Hi, I’m Mark Pattison a former NFL player, entrepreneur, mountaineer, philanthropist, podcaster, author and dad.
But before I go there, let me ask you this question. Have you ever been through tough times? I certainly have. Divorce, being cut by an NFL team, failed business, heartache, father passing and recognizing my own shortfalls in order to achieve great things. I think sometimes you can present such a shiny package that you don’t face the truth about your situation and by not being your true authentic self, it makes it really hard to fly high. Through the darkness I found the light.
I grew up in Seattle, WA and did well enough in football during my high school years to be recruited by schools all over the country. I ended up attending the University of Washington and had a successful run by going to two Rose Bowls, two Aloha Bowls and an Orange Bowl (I caught the go ahead touchdown with minutes to go to win the game) and ended up ranked number 2 in the country my senior year. Then I got drafted by the LA Raiders and ended playing in the NFL for 5 years. Got married, started a marketing company, had a baby and ended up moving back to Seattle into a beautiful home, great neighborhood, tons of friends, had another daughter, and the years went rolling by not really leading a purposeful life.
Then, my wife wanted to move back to LA where she desired to act which she had done well before we moved to Seattle. There were cracks in our relationship so I thought by moving back to LA, it would make her happy and put our marriage back on track. Little did I realize that I would go from Hero to Zero by moving into Santa Monica. My social life got 100% cut off and I had no friends. My wife and I were really struggling and every weekend and holiday we were in bed by 10 pm living our own separate lives. I was so lonely and asking myself what the value of my life was? I had a chocolate lab and every night I would walk Theo around the block and kept asking myself, “How did I get here?” This went on for about 2 years until one day I shifted my mindset from “How did I get here?” to “What am I going to do about it?” At that point, everything shifted.
I had to fill my bucket and I knew I had one last great athletic achievement in me. I knew I couldn’t still play football, so I did some research and found that no NFL player had ever climbed the Seven Summits so I decided that was what I was going to do. I made a few calls to some mountaineer friends and outlined a plan of how I would go about climbing the highest peaks around the world.
My first climb was in Tanzania to Mt Kilimanjaro at 19,341’. I trained hard and then flew down to Africa to join my climbing group. The first 6 days went great and I was feeling strong, but then summit day came and I ran out of gas half-way up the mountain. My porter guide slapped me around a few times to get me back focused on the task at hand and stuffed a protein bar down me to get my energy back. I got back on my feet, headed to the summit and on the way down around 18,000’, I burst into tears of which I hadn’t done since I was about 18 and they were tears of joy and empowerment. I knew by getting up that mountain, overcoming my energy issues I could get through anything!
What I also learned is that by being vulnerable, I actually gained more strength by letting others really see who I am. I believe you can’t really fly high until you are your true authentic self.
As I started to reflect back on my life and some of the things I had accomplished, I remembered one of the most important influencers in my life was my hall of fame coach at the University of Washington, Don James. He had borrowed John Wooden’s pyramid of success which was a 25 pillar goal setting module which brought him 10 NCAA championships in a row with UCLA. Coach James made it his own pyramid and really helped to shape what I needed to do to succeed at the UW and become an important contributor for the team. Inspired by that model, I created my own strategies which have taken me to new heights – literally. 🙂 The acronym SUMMITS has really helped me find happiness, serenity, and has led me to a more purposeful life with a clear sense of direction and focus to those things I want in my life.
I was compelled to share my strategies, and that’s when I met Deb Klein.
I believe we are each here to give of our talents to make our world better, to connect, to honor each other’s differences, to love, to find our way, to accomplish, yet it’s so much more than accomplishing.
I’ve had the distinct privilege of helping hundreds of thousands of people accomplish, transform, innovate. For the past 29 years, I’ve been an entrepreneur partnering with Fortune 100 companies, and like global, complex organizations, to help them develop their people, groom leadership/executive talent, and find new ways of working when the existing ways weren’t working. The secret gift in it all is that, as stealth-like as I’ve often been, I’ve learned volumes not just about business, but about people, as there are no results without people. I love people, the beautiful mess we all are.
As I created and navigated that world, the foundation of my universe centered on my family. I was married for 24 years, and am the proud mom of an incredible son and daughter. Life was full: full of love, friends, sports, volunteering, extended family, the never-ending to do list most active families juggle. Everyone struggles. Every family struggles. Every working woman, mom, every working father, dad, struggles to find balance and best live life.
Like everyone else, there are simply amazing people, events and elements of my life that I’m humbled by, incredibly grateful for, and they’ve given me immeasurable gifts and strengths. I’ve tried throughout my life to help others. The struggles I’ve had only further cement the firm belief that we need each other, and have much to share on this journey.
When Mark Pattison crossed my path, we had easy, meaningful conversations about that shared value: to help others find their purpose, to overcome. I’m excited to partner with Mark to share these strategies to, hopefully, lift you and enhance your life.