Those that know me, know that I’m from Pittsburgh. Those that know me, and my family, know what huge Pittsburgh Steelers fans we are. So, you can imagine my unbridled enthusiasm when Merril Hoge, former running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears, agreed to be interviewed for Books Uplift.
Despite his stellar record on the gridiron, Merril is a gifted speaker, football analyst for ESPN, and a coach and mentor inspiring adults to achieve personal and professional success and challenging kids to take ownership of their lives. Merril is also a cancer survivor and a Chairman of Highmark Caring Foundation.
I could go on and on about his achievements, impact and graciousness, but you’re here to meet Merril. And with all that he’s balancing in his personal and professional life, he still took time to answer my questions and motivate all of us to “Find A Way” to realize our dreams.
You are an author, but what fills your days? A big part of my day is devoted to my speaking, but I started a program for the NFL called “The Way to Play” so during the season I’m involved in that along with tape evaluation on the NFL for the Steelers. I’m also in the process of building an App that will help sports with protocols, education and guidance to proper care!
Did you always want to be an author? I became an author on a challenge! I was sitting in a chemo chair sharing how Find A Way has helped me live a dream and fight to live and a dear friend of mine who was documenting the day via video told me I needed to write a book on that. I told him “if I survive I will.” One year after saying that he reminded me of my promise. So, I kept that promise. I have since republished that book and the second addition just came out in 2020. I also wrote another book titled Brainwashed. It’s the truth about what the science really says about CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) not what the media has driven. I did not set out to write another book, but after reading all the scientific literature and discovering how incorrect the narrative was, I felt the only way to give people the truth and facts was to put it all together in a book.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? I’m so excited that I survived everything and was able to write Find A Way. My goal is for people to realize what gifts/talents/tools they process and ways they can apply them any way they see fit to achieve their goals and overcome their circumstances. My hope is that they see what’s possible when we learn to control our mind vs our mind controlling us.
With Brainwashed, the goal is to open peoples’ minds to all the scientific facts and to hopefully empower them so they can make decisions on all the true evidence, not out of fear. My hope is that people will see how much better the sports environment is and it’s not what the media has made it to be, especially if all the protocols, teaching techniques and proper equipment are being applied. I’m so glad the book Brainwashed is completed because the science was so complicated and to translate it so people could understand about head trauma was very difficult but worth it.
How did writing a book help your career take off? Writing both books has helped elevate my message to Find A Way. Having a book to share with people adds to the value of my message.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? I always suggest to those who want to get into this environment, to build your story and message and work on presenting it as often as you can. Also tape it and watch yourself.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? I look for structured evaluations from people that know and understand speaking, everything from body language to delivery. I’m also a big fan of unsolicited comments so I can get better at my craft.
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? My first book Find A Way started with writing my goals down where I start and end my day. I still do it to this day, and it helps keep me focused and is the best tool I have found to help me control my mind.
What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? One of the most fulfilling things I’ve experienced after sharing my message is to hear others talking about how they see how they are going to Find a Way to attack their goals and dreams in life.
What book uplifts you? Find A Way uplifts me because I’ve lived it all. Brainwashed uplifts me because I did the work and research to find out the truth about head trauma.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? I had a reading and learning disorder when I was in the 5th grade. I have worked on reading from that day on, so to read and learn and grow is empowering no matter what the subject. I love books on coaching, teaching and leading. Parenting books move me as well.
Learn more about Merril, get a copy of his books, schedule him to speak and be driven by his inspiration at Merril Hoge.
Image Courtesy of Merril Hoge