? 


Tony Gonzalez: I don’t know if she ever, she’s not the type to give you like okay –


Lewis Howes: But what was the thing that you have learned? 


Tony Gonzalez: There is no [crosstalk] 


Lewis Howes: Yeah, but what was maybe the lesson you learn from her experience or her well-being?


Tony Gonzalez: I think you just really letting it hang out without carrying in. And really, it’s come into picture for me lately. 


Lewis Howes: Really? How so? 


Tony Gonzalez: Really lately. I don’t know. It just over the last few weeks, I’ve just had some a couple realizations about stuff that I already knew, and stuff that I’ve done before, but really being cognizant of it. And I see that example a lot in my mom. I think she is so free, does not care what anybody thinks. And she’s, she’ll stand up for what she believes in. And I’ve been afraid to do that at times, I was afraid – I’ll be talking about what would I have changed or what I went through as a football player. One thing that I really wish that I could have done more of, is not been so afraid to be a leader to my teammates, I could have been a better leader for them. I could have spoke up more. I could help my coaches out more. But the only reason I didn’t do that is because I was afraid that nobody would even listen to me. It’s kinda like me starting to podcast now. Like, where the reason I would never have wanted to do this before is because like, “Who the hell am I? Who am I to say…?” 


Lewis Howes: You’re Tony Gonzalez, Hall of Famer man.


Tony Gonzalez: I know.

Lewis Howes: Like It’s tied in of all time.


Tony Gonzalez: It shows you how insecure I was with everything. And I was like this as a player. I mean, and that’s probably that also gave me an edge to…


Lewis Howes: To work harder. 


Tony Gonzalez: To keep working harder and to keep proving everybody wrong and it keeps going. I am I belong here. I belong here. You know, you went to five Pro Bowls now. Well, I got to go to six. Say I gotta go to seven. It just kept adding up. Then I got 14. And I’m in. 


Lewis Howes: You missed a few.


Tony Gonzalez: I missed a few. [chuckles]


Lewis Howes: You’re not good enough. 


Tony Gonzalez: You’re not good enough. You’re not good enough.


Lewis Howes: What’s the record of Pro Bowls?


Tony Gonzalez: That right there is tied? Well, I had the most at the time when I retired.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: But I think Payton has 14 as well, which is good company. So yeah, it’s my mothe really put that in me that you just need to. She just laughs, she danced, she can’t dance. I can’t dance. But she’ll dance.


Lewis Howes: She doesn’t care how she looks. 


Tony Gonzalez: Me I’ll sit on the sideline. I used to. But now I’m getting to the point where you know what I’m gonna go out there and dance and yeah, you can make fun of me. 


Lewis Howes: Who cares?


Tony Gonzalez: In the back, “Yeah, you got all that ethnic blood in you but you can’t dance. But I get football.


Lewis Howes: Right, that’s true.


Tony Gonzalez: So that’s what I mean like you – and you know what a movie that I’ll use that is really hit home with me. I went and saw with my kids a couple weeks ago that the remake of its Lion King.

Lewis Howes: Not so good. Remember who you are. 


Tony Gonzalez: Remember who you are, Simba, remember, remember. And that’s what it is. I think you have to remember you as that little kid because we all have this. I have four children. And when they’re up one is 18 other one’s 11, nine, and then we have a four year old. And she’s still in that when you have to remember who you are, she’s still there. 


And you know, when you’re younger, you’re honest. You can tell people, you know, when you’re hungry, you can ask for help. You go to sleep when you’re tired. You dance like nobody’s watching, you sing like nobody’s watching. There is no racism when you’re a child. There is no, there’s this the emotions come and they go. They filter through you. So we’re not saying you’re going to cut off emotions, but they come right through you when you’re a child. And you have to remember that. And remember what is – and when you combine that with your life experience. And by the way, you’re going to get broken. You have to go to those broken state. That’s what adolescence, and teenage, and all that stuff is about and starting out new. But in the end, that’s why I love getting older now. Somebody was complaining to me she was turning28. Toby, my wife’s sister, “I was like 28.” Like, it is so much better.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Because now you’re combining that –


Lewis Howes: Experience. 


Tony Gonzalez: Life experience. And if you could remember who you are that fearless kid, or used to jump off the top of a roof, used to say hello to everybody. And like I said, dance and sing and play and talk to everybody and be free. That’s where your life is. It’s like you so Lion King has been great to me.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: And just remembering who I am. I write that in the top my journal, is to remember who you are. And what is that though? And write that [****] down. Write who –?


Lewis Howes: Who are you?


Tony Gonzalez:   Who is that? 


Lewis Howes: Who are you? 


Tony Gonzalez: For me, that’s fearless. That’s to me. It’s and it changes, and it keep changing. And it should keep changing. It keeps evolving just like everything else in this world. World keeps evolving. You know, the continents shift in their cycles and there’s rain, there’s sun.


Lewis Howes: There’s seasons, yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: Seasons. But you never you always you always keep changing and that’s me and I want to, I’m fearless. I have an open heart. I’m loving. I’m not afraid to connect to people. I’m not afraid to be me. Not afraid to dance anymore. 


Lewis Howes: Yes, there’s salsa dancing with me. [laughs]


Tony Gonzalez: Salsa dancing, I’ll do it. And going after what I truly want in life and what I’m – but that I want to do, like I said, that’s the formula for me, is not being afraid to go after what’s in my heart. 


Lewis Howes: What’s missing in your life? 


Tony Gonzalez: Right now, honestly, it’s, I’m feeling really good.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: You know, wife, kids family, and but I have my goals, you know.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: So but I don’t count that as missing let me enjoying the process and it’s coming. It’s coming. I look at these goals and I know they’re going to come in. If it’s not that it’s going to be something even better.


Lewis Howes: Right. How long have you been married for?


Tony Gonzalez:  Fifteen — well, 12 years.


Lewis Howes:  Twelve years?


Tony Gonzalez: Fifteen years together.


Lewis Howes: You’re 15 years together. Do you think you would have had a successful career without being married?


Tony Gonzalez: I don’t know.


Lewis Howes: So if you were single the whole time or just you know, dating different people, or —


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, I think, I think so. I think I would have…


Lewis Howes: You’d still have the same career, you think? 


Tony Gonzalez: I did. Well, because I was on my way to that anyway, before I met her. I was single 10 years. My first 10 years in the NFL, I mean, I was married the last seven. And I did have a child the older one from a previous relationship. And he lived out in California while I played in Kansas City. Still very close to him. Obviously, he’s my son. But I was out there living la vida loca off the field. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: And enjoying myself. 


Lewis Howes: Right. 


Tony Gonzalez: So yeah, I think I could have been able to do that. But there is something about that I’ve noticed too, and I’m wondering, I would love somebody do the research on this. When you fall in love, you know, like everything gets greater right? The sky is blue. And the colors and everything everybody’s in a good mood and all this good stuff. And then guys play better. I’ve seen guys that when they’re engaged.


Lewis Howes: When they’re in love.


Tony Gonzalez: When they’re in love, like their game gets better.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: Or they have a child their game gets better. 


Lewis Howes: Why do you think they play better when they’re in love? 


Tony Gonzalez: I think because that is —


Lewis Howes: Their heart. Ahhh! [laughs]


Tony Gonzalez:  That is in their heart. I’m telling you, I’m telling you, I’ve been thinking about this.


Lewis Howes: Wow. 


Tony Gonzalez: That there is a reason that these guys excel when you’re there. When because I told you there’s no fear of judgment when you’re there. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: You know, when you’re in love, you’ll tell everybody I just want to shout it from the rooftop.


Lewis Howes: I know right? 


Tony Gonzalez: You just don’t care. 


Lewis Howes: Don’t care.


Tony Gonzalez: And so yeah, I think my wife has absolutely helped me become a better person, in other aspects of my life. In football, I kind of figured that out because I was in loved with football. 


Lewis Howes: We’re good.


Tony Gonzalez: I was already in in love. It’s funny how some guys need that to help approach their football but for me, I think – just like if you said Kobe Or Jordan or Tiger Woods or whatever mean that I think they would have been fine if they never got married it’s just these those guys are assassins and they figured out how to put everything out. And I feel like I’m in that same boat I consider myself one of them.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Because when I was on that field and nothing else is there, it’s just complete time standstill.


Lewis Howes: What’s the greatest lesson your wife’s taught you about yourself, about life, about?


Tony Gonzalez: Same thing. You know, they always say you marry your mother and my wife is absolutely in her heart. And I love that about her.


Lewis Howes: She’s got a big heart. 


Tony Gonzalez: She’s got a huge heart. AAnd that’s why everybody loves her. That’s what you know, she’s doing a podcast called Keep On. And that’s, she’s so raw, genuinely cares about you. When she’s talking to you, she genuinely cares about you because she’s interested. She’s one of those, you know, they talk about are you an introvert or you’re an extrovert and I’m an introvert to others to it. Like when I leave a party, or whatever it is, I get tired.


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: Because I’m in there and I’m trying to get to the point where she is because she leaves these things and goes, “Alright where are we going now?” because she draws energy from people, because she loves people. 


And so, she’s also taught me it’s not about where you come from because her life is was a tough one. I mean, her mom died of a heroin overdose when she was younger. So she, you can get caught up by looking at her because she’s beautiful.


Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.


Tony Gonzalez: And go, “Oh, she’s one of those pretty girls football player wise”, but it’s not that at all. She’s got some deep stuff going on in there because she’s been through a lot. I don’t know if that’s why, and it doesn’t mean that you know, just because she didn’t meet her dad until she was nine. You know, they were on welfare, you know, cops being called like, she’s gone through a lot. And that was one of the things that that stood out for me that she can still have this great personality and this unbelievable ability to connect with everybody. She’s my secret weapon. I’m like-


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: I’m gonna bring-


Lewis Howes: She could do the work for you.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, I tell “You gotta come with me.” because they’re gonna love her. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Cause she’s so open and so nice. And that’s what I try to emulate. She’s kind of a hero for me when it comes to that. 


Lewis Howes: Wow, that’s cool. What do you want your kids to say about you when you’re long gone?


Tony Gonzalez: Ah, I wonder what they will say. They’re probably gonna say he lectured a lot. That’s what my 18-year old says. “Here’s another lecture. Here we go.”


Lewis Howes: What do you want them to say?


Tony Gonzalez: I want them to say that. I mean, hopefully. And I mean I believe this with children to, that it’s more about how you conduct yourself. It is, it’s proven now, that I can sit there and talk to them until I’m blue in the face. That’s why I don’t believe people say, “Don’t do as I do. I do as I say.” 


Lewis Howes: Yeah, yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Sec, I don’t care because I’ve made all the mistakes. So now, even though I’m still screwing up, it’s like, no, kids aren’t gonna listen to you and people aren’t gonna listen to you.


Lewis Howes: They’re going to follow your actions. 


Tony Gonzalez: They want to follow your actions. And so my kids hopefully I’ve been that good example for them and I think they will. Like, they’ll see a good example of how to live. And nobody’s perfect and who knows, you know what the future holds for me. I’m fine. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: But I think they’ll definitely say that this guy was somebody who kept trying to level up. You never ever want to be there’s no status quo. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: I want to keep, either getting better you’re getting worse to me. Then you look around nature and on stuff. It’s constantly moving and you constantly have to keep searching, getting curious. I hope they say that I’m that he was a curious man and follow that curiosity. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Until he found an answer. 


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: And that’s what I want from them because that’ll take you a long way. If you’re number one, Tom Baer, you came on my podcast, and he’s talked about it before, but he said if anything, I am a learner. And I love his explanation of why because you can’t screw with him. You can’t [****] with him anymore when somebody says I’m a learner. Because if you tell me I suck or I’m not good you think about “Okay, great. I’m, you know, you think that but tell me how I’m going to get better. Okay, tell me what to do. So I’m gonna learn to get better.”


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: And that’s how I felt like I was like, I agree with you. I’m curious. So except I wasn’t as involved as him. Sometimes you could, you could hurt my feelings back in the day. But I am getting to the point where it’s like, “All right, you can say whatever hell you want, I’m gonna keep getting better and I’m going to keep trying” so that I want my children to be curious, but I know they got to get broke.


Lewis Howes: You gotta have some…


Tony Gonzalez:  All the parents out there just understand.


Lewis Howes: I mean, the hardest thing is being like, I don’t know what the quote is, but it’s like, you never want your kids to grow up with like wealthy parents.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: It’s like because they’re always kind of given things. It’s kind of it’s not gonna be the hardest thing to like, make sure they work hard. 


Tony Gonzalez: I tell my kids that though. I tell them, “You guys rich. You guys got cash.”


Lewis Howes: Yeah, you got cash. You’ll realize how-


Tony Gonzalez: We’re not billionaires like that but you guys got cash.


Lewis Howes: To take care of. Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: And people are going to doubt you because your last name first of all, they’re gonna compare you because your last name. Second of all, they’re gonna think you’re just rich and you got it all. I do. I feel bad for all those kids I mean of successful people. 


Lewis Howes: It’s tough if you’re poor, it’s tough if you’re. 


Tony Gonzalez: Tough.


Lewis Howes: I mean, its a challenge either way.


Tony Gonzalez: But that’s – 


Lewis Howes: It’s a different challenges. 


Tony Gonzalez: I agree. 


Lewis Howes: You might have a nicer home and nicer food and this and that, but there’s different mental emotional challenge. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yes. And that’s your and it’s just going to be your path. Okay? If it’s not one thing, it’s gonna be another thing, because you’re a human being and that’s why we’re all down here is to have this human experience, and you’re going to have to get broke, and you have to get cracked apart. It’s seasonal, just like life is as above, so below. 


Lewis Howes: It’ll pass. 


Tony Gonzalez: It’ll pass 


Lewis Howes: Eventually. 


Tony Gonzalez: And the sun’s gonna come out, but you got to keep willing to get into the ring. And you don’t want to be sitting in the stands. It’s better to get into the ring. Get your ass knocked out and then to be sitting in the stands, watching it. Get involved, get in the game, and let’s play it. And don’t be afraid. And just know that you’re gonna take some hot shots. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: It’s just like sports, just like biz, anybody out there is risking.


Lewis Howes: You gotta hit the risk, man.


Tony Gonzalez: You have children. You want to complicate your life. Have some kids. You haven’t had kids yet, right?


Lewis Howes: No.


Tony Gonzalez: You probably got – are you gonna have kids one day? 


Lewis Howes: I think so. Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: Well get ready, okay? Cause this shit ain’t easy.


Lewis Howes: [laughs] What’s the lesson you can give to me as a potential father the future what would you say as your advice?


Tony Gonzalez: Ah, [chuckles]


Lewis Howes: Well you said your son just broke his arm and running around and… 


Tony Gonzalez: Oh man and they’re fighting this way now he’s pissed off because he broke his arm so he’s mad. He’s yelling and fighting with his sister and yeah whatever. So yeah, kids complicate everything. It really is. It really is though.


Lewis Howes: Try having that kids for as long as I have.


Tony Gonzalez: I believe it’s true, that and finances the number one reason for divorce.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: Because you talk about all these different person, especially the more kids you have, it’s tough. But it’s the best thing ever happened to you too. It opens your heart up even more. And so I would say approach being a father or mother, whoever’s listening, just like you would approach your job and they’re using all the principles that I’m talking about. Realize it’s going to be hard, it’s going to bring it to your knees sometime but there’s so much information out there on how to be the best parent you can be and really connect to them. Don’t try to bring them up to your level. Go to them and this is something I had to learn the hard way. It’s took me a while to learn this but get down on your knees look those kids in the eye and listen to them and open your heart when you’re talking to them and dance and play with them. Become a little kid with them because they’re not ready to come to your level. And I know people out there I’m not saying you have to do baby talk and all that stuff. 


Lewis Howes: Right, right. 


Tony Gonzalez: And people out there well I treat my kids like they’re an adult like this because it helps them get older and better, wiser faster, and I’m like, “Who cares?” Like little prodigies most prodigies don’t work out.


Lewis Howes: Right.


Tony Gonzalez: Just know that look up to stats. 


Lewis Howes: LeBron is one of the few.


Tony Gonzalez: One of the few. I mean don’t get me wrong they work sometime but you look at that’s incredible and you look at all these shows. Tiger Woods was on there when he was younger. Yeah, it worked out but most of those kids are dribbling you see him on YouTube and running fast and you can all the kids.


Lewis Howes: Never heard about it yet. 


Tony Gonzalez: They fizzle out if it like so enjoy, enjoy it, enjoy being a parent, enjoy. Really try to look at it as just fun, and your kids will love you a lot more for it. And you can’t force the flower open. I always feel like children are little flowers and you water them. And you put the good fertilizer, you put the good food down there for them to grow, but you can’t force it open. Or you have to wait for them to open and it takes.


Lewis Howes: Yeah, it may take a long time for them to build roots underneath, right?


Tony Gonzalez: My 18 year old to read this is the first year I’ve seen this kid just blossom. Because in my other kids are different. Their weight, everybody’s different, there’s all these different personalities and you can’t blanket pair, every kid is unique and individual just like if somebody works for you. 


Lewis Howes: Sure. 


Tony Gonzalez: You have to really hone in on what their gifts are-


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: And grow it. 


Lewis Howes: This is beautiful. I’ve got a couple final questions for you. 


Tony Gonzalez: Sure.


Lewis Howes: This is called the three truths. So imagine it is your last day on earth.


Tony Gonzalez: Wow.


Lewis Howes: And you’re as old as you want to be. You get to pick the day, but eventually you got to leave the physical body. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: It can be 100, 200, doesn’t matter. Modern technology, thousand, whatever it is, you gotta go at some point. And you’ve created and achieved everything that you’ve written down in your journal every week, like it’s all come true. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: All the success you want to love everything it’s happened. But for whatever reason, you got to take all of your accomplishments, your work with you. So no one has your podcast anymore, anything you written down any video access to you, it’s all come with you. But you get to leave behind a piece of paper that has three things you know, to be true about your life. That would be the lessons you would leave behind. Three lessons that the world would have. And this is all they have to remember you by. What would you say? 


Tony Gonzalez: Words? 


Lewis Howes: Like a lesson, like a lesson? It could be a sentence, it could be a paragraph, but just be three different lessons like come from your heart it could be a lesson. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, well. 


Lewis Howes: Always give your best to, you know, whatever your truth is, what would be the three things you’d want people to have as lessons from you?


Tony Gonzalez: When it comes to what you love, life takes off on the other side of fear. I think relentlessly pursue what you love, I guess. 


Lewis Howes: You guess or you know? 


Tony Gonzalez: No, I know relentlessly pursue what you love. And when speaking and listening, do that with your heart.


Lewis Howes: That’s the third one?


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: When speaking, listening?


Tony Gonzalez: Do it with your heart. 


Lewis Howes: I like it.


Tony Gonzalez: Like your mind, your heart, prosperity and fun come when your heart becomes the filter to your mind’s thoughts.


Lewis Howes: What do you mean by that? 


Tony Gonzalez: So, I believe everything you want will come when you can filter what comes up into your brain and filter that down through your heart and let your heart speak it. 


Lewis Howes: Ooh.


Tony Gonzalez: So, yeah, fun and prosperity come when your mind, when your heart can become the filter for your mind’s thoughts.


Lewis Howes: That’s good I don’t have ever heard said that way. Quote, Tony Gonzalez. [laughter] I like it. I like it. Okay. What is the thing you are most proud of that most people don’t know about you?


Tony Gonzalez: That most people don’t know about me? I think – that’s a hard one. Those? What the hell?


Lewis Howes: Hey, we’re trying to get wide open here. 


Tony Gonzalez: I know, I love it but I’m like, Okay, what the hell? I’m trying to think because I’m because I’m pretty wide open. Like most people, I’ll just tell them.


Lewis Howes: Like something, like something that I saw your actions was like, when I was over your house. You were like, yeah, I make breakfast for my kids every day, like five days a week or I’m not sure what how many times but you’re like, pretty much every day, I’m getting up, I’m making gourmet bread, I’m doing the pancakes, I’m doing everything. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: And I’m really proud that I do that for them. And I was like, that’s pretty cool, because you could have a chef doing this. You could whatever, have them do it but you get up and you make breakfast for those kids. I think that’s something that inspired me as a future father I was like, “Wow, I want to be like that.” 


Tony Gonzalez: Ah, watch it going. 


Lewis Howes: Now I would like I want to be a Hall of Famer but like, I want to be like a dad that makes kids for the breakfast.


Tony Gonzalez: Uh-huh. I think that that gets me like, you know, emotional. 


Lewis Howes: Well that’s good. You know where I got that?


Tony Gonzalez: You know it’s funny. Have you ever seen Casino with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci?


Lewis Howes: Yes. 


Tony Gonzalez: So Joe Pesci in there, he’s like narrating it and he goes, “No matter what, no matter what we did I always go home and I make breakfast for the kids.” 


Lewis Howes: Wow, Okay. Oh yeah. Absolutely people will [crosstalk]


Tony Gonzalez: You know, like a couple people but I’m going to go home and make pancakes for my kids.


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: So that’s where I got that from, and that’s a good one. I would say that because I did that is pretty unique. I don’t know anybody else who does it but I really love doing that for the kids. I got a date at this morning. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: I like being the short order cook for all four kids or whoever friends they have there.


Lewis Howes: That’s cool. 


Tony Gonzalez: I love opening up my home to people. I get that from my mother. So yesterday, we had probably 20 kids at the house.


Lewis Howes: Wow.


Tony Gonzalez: And if you get to know me, you’re like you you’ve come over a couple times. Come on over and I’ll have other people there. I love hosting people at my home. 


Lewis Howes: That’s cool. 


Tony Gonzalez: And then I love to read. Most people – I guess maybe you probably do know that but I love to read. I’ve always want a book in my hand. 


Lewis Howes: That’s cool.


Tony Gonzalez: About something; mind, body, spirit related. It could be a story, but I want to I want to learn. 


Lewis Howes: I love it, man. It’s good stuff. I love learning this about you. Okay, we’ve got a new show that’s coming out soon. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yep.


Lewis Howes: Wide Open.


Tony Gonzalez: Um-hmm.


Lewis Howes: Hasn’t come out yet, right?


Tony Gonzalez: Wide Open to Podcast. 


Lewis Howes: Coming out soon. And they can get it where? Where can they get it? Where do you want to send people to? 


Tony Gonzalez: Well, I think we will be on Facebook.


Lewis Howes: Be an iTunes, be an Apple Pad. 


Tony Gonzalez: I got my little cheat sheet here. 


Lewis Howes: Yes. Spotify, it’s on everywhere podcast.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, it’s anywhere. It’s podcast, Spotify, Apple.


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: All that stuff.


Lewis Howes: And do you have a website yet?


Tony Gonzalez: Tony Gonzalez 88.


Lewis Howes: Okay.


Tony Gonzalez: Is aahh. –


Lewis Howes: Are you putting out information there? You do open newsletter?


Tony Gonzalez: No, we’re not.


Lewis Howes: Not yet. 


Tony Gonzalez: Got I got an issue here and she’s helping me out.


Lewis Howes: Can they subscribe for your updates anywhere on your site or was it just social media follow you on.


Tony Gonzalez: Right now it’s social media.


Lewis Howes: Got to get you an opt in somewhere.


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah, Tony Gonzalez 88 social media you can check out all information there and then it’s all going to be coming out. And I gotta tell you; thank you because you are an inspiration for me to even do the podcast. Because I was watching your shit and I was like this is great. And there’s a lot of people that have done stuff like this.


Lewis Howes: Uh-huh.


Tony Gonzalez: But I’m doing it because I love it. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: Because I feel like I do have a lot to share. And a lot of that is honestly is being inspired by you. I found out I played Semi Pro Football. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: This guy. And I look at it this way like we’re all in this together. 


Lewis Howes: Of course. 


Tony Gonzalez: And you have your crowd and then Gary Vaynerchuck has his crowd, and Tim Ferriss has his crowd. We all have these crowds, but we’re all making the world a better place by presenting information that we love. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah, man. 


Tony Gonzalez: I appreciate you.


Lewis Howes: Of course man.


Tony Gonzalez: For taking the lead on all these stuff.


Lewis Howes: Of course, man. 


Tony Gonzalez: How long you been doing the show? 


Lewis Howes: Six and a half years, now.


Tony Gonzalez: Six and a half years? Yeah, I’m looking at this wall. I’m like, this is nuts.


Lewis Howes: 840 episodes. Yeah. 


Tony Gonzalez: This is great.


Lewis Howes: If I could do it, you could do it easily. And trust me. I mean, it took some time to learn how to connect in the interview and I had no clue what I was doing. But I was just curious. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: You know kind of like what Tom talks about is being curious and I think that’s  going to be what’s going to make your show great too. Is you being curious and not trying to script everything.


Tony Gonzalez: Nah, I know, we’re Wide Open.


Lewis Howes: Your team was like, I’ll send over questions. I’m like, now we’re going to keep it open. You know, we’re going to make sure that authentic. And I like to hear that you’re like oh, I actually don’t know let me think about it for a second. For me, that’s the stuff where like the magic comes right after that. 


Tony Gonzalez: The ad lib. 


Lewis Howes: Exactly. 


Tony Gonzalez: The ad lib .


Lewis Howes: The ad lib, that’s where it’s at. 


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah.


Lewis Howes: So wide Open’s coming out soon. They can follow you on Instagram; you’re going to be doing hopefully more stuff on there. I see you doing a little bit more there.


Tony Gonzalez: I’m trying to get acclimated this whole social media thing has been a little bit of a thing for me. You asked my team about it the social. I’m kind of I’m part Charles Barkley.


Lewis Howes: Right.


Tony Gonzalez: Where Charles’ like I don’t need that stuff, you know, but it’s also at the same time I understand that the knowledge that you can bring the pit of the help.


Lewis Howes: Yeah, of course.


Tony Gonzalez: The help, it’s there. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: And it’s fun. 


Lewis Howes: It’s fun. 


Tony Gonzalez: I just have a hard time stopping my day sometime going, Okay, hey, I need to put something else out there. But I do understand it and I’m getting into it. I’m starting to.


Lewis Howes: That’s good. Yeah, and your team will support you.


Tony Gonzalez: They will support me. [laughs]


Lewis Howes: Okay, they can they can go subscribe to that. How else can we support you? Besides I gotta be on TV. Every-


Tony Gonzalez: Yeah. 


Lewis Howes: Every week. 


Tony Gonzalez: Football season is here. And so yeah, Thursday Night Football on Fox, and then Sunday, Football All-day,


Lewis Howes: It’s amazing, man.


Tony Gonzalez: All day, talking about what I did for living, giving- 


Lewis Howes: The glory days,


Tony Gonzalez: The glory days. And that’s pretty much it. I am working on a book here.


Lewis Howes: Really. 


Tony Gonzalez: That uh, I’m writing there. That’s ahh– 


Lewis Howes: What’s I got to be about? 


Tony Gonzalez: It’s like a little handbook is what I’m doing. That’s the idea of it. It’s not really a 278 page book. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah, yeah. That’s right. 


Tony Gonzalez: That’s what they told me last the last book I wrote back a long time ago. 


Lewis Howes: Yeah.


Tony Gonzalez: That was like, yeah, it’s got to be 278 pages, something like that sweet spot. But this is a little bit shorter handbook. 


Lewis Howes: That’s cool. 


Tony Gonzalez: On how to-


Lewis Howes: More like life principles or well-


Tony Gonzalez: Like leveling up.


Lewis Howes: That’s cool.


Tony Gonzalez: Like you don’t care who you are, let’s get better. If that’s what you’re into.


Lewis Howes: I like it.


Tony Gonzalez: Given my take on that and there’s a lot of takes out there. But underneath it all, it’s all the same thing. Just definitely you have to find what connects to you. You have to find what connects to you. 


Lewis Howes: I love that. Well, they follow you on social media and the podcast and you’ll announce that when it comes out in the future, they can get the book.


Tony Gonzalez: Yup.


Lewis Howes: Before I ask the final question, do you have any questions for me? 


Tony Gonzalez: I told you I’m gonna bring you on the show. 


Lewis Howes: Okay, we’ll do that then. I’ll send you over —


Tony Gonzalez: We’ll gonna do Wide Open on air.


Lewis Howes: I’ll have people come listen to that one. 


Tony Gonzalez: Oh, you sit down. I want to see you tear up a little bit goin’, okay.


Lewis Howes: [laughs] I cry all the time for– yeah.


Well, I want to acknowledge you, Tony for – we’ve only known each other for a few months, but I really acknowledge you for your authenticity and your openness. Like you came to me and you’re like, “Hey, I have questions for you. Can you help me out with this thing that some stuff you’re going through in your life?” We’ve connected at your house a few times, you’re just such a giving generous human being. And for me, that’s what matters, the Hall of Fame status, the records, all that stuff. It’s cool. But if you don’t have the caring giving nature, it’s not as fun to be with someone.


So I acknowledge you for your continued curiosity at such a high level. You’re so successful in what you’ve done. You were at the top of the world, and you’re still a giver, you’re still curious, and you don’t act like you have it all figured out. And I think that’s really hard for someone at your level to do. And I acknowledge that about you. And I just think that you’re just getting started, man. This is all just like groundwork. You’re just getting started and I’m excited for everything in the future. I’m excited for our friendship, and there’s anything I can do to support you please let me know. 


Tony Gonzalez: Thank you, buddy.


Lewis Howes: Yeah, man. Final question is what’s your definition of greatness?


Tony Gonzalez: [laughs] Now, what we talked about this whole time, rewind the day of take. The definition of greatness, I think curious, open heart and fearlessness. Think if you can be curious, have an open heart. And to me open heart means no fear of judgment, total presence, not worried about the past or the future. That’s what open heart that like Joy, joy, like really finding joy in other people’s joy. That’s what I call joy that’s being in your heart.


Lewis Howes: Joy-joy is that what you said? 


Tony Gonzalez: You call it joy-joy. That’s what I tell my kids. You got to have joy-joy. And if you can be fearless as you approach that as you stay in your heart, it’s really, the sky is the limit. You will have whatever you want, doesn’t mean you’re not going to get your ass kicked but you will have it all I promise you because it isn’t about the money. It isn’t about the fame. Trust me. There’s miserable people that I know that have a lot of money and have a lot of fame. It’s about what’s in your heart and being fearless as you approach that and so that’s my definition. 


Lewis Howes: There you go. [inaudible] about that, man. Appreciate you. 


Tony Gonzalez: Thank you. 


Lewis Howes: Thanks brother. 


Tony Gonzalez: Thanks for having me.


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Lewis Howes: There you have it my friend; I hope you enjoyed this episode with Tony. I love his mindset. I love how much he’s been able to constantly grow. After all those years in the NFL and consistently stay at the top of his game and get better every single day. Make sure to share this with one friend, two friends today. I don’t care as many people as you can but at least one person text a friend this link Be a champion and a hero in someone’s life today by sending them this valuable information and inspiration that could truly help someone transform and upgrade their life with this tool in this interview. Again, 


Make sure to share it on Instagram story, tag me Lewis Howes and tag Tony Gonzalez. So we can know what you enjoyed most about this and share it with your friends over on social media. And as always, if you have not left a review yet, please leave me a review over on Apple podcast over 5000 plus five star reviews. I don’t care if you leave a one star or five star review. I just want you to leave a review and tell me what you think about this show. So we can continue to learn, improve, and make it better for you. So make sure to leave a review today as well. 


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A big thank you to Tony again for coming on. Make sure you guys check out his new podcast Wide Open. He’s got some amazing people on there already. And he’s going to help a lot of people in this stage of their life. So make sure to check it out. Give him a follow up on Instagram, send him some love. Again, share this with your friends. And as always, you know what time it is. It’s time to go out there and do something great.


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