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5 Career Lessons From Marshawn Lynch


The Seattle-based staff of PayScale is pretty excited about Sunday’s big game, when the Seahawks will face off against the Patriots in Arizona. But even if you’re not a Seahawks fan, chances are that you appreciate their running back, Marshawn Lynch, nicknamed “Beast Mode” for his aggressive style on the field. Off the field, he’s become possibly the most quotable player of all time — while insisting that he’s boycotting media. Witness yesterday’s press conference, where Lynch said nothing but “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” Twenty-nine times.

marshawn lynch 

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

What does the NFL’s most eccentric superstar have to teach us about our own careers? Start with the following:

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. Know what you do best.

Why doesn’t Lynch speak to the media? Because it’s not his deal. From a Sports Illustrated profile in 2012:

“In my experience he’s the toughest guy to tackle in the league,” says Niners linebacker Larry Grant. Adds defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, “It’s like getting knocked down by a building.”

Lynch enjoys such testimonials, and he revels in his tough-guy persona. “I don’t talk too much on the field,” he says. “If I do, only thing I tell them is, ‘You know where I’m at: seven yards deep. I ain’t too hard to find.'”

2. Build your brand.

Lynch trademarked his nickname early on, and “Beast Mode” logos now adorn everything from energy drinks to eye black.

3. Understand your mistakes.

Asked in an interview with E:60 about his troubles with the law, which include a suspended license after striking a pedestrian in 2008, a three-game suspension in 2009 after being arrested for possession of a firearm, and a DUI charge in 2012, Lynch addressed his critics:

“I would like to see them grow up in project housing. Being racially profiled growing up, sometimes not even having nothing to eat, sometimes having to wear the same damn clothes to school for a whole week. Then all of a sudden a big-a** change in their life, like their dream come true, to the point they’re starting their career, at 20 years old, when they still don’t know s**t. I would like to see some of the mistakes they would make.”

4. Give back.

Together with Joshua Johnson of the 49ers, Lynch founded the Fam 1st Family Foundation. The organization’s stated mission is “to improve the lives of children by mentoring them on the importance of education, literacy and self-esteem.” He also “compulsively sends handwritten thank-you notes,” according to Sports Illustrated.

5. Take people — even fur people — the way they are.

Asked whether his dog watches him play football, Lynch said:

“No. He’s out doing his doggie dog thing, living in his doggie dog world. You feel me?”

Tell Us What You Think

Which athlete inspires you in your career? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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