Transforming Leadership: From the NFL Field to the Boardroom with Steve Wright

In the latest episode of Leadership Talks, hosted by Martin Rowinski, CEO and co-founder of Boardsi, we are privileged to welcome Steve Wright, a former NFL player turned entrepreneur, author, and the founder of Cloudburst. Steve’s multifaceted journey from professional sports to the peaks of entrepreneurship and his contributions to society through his innovative ventures and impactful writing, exemplify a leadership journey worth exploring.


From NFL to Entrepreneurship

Steve Wright’s story is not just about sports; it’s a narrative of relentless pursuit, adaptability, and reinvention. Transitioning from the high-octane world of the NFL to the competitive arena of business, Steve illustrates the essence of transferable skills: discipline, teamwork, and strategic thinking that have fueled his entrepreneurial successes.


Leadership Lessons Along the Way

Throughout the podcast, Steve delves into the core principles that have guided his path. His leadership philosophy—centered on making a positive impact on people, places, and things—resonates throughout his ventures. Steve’s approach to leadership goes beyond conventional metrics of success, focusing instead on the broader impact of one’s actions and the legacy left behind.


Aggressively Human: A Call to Authentic Leadership

In discussing his book, “Aggressively Human,” Steve Wright invites us to reflect on the complexities of the human condition and the importance of authentic leadership. He challenges readers and listeners alike to embrace vulnerability, practice compassion, and lead with intention. His narrative encourages a deeper understanding of our shared human experience and the power of leading from a place of empathy and authenticity. Book info and link here:


The Boardsi Perspective

At Boardsi, where connecting talented individuals with executive and board positions is at the heart of what we do, Steve Wright’s journey underscores the value of diverse experiences in enriching leadership roles. His story is a testament to the idea that the path to leadership is not linear but a mosaic of experiences that shape one’s approach to guiding others and making a difference.


Steve Wright’s transition from the NFL to successful entrepreneur and author exemplifies the versatility and adaptability inherent in true leadership. His journey offers valuable insights into the essence of making a meaningful impact, the importance of staying present, and the transformative power of viewing leadership as a vehicle for positive change.

Join us on Leadership Talks to explore these themes further and discover how your own journey can inspire a legacy of leadership and innovation.


#Leadership #Innovation #SteveWright #NFL #Entrepreneurship #AuthenticLeadership #Boardsi #ExecutiveDevelopment #BoardPositions #AggressivelyHuman #LeadershipTalks #PersonalGrowth #ProfessionalDevelopment

Steve Wright, a former NFL player and entrepreneur, shares his inspiring journey and life lessons in this episode. From his time in the NFL with the Cowboys, Colts, and Raiders to starting his own business, Cloudburst, Steve’s story is one of resilience and determination. He emphasizes the importance of staying present and focused, treating people with kindness, and embracing vulnerabilities. Steve also discusses his experience on the reality TV show Survivor and the impact it had on his perspective on life. His book, Aggressively Human, delves into the complexities of the human experience and the strength that comes from acknowledging our imperfections. The conversation explores the themes of authenticity, empathy, leadership, wellness, and creativity. It emphasizes the importance of being true to oneself, leading with empathy and compassion, maintaining physical and mental wellness, and embracing creativity in all aspects of life. The discussion also touches on the idea of creating a new sport that combines elements of entrepreneurship and athleticism. Overall, the conversation encourages listeners to live authentically, lead with empathy, prioritize wellness, and embrace creativity.


  • Stay present and focused on the task at hand.
  • Treat people with kindness and leave a positive impact wherever you go.
  • Embrace vulnerabilities and acknowledge the messiness of being human.
  • Leadership and teamwork are essential for success in any endeavor.
00:00 Introduction and Background
01:19 Living by the Mantra
06:15 Staying Present and Focused
07:18 NFL Journey: Cowboys, Colts, and Raiders
09:26 Starting Cloudburst and Entrepreneurship
12:35 Cloudburst Impact: Professional Sports, US Military, NASA, and Olympics
16:37 Global Giving and Treating People with Kindness
24:52 Leadership and Teamwork
25:00 Life Perspective After Survivor
25:53 Aggressively Human: Embracing Vulnerabilities
25:59 The Power of Authenticity and Empathy
30:20 True Leadership
32:34 Maintaining Physical and Mental Wellness
38:19 Creating a New Sport
43:03 Advice to Younger Self

Martin Rowinski (00:01.678)

Welcome everyone to another exciting episode of Leadership Talks. I’m your host, Martin Rowinski CEO and co -founder of Boardsi And today we’ve got a truly exceptional guest joining us. He’s a man of many talents, someone who’s not just made his mark, but has also continuously reinvented himself across different arenas. From the adrenaline pumping world of NFL,


Steve wright (00:13.706)



Martin Rowinski (00:28.942)

to the innovative landscape of entrepreneurship and even gracing our screens on reality TV. Steve Wright has lived a life of many of us could only dream of. Today, he’s here to share his story, the ups, the downs, and everything in between. So sit back, relax, and let’s get ready to be inspired by the incredible journey of Steve Wright. Steve, welcome to the show.


Steve wright (00:57.336)

Thank you, Martin. That’s a sweet introduction. I really appreciate it. Yeah, I enjoy staying busy and like my wife says, I’m a golden retriever. I’m following the bouncing balls, throw the tennis ball out and I’m chasing it. If there’s an interesting opportunity, I want to get after it. And that’s the theme of a lot of my in my book.


Martin Rowinski (01:19.246)

That’s awesome. Yeah. And I believe you’re the model that you live by is leave people, places and things better than I found them. And I’m quoting you, I think. Awesome.


Steve wright (01:27.032)

Yeah. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. I still do, but I used to run a lot on the beach early in the morning. No headphones and just be at peace with the world waking up and just kind of came up with that one morning. It’s just something that I found myself already living by, but that little mantra that I also…


do when I’m meditating is just, yeah, it’s just leave everybody a little better. Leave every place a little better. So easy, especially in this time of society is just a lot of pretty angry. And if I can put a smile on someone’s face and just lift their day, it’s what I call the selfish act of giving. It makes me feel good when I see someone else lift it and then it just, it paid me back. Just the other day I was at a Barnes and Noble store.


I helped a lady open, the lady was hobbling to the front door and I opened it, I kind of charged up and ran out there, opened it for her and there must have been 50 people in the store. She came by, she’s 70 years old, she bought a football book, she bought my book after talking to her. You know, it was just like, is it good for somebody? It does, it comes back to you.


Martin Rowinski (02:44.526)

That’s awesome.


Martin Rowinski (02:49.678)

Yeah, that’s awesome. And it’s funny because before I got well, I don’t want to I guess I can say as old as I am now, and your your your vision changes, your perspective definitely changes. But back in my young days, I always lived by if I can put a smile on one person today, I’m happy. I succeeded. So I’ve said that for a long time. And as you can see, I smile a lot. So


Steve wright (03:11.928)



Steve wright (03:18.616)

You do. You do. It’s a great thing. I came up with one when we were down in Tonga. Tonga was a lot of rough guys on the island there walking around with machetes. We were going around the world. And I came up with, you know, these guys are looking at these Howleys, the Whities. And you just threw a smile out to them. I called it, if you throw a smile out, it’s like a boomerang. If you throw a smile out,


Martin Rowinski (03:40.544)



Steve wright (03:48.184)

One’s gonna come back to you.


Martin Rowinski (03:50.19)

Yeah, it’s contagious. So I’ve been told. That’s awesome. So let’s talk a little bit. I start with the beginning of your journey, which I would call that NFL. I’m sure there’s there’s other stuff before that. But your journey with NFL, I believe you started with Cowboys, Colts and Raiders. And then that leading into entrepreneurship. What did that look like for you? How did how did NFL come around?


Steve wright (03:53.048)

It is. Yeah.


Steve wright (04:20.184)

I went to the University of Northern Iowa. I grew up in Minneapolis, four hours south was a University of Northern Iowa. They had a dome stadium, the second one in the country. Had four great years there. About my junior year in college, I started receiving some letters and I hadn’t thought about playing in the NFL. There’s not a chance that that wasn’t me. And one of the things in my book is really staying present. I just really enjoyed playing.


my freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year, you know, just really into it with all my buddies and just having fun, but working as hard as I possibly can. And again, so like my junior year, I started getting a few letters from pro teams and I was like, wow, what is this? And then it increased my senior year and then Cowboys really started pushing it. And so then I got past the draft and I had a couple of guys, I was not drafted.


I got home after watching the draft. It passed me by and there’s a couple of guys and one of them was from the Dallas Cowboys and he signed me to a contract. And so I became one of 120 free agents to make the Dallas Cowboys in 1981. 120 of us show up and every day next to the weigh in, the scale was the list of everybody’s name. And every day there would be three or four names.


just redacted out, just Black Sharpie across their name. And I hung in there and myself and two other guys made the Cowboys that year out of 120. And just fighting and believing and as cliche as it sounds, I worked harder than I think anybody. The Cowboys obviously saw something good in there with a work ethic and.


thinking ahead, knowing what the next drill is. And I was always the first one over there, helping other guys that may be having trouble on the line that, you know, they’re my competition, but they just had enough confidence. And also too, one thing that I really want to stress is I had five other roommates at training camp and they were all thinking ahead to that scrimmaging a week or two weeks against the 49ers or something.


Steve wright (06:43.256)

And I’m just thinking, my name is going to be redacted tomorrow afternoon. So all I’m thinking about is tomorrow morning and I’m going to get tomorrow morning hell. And then you go to lunch and you kind of know, oh my gosh, you got to go back and weigh in. And I’m still on the team. So all I’m thinking about is the afternoon. And so I kept my vision just really narrow and all five guys disappeared over the course of the next three or four weeks. I spent the last week and a half in the room by myself. Um,


But it’s just staying very present, I think, is what I really owe it to.


Martin Rowinski (07:18.03)

That’s awesome. And your dream came true. You played NFL and you ended up at Raiders, right?


Steve wright (07:22.55)

Did we freeze?


I think I lost you.


Martin Rowinski (07:29.454)

Sorry, did you lose me?


Steve wright (07:30.98)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So from the Cowboys, I’m not sure where I lost you. It looked like the screen froze. From the Dallas Cowboys, I got traded going into my third year to the Baltimore Colts and got there. And it turned out it was a great move because I would have been a backup with the Dallas Cowboys, the Americas team. And so I went from the…


Martin Rowinski (07:37.134)

Yeah, no problem. Yeah, our boys too. Go ahead.


Steve wright (07:56.888)

pretty much the top team to the worst team. And so I got to start right away that first week and played, played great there for a year. And then I found out like everybody else, the team moved to Indianapolis, went to Indianapolis with them. They were the lowest paying team in the NFL. So at about that same time, the USFL had started and they were coming in and pulling guys from the NFL offering a ton of money.


Martin Rowinski (08:13.454)

. . .


Steve wright (08:26.52)

Um, and so I jumped on that and ended up in Oakland, but the Oakland invaders with the USFL. I played one year there in the league folded after we were in the championship game. My head coach got named Charlie Sumner had been the defensive coordinator for the Raiders down in Los Angeles. And when the league folded, he brought myself and a couple of the guys down to the Raiders in LA and tried out and stuck there for the next seven years.


Martin Rowinski (08:54.382)

Oh, that’s awesome. And is that how you ended up staying in Southern California? Because I know you’re still there.


Steve wright (08:58.904)

Yes, sir. Yeah, it was just, uh, yeah, it was, uh, I came up with a little business. I think we’re going to probably talk about my cloud burst. Uh, but I came up with that about three years before I retired and I had already started to work that in the off season. Um, and so when the team moved up to Oakland, I retired instead of going up, I could apply struggle through another year, maybe two up in Oakland, but I had an opportunity. I think that if I focused on it,


Martin Rowinski (09:05.518)

Yes. Yep.


Steve wright (09:25.496)

I could have really done something with it. And I did, just kind of just walked out in the entrepreneurial plank and gave it everything I had and ended up, it just exploded. I got in two different kinds of cloud burst. Well, we can get into all that, but.


Martin Rowinski (09:42.094)

Yeah, yeah, we’re about to jump into that and talk about your timing, which was perfect. But before we jump into that one, curious when you played NFL, because I know you are and we’ll also get into another area. But everybody out there knows you’re super lean. I think you like cycling as well. I know you said you used to run, but you’re super lean. You’re leaned out. You look great. But what was your weight when you played NFL?


Steve wright (09:44.856)



Steve wright (10:12.28)

It started off with the Dallas Cowboys. This was way back in the early 80s when we’re blocking for Tony Dorsett. You were fined if you were over 275 pounds. It was a completely different game back then. And then in 1983, the Washington Redskins came out with a big group of offensive linemen they called the Hogs. And there was a couple 300 pounders. And it was just a smash mouth kind of football that…


Martin Rowinski (10:15.79)



Steve wright (10:41.368)

ended up the whole league started changing and putting weight on all the guys. And so then I had to take my weight up and just stuff in my face and everything I could to keep my weight up, really working out like a beast in the off season, putting 20, 30 pounds on. So I went from playing with the Cowboys at 260 up to 300 at one point with the Raiders, but I played my best at about 285, 290. I could run and yeah, that was.


Martin Rowinski (11:08.622)

That is crazy looking at you right now to imagine that it’s, that’s nuts.


Steve wright (11:14.232)

Yeah, it was, it was so nice to get through with football to start eating normally. Instead of taking a piece of the bed, actually, you know, in training camp, when you’re losing six, seven, eight pounds of practice and you got two practices, you’re losing, you know, a good 14 pounds a day and you’ve got to have it back on the next day. So there’s a fine balance of eating, you drinking your fluids, but also eating. Um, yeah, it was, it was a wrestling match. So as soon as I got through with football, um,


Martin Rowinski (11:36.224)



Steve wright (11:43.8)

I just really trimmed back and I turned into a vegan for a while and then vegetarian and then started throwing some fish and some other things in there. But just eating a lot lighter. And like they say, the abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. So just started watching, shoving the junk in.


Martin Rowinski (12:00.942)

That is so true.


Martin Rowinski (12:06.99)

Yeah, it is so true. So you’ve got three years left. You came up with an idea. Entrepreneurship kicks in. You still got a great brand. You’re obviously an NFL player. You’ve made some connections. I’m going to guess that all that helps out. But you come up with Cloudburst. So where did that idea come from? And


Talk a little bit about the impact in professional sports, but also US military, NASA, and 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, I believe, right? Cloudburst was part of that.


Steve wright (12:38.968)



Steve wright (12:46.808)

Yeah, it’s a big story and I’ll tell you the condensed version, but I go into it, it’s a whole chapter in my book, Aggressively Human. But I was in Palm Springs about a month before training camp started. And I know being in the Coliseum in the early preseason games, it’s bloody hot in there, you know, 80 degrees and there’s not a breath of air stirring. I’m in Palm Springs and it’s a hundred degrees over there.


And I’m sitting at a Mexican restaurant in the midst, which I’d never seen before, is blowing around on the patrons. And it’s just keeping the air so cool. And I thought, wow, what a great idea. Why don’t we put this above our bench? And so I talked to the manager. He showed me how to do it. I brought it back, the idea back to Archel, who was our coach at the time. And it took three pitches, two times. He said, get the hell out of my office. That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard of. And so I, but when you.


When you believe in something like that, when I believe in something, I’m a dog on a bone and I’m not going to let up on that. And I saw, I went back gave him one more shot and he said, all right, you can put that up for this first preseason game, but if it pisses anybody off, I’m going to tear it down. I said, I’ll tear it down with you. So we probably got out there about four or five hours before the game started, put this thing up. Sure enough, it was 80 degrees. There wasn’t a breath of air stirring. And I had this mist blowing all over the players and it was.


everybody was flipping. It was it was beyond awesome. The other sideline with cooking. And then so we stayed cool. And when the game was over, one of the ball boys came up to me and handed me a business card from a Hollywood racetrack. It’s a horse park out here in Los Angeles that now was where SoFi Stadium with the Chargers and the Rams play. So they gutted that place out. But there was a


huge racetrack there. So I ended up taking my missing up to the racetrack and my first job I ever did. I actually had my first business meeting with all my pads on. I ran over to the bleachers there and talked to a couple guys and they gave me their number and again their card again. It kind of just took off from there. I got home, I thought, wow, I got a little idea here. So it was nothing I invented. I just saw a


Steve wright (15:11.704)

something that’s remarkable and just brought it to different applications. Like you were saying, aircraft carriers, you know, out in the middle of nowhere or Burlington Northern, but they’re building tracks out in the desert, a place where that just needs it. Major League Baseball, I was with the Dodgers and the Angels and a few other teams. And I didn’t really do a lot of marketing. It was just people were finding it and there’s just a lot of word of mouth. I ended up bringing on a guy. I’m more of a sales guy and upfront.


person. I needed somebody to handle my books, our books. And so I found a buddy and screened him. Really got to know him over probably six months. Wanted to meet his parents. I wanted to really understand who this guy was that I’m getting ready to climb in bed with and give him half my business. There was no worth to it at the time. I gave him 50%. We were 50 % owners. And now, you know,


Everybody call you crazy for doing that, but I just had a gut instinct. Plus I needed him really bad and I needed him so much that I was willing to give him half. Let’s just take this thing and work together. And he and I spent many lunches and dinners talking about it and just getting to know his soul and trusting him completely. And so we just, you know, put a contract out and split the company 50 50 and never had any issues at all. It was it was an amazing experience to.


Martin Rowinski (16:37.262)

Sounds like a great partnership. Yeah. And speaking of giving, I know you also love global giving. You provide sports equipment to over a million children across 35 countries. Is that correct?


Steve wright (16:37.976)

Yeah, they do something like that. Yeah.


Steve wright (16:56.184)

Yes. If you don’t mind, I’d love to just tell you one Olympic story about treating people with kindness and treat them like humans and be kind to everybody. That’s another big theme in the book. But about three or four years before I retired, I didn’t even have this business yet. But a guy is in the locker room trying to sell a new football cleat.


Martin Rowinski (17:02.126)

Yes, please. Yeah.


Steve wright (17:26.168)

and nobody was giving him the time of day. And I finally, I saw him and he kept walking around and said, dude, give me your shoe. Let me see what this thing is. It was the same old shoe. It wasn’t any different than my Convert shoe that I was under contract with. I said, let me try it. I’ll try it for this game. He flipped. So he goes, he goes back to his office and says, I got a Raider to wear the shoe. And sure enough, I’m wearing it out there in the stadium and during the game. And he is just a rock star in his brand new startup company that he’s got a football shoe.


with the NFL. And so I didn’t think much about it. I wore the shoe. Four years later, I retire. Three years after that, I go with my partner to Atlanta to try to pitch and get the contract to get the 96 Summer Olympics. And I’m in there with Raytheon, with GE, and all these other massive companies.


And so we did our little dog and pony show and came back to Venice, California. And two weeks later, I got a call from this guy and he says, Hey, congratulations. You got the contract, the coolest summer Olympics. And I went, Whoa, wait a minute. I wasn’t for sure expecting to get that. Um, and I said, well, how in the heck do you do that? He goes, you don’t remember me. He didn’t even recognize me up there, but my name is Mike Ariano and I was the shoe guy in your locker room.


Martin Rowinski (18:38.924)



Steve wright (18:50.904)

And you were the only one that treated me like a human. Everybody else was pushing me, getting me out of the way. You’re the only one that treated me kind and wore a shoe. I was a hero. Now it’s your turn. I want to pay you back. And I believe in you that you can do this. And that’s how I got the 96 summer Olympics, which paid massively for these machines. And it was, it was, I’m actually almost, it’s 50 -50. Just as proud of that, if not a little bit.


out than making 11 years in the NFL. I really did this on my own, just with my partner, but they both been just such a thrill. And it’s, yeah, just treating people alike. So I had to get that story out because it was pretty remarkable. And I go into a lot more depth of it in the book.


Martin Rowinski (19:21.486)



Martin Rowinski (19:40.526)

I’m glad you shared that story. That is a great story What by the way did the shoe ever make it? What was the shoe brand? Okay


Steve wright (19:45.272)



I don’t remember. I don’t think so. I don’t think so. But it was fine. It was just I think, you know, I think Puma and Adidas and Converse and they had the market. There was no room for it.


Martin Rowinski (20:00.014)

Yeah, no, they did. Yeah, they did. That’s a tough market to enter, but what goes around comes around and it came around for you and that is crazy. Great story. Let’s talk a little bit about Survivor, the TV show that you were on. Reality TV, you were a member of Zapatera 6? That was the name, right?


Steve wright (20:07.32)

It sure does. It sure does. Yeah.


Steve wright (20:26.392)



Martin Rowinski (20:29.006)

and you’re best remembered for orchestrating the throwing of an immunity challenge to blindside notorious villain Russell Hunt. So share a little bit. I mean, I’m going to take a wild guess that being an NFL player, being a leader, being innovative definitely helped you out.


Steve wright (20:39.32)



Steve wright (20:44.28)

Yeah, yeah.


Steve wright (20:56.568)

I think so. So I’m down. I go down to Fox Studio to hang out with my buddy, Howie Long, maybe once a year and sit there on the Fox Studio with Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson. And it’s just yucking up with the boys for a couple of hours and hanging out in the green room. And the lead casting director was in was in there with me and with her two kids. And she ended up asking me if I wanted to try trying out for.


Survivor and I had never seen the show and this is again part of What I talked about in the book is when a door creaks open just a little bit charged through it if it even Sounds good and I try to tell this to everybody I speak to charge through it You might run into another wall, but at least you didn’t go home thinking coulda woulda shoulda Damn, I wish I were to call for I should have said yes You know I could have driven back to my home and just been bummed it. No, I’ll call her mom and I probably never reach her again


Martin Rowinski (21:45.088)



Steve wright (21:57.112)

You know, and I said yes. And next thing I know, I’m landing in Nicaragua for 30 days of starvation. I ended up losing 33 pounds, I think, in 31 days. I was in the show. I was the last last voted off my tribe. Yeah, I ended up getting every together, get rid of one of our guys, as Russell Hans, who was just a dirty dog. He’s stealing from me. It’s just.


Martin Rowinski (22:21.838)

Ha ha ha!


Steve wright (22:25.208)

stealing from his own tribe. You the tribe is like a team, like an offensive line. You got to stay together until something starts happening. But he started pulling the plug too fast. So we got rid of him. That show is 100 percent real. I had never seen it before. And I was shocked at just how little you have. I had a handful of rice every day for to eat. But that was it. It was. It was it was.


I ended up coming home. So I ended up, after the show was over, I flew back to Los Angeles. I hadn’t seen my parents or talked to them in two months. They really isolate you. I was going to go see them when my front tooth was bothering me. And so before I went, I went and saw my dentist. He took an x -ray and came around and goes, my God, I’ve never seen so much bacteria. He goes, we got to pull that thing right now. I said, wait a minute, what? What do you mean you got to pull my front tooth?


Martin Rowinski (23:21.934)

Oh my god.


Steve wright (23:22.104)

I said, there’s more bacteria in there. This kills people in third world countries. So I pulled my front tooth out. So I go see my parents a couple of days later. I’m 33 pounds lighter. I’m missing my front tooth. They’re just going like, oh, Lord, what’s happening to you? It was an awesome experience. Yeah, just living with little. You learn to really work together with people you don’t like. But that’s…


That’s the same as an NFL team or any team. You might not like somebody in your soccer team, but you’re working together. If you’re going to be a successful team, you bury all that stuff and you give it the best you can. And I think that’s where leadership really comes up. I had offensive linemen trying to take my position when I was with the Raiders. And I would stay after practice and work with these guys just to get them better, just in case I went down.


Martin Rowinski (24:09.554)



Steve wright (24:21.176)

And coaches saw that. And so, yeah, it’s just the life is life is a team thing. And leadership, I think, rises to the occasion that somebody that’s going to take the bull by the horn and and, you know, lead the lead the team to get rid of a Russell Hans or, you know, your voice starts getting respected. And it’s not not not trying to look for that respect. It’s just something that.


Martin Rowinski (24:24.942)



Steve wright (24:50.59)

organically happens.


Martin Rowinski (24:52.782)

Yeah. And did your perspective on life and adventure change after the show?


Steve wright (24:59.512)



I kind of went in there knowing myself and I’ve been a Buddhist for, I don’t know, probably 25 years or 20 years, something like that, and meditating. So I really knew myself. I was comfortable with who I am, comfortable with how I wanted to treat people, you know, how to, just how to deal with life, which has really helped me just stay cool and calm and carry on. But,


No, they asked me a couple years later if I wanted to come back and I said, hell no. I lost 33 pounds on my front tooth. I want to keep the rest of my teeth. But no, I don’t think I really changed after that. I had never really seen the show before. I watched my season and haven’t watched the show since.


Martin Rowinski (25:53.23)

All right, let’s jump into something I’ve been looking forward to. Your book titled Aggressively Human offers a profound exploration into the essence of human experience, challenging readers to embrace their complexities and imperfections. You write about the notion that true strength and growth stem from acknowledging our vulnerabilities and the inherent messiness of being human.


Steve wright (25:58.136)



Steve wright (26:13.322)



Martin Rowinski (26:22.254)

The narrative is both uplifting and grounding, reminding us that our struggles and triumphs are what make us uniquely human. The book also serves as a call to action for readers to live more authentically and compassionately, both towards themselves and others. You mentioned that in an age where society pressures, a digital faqaid often dictate our self -worth, it’s more important than ever to champion


authenticity and empathy. It inspires a journey of self -discovery and self -acceptance, advocating for a life lived with intention and heart. So talk a little bit about the book more than what I just mentioned. That’s just my rough assumption.


Steve wright (27:08.638)

That’s quite a bit. That was quite a bit. That was nice. That was a nice synopsis. I like that. You have to send that to me. I think it’s good timing. A lot of my life has been pretty fortunate timing. And I think just the world, for sure the states and everything else is just getting so divided over, you know.


the Republican or Democrat or vaccines or Palestine and Israel or something. And it’s not just talking back and forth. It’s getting redlined ugly and mean and nasty. And this is where you, you know, just as society is, as hard as it is, you got to listen to somebody else or just don’t even touch, you know, bring the subject up. My wife has just told me a story about that just the other day.


She met somebody for the first time and within two minutes, it came on, she started talking about vaccines. And it’s like, me, but no, we’re not here to talk about that. She’s a writer. She me, write this book. And it’s just like, what? Why are we going down this side of the road? Yeah, I’ve read quite a lot of things.


big man, I was 6 ‘6″, 280, and guys wanting to get up in my face and I’d talk them out of it or have to get myself out of it instead of, you know, wrestling up with them. I had to do that a few times. But it was just a theme that kind of developed from the loving, compassionate family that I grew up in. Very loving mom and dad who supported everything I did and I saw how my dad treated others.


You know, as a little 10 year old, I talked about, you know, you’re around your parents or other things and everybody thinks that the little kids don’t see things. And I didn’t really realize a lot of what I had seen just in prejudice of being at a country club, a white country club, and seeing the way some of my dad’s friends or some might treat me, but then treat.


Martin Rowinski (29:02.446)



Steve wright (29:21.174)

you know, somebody shining their shoes a whole different way. And I was like, you know, you’re 10 years old and you don’t have a voice and you’re not gonna say anything. You’re kind of like, I don’t look right. That’s odd that he would treat him that way and be nice to me. And so those things kind of just stewed inside of me. And as I grew, I became more aware of it and have stories in there. Yeah, just everything from prejudice to…


Martin Rowinski (29:22.4)



Martin Rowinski (29:34.766)



Steve wright (29:50.316)

I don’t know, just where we going with all this? Yeah. Yeah, right.


Martin Rowinski (29:53.118)

Well, I will go somewhere with it. So, you know, it’s a great book. I gave it a synopsis, but to me, one of the powerful messages in the book, Aggressively Human, and I’m going to quote you here, but it really, for me, it really cuts to the heart of what it means to be a leader.


And you write, true leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge. It’s a profound reminder that leadership transcends the conventional boundaries of authority and power, but it’s about empathy, about creating space where everyone feels seen, heard, and supported. That’s to me, and I mean, if I can go on and on, really,


Steve wright (30:35.694)



Steve wright (30:49.016)



Martin Rowinski (30:49.358)

us to rethink our approach on leadership. It’s not about directives of our mandates, but about nurturing, guiding and empowering those around us. I mean, that’s what I felt out of it.


Steve wright (30:59.35)

Right now.


Yeah, that’s I’ve always been like that. I’ve always been a teen guy, no matter if it’s just my partner and I or being with large groups or, you know, NFL or my tribe down in Nicaragua with, you know, eight or nine other people. And yeah, they did look up to me as the football player and kind of the big guy in our leader. And I just kind of I enjoyed that role, but I don’t want to take that role. I want all of us to be empowered. I want everybody to be a leader.


Um, because I could have gotten voted out of there, but I just wanted the team to win. But yeah, it’s just, uh, I, I, I’ve got a 33 year old son and really try to, um, share those, uh, little tidbits of, you can’t come in acting like the leader and you see so much of that now with the NFL and players and, you know, they’re gonna, they’re gonna be the guy. And it’s like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a team sport.


Martin Rowinski (31:32.578)



Steve wright (31:59.928)

And so I just, that’s the path that I’ve been on and it’s been successful for me and it’s worked for me. The book is not a, you know, a you should book and this is the way you should do it. This, Life Short, treat people as coin is in sound, treat people how you would like to be treated. And like you were saying earlier, Martin, if you can bring a smile to someone’s face, you had a successful day. And that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s,


Martin Rowinski (32:13.442)

Yep. Exactly. That’s awesome.


Steve wright (32:29.522)

part of my simple message.


Martin Rowinski (32:34.03)

Do you have any tips for maintaining physical and mental wellness, especially for former athletes transitioning to new phases of their lives?


Steve wright (32:39.764)

Keep your noodle active. I play a game, an app every morning called Elevate. You can get it on the app store. It’s a great tool, a useful tool to play with adverbs or adjectives or division or.


memorization tools. So I do that. Keep the brain active, you know, looking for other opportunities. I just, my wife and I, we couldn’t touch on it a whole lot, but we traveled around the world for eight months and down through Tonga, doing with the global giving, handing things out, working with Habitat for Humanity. See it as the…


So a couple of the groups, but we traveled around the world and I came up with an idea for a toilet. And so it just, I’d never done a patent before and I have a patent in toilet now that I’m approaching 30 different toilet company manufacturers. And it’s unique obviously with a patent on it. It’s got the squatty potty built into it. I’m not an engineer, got someone to draw up some plans and we work back and forth. You turn around, you face the…


the tank. It’s ADA compliant so a wheelchair can roll up to it and they can slide forward onto the toilet, do their thing and slide back. I always tore my heart out to see someone struggling hanging onto the door and trying to turn around. It’s got all the buttons in it but I came up with this when we were staying in 50 different Airbnbs and always looking around for the toilet paper or the flush or you know.


So it comes out of weird places. Just keep your mind active. You know, I get that the elevate or play crossword puzzles. Read a lot. In that time when we left, we got rid of everything we own pretty much. My wife and I are the biggest minimalist you’ve ever seen. I haven’t had a television in five years. I don’t know anything that’s on TV. It just…


Martin Rowinski (34:57.934)

Ha ha ha.


Steve wright (34:59.512)

And we never get bored. We go to sleep at eight o ‘clock. I’m up at 430. I meditate for 15, 20 minutes, something like that. Do my elevate. And then we just start eating really healthy. And she eats from pretty much about six o ‘clock in the morning to about noon. I go to about three o ‘clock. Just make sure I’ve got plenty of protein. And your body needs protein. So I’m putting in a gram of protein per body pound. I weigh 240. So I’m eating


Martin Rowinski (35:27.566)



Steve wright (35:28.216)

I try to put in about 250 grams of protein a day. Which has a couple of heavy shakes with a lot of protein in there. Eggs and turkey and I’ve kind of, I just haven’t gotten back into the red meat thing.


Martin Rowinski (35:41.536)

And you stay active.


Steve wright (35:45.332)

stay super active. We live on a surf point here, so I’m stand up paddle surfing. As soon as the waves come in, I just was with three or four of my buddies working out every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I went from there to the beach to run.


Yeah, keep active. I haven’t drank. I just know for no particular reason. I just, not that I was drinking a lot, but I just, I don’t drink really alcohol anymore. I’ve had one beer sitting in my fridge forever. It’s just the way I look at it now, it’s just dead calories. And if I’m gonna have calories, they’re gonna be something good. And so it’s really helped me mentally just kind of get away from a margarita or something like that. Even though they’re fun to have and I’ll have one, that’s not super stringent.


I’m out with friends and we’re going over to the desert here in a couple weeks. I’ll have a margarita over there and you know, be fine. We’ll have dinner at eight o ‘clock or seven o ‘clock at night. But this is just our lifestyle. My wife and I are just hand in glove with each other. I’m eating right. We just we are. We kind of actually she was laughing about this morning just how clean our refrigerators. So if it junks out around, you know, we don’t have the chips around. We don’t have the sugar. I mean, I’m sure.


Martin Rowinski (36:58.83)

You’re not gonna eat him.


Steve wright (37:01.112)

Yeah. And so if I’m going to have something as a snack late in the day, I’ll roll up some turkey or something like that and shove that in a couple of hard boiled eggs. And it just satiates me for the rest of the day. Um, get a good night’s sleep and yeah, the protein stay on top of your protein. Um, your body needs it and, and stay on top of your lifting. Um, stay active, keep your legs strong. As you get older, you need those, you know, those are.


old people falling and breaking their hips and everything else. Yeah, keeping the weight off, doing yoga. Yeah. It’s out there. It’s out there and everybody can do it. It’s not rocket science. It’s just, and you don’t need extra books or manuals. Just do it. Do something. Go for a walk, you know. And if it’s consistent, you’ll see the difference. You’ll feel the difference.


Martin Rowinski (37:33.358)

Let’s ask them.


Yeah, you look great. That’s awesome.


Martin Rowinski (37:55.31)

Absolutely. Now I got a couple of fun questions. With your extensive background in sports and business, and obviously you’re extremely creative, so this should be fun. If you were to create a new sport that combined elements of entrepreneurship and atlas, atlasism, what would it look like?


Steve wright (38:07.64)



Martin Rowinski (38:19.918)

on the spot.


Steve wright (38:21.736)

Oh wow, that’s a different one. Let’s see, I’ll do something with QuickBooks, I know that best. I would sure like to see, I’ve actually got a PowerPoint on this as well that I pushed to the NFL and the different.


NFL players association groups around the country. I sent it to half a dozen of them, but to take football and take it futuristic, um, locking the helmet to the shoulder pads. And I’ve got a whole PowerPoint on this. I’d be happy to send you, um, but to keep the head from getting snapped, I think with what’s killing me and I don’t watch football much anymore is because it’s not.


really football the way I grew up. And I don’t want to sound like an old guy, but I am. And that’s when football was football and it was violent. But also too, there was a lot of damage done to guys knees, their brains, everything else. It doesn’t have to be like that. If I was an owner of a team and I paid you $10 million as an offense alignment to get out there and protect their quarterback and you’re not wearing knee braces.


Martin Rowinski (39:45.166)



Steve wright (39:47.992)

You’re not going to play for me. It’s like sending an Indianapolis 500 driver out there. You don’t have to wear your seat belt. No, you’re going to take every precaution. And knee braces do not slow you down. I wore them my whole career. And they never slowed me down. I got 11 years out of it. I bent and broke probably a half a dozen knee braces. Every lineman, at least in the trench, when there’s 300 pound guys falling around, they need to be wearing knee braces. And you see their pants rolled up.


Martin Rowinski (39:50.766)



Steve wright (40:17.912)

I can’t even believe you would jeopardize your career, not just this season, but it’s not just you that you’re going to hurt. If you’re not wearing a knee brace, you go down. It’s all the jerseys of all the kids that were wearing Steve Wright jerseys. They came to watch you, but you’re done for the season because you blew your knee out because a guy fell into you. And then you’re hurting your family. You might be able to football now. So now your income is going to drop. You’re not just hurting.


Martin Rowinski (40:43.278)



Steve wright (40:47.576)

you’re hearing the line as well, because they’re used to playing with me for the last five years and we’re a cohesive unit. There’s different things you can do, locking the helmets, but the helmets could still move, but they’re not going to have the snapping action. My hope was always going to be that they would improve the equipment. It’s available. There’s so many available things. I mean, just the simple mask. I was the first one to start wearing a mask over my eyes. And everybody made fun of me. And two years later, our…


All -Pro Center Don Mosbar got his eye poked out and ended his career. I got my eye poked a few times. I put a glass shield over it and I was good to go. The tools are there. The NFL keeps, you know, and viewership is climbing like crazy. So what I would bring to them is just they just laugh me away because it’s continuing to climb. But guys are just not lasting as long.


I don’t know. It’s so that that’s that’s that that’s never to be my game. I would outfit the guys to hit harder, to hit more complete, but not hurt anybody. No, but no player wants to see another player hurt, but they want to blow you up and separate the ball from you. If you’re carrying the ball, they want to send you in the next week. But they but they’re always looking back. They might. You know, it tears their heart out to see that they hurt you.


Martin Rowinski (42:07.63)



Steve wright (42:16.184)

So make the game safer, but make it more violent. Stop putting all the penalties in and stoppage of games. The games are three hours and 12 minutes long and there’s only 11 minutes of real action out of a 3 hour and 12 minute game. It’s a crime and it’s bored me.


Martin Rowinski (42:16.972)



Martin Rowinski (42:34.35)

Yeah, I kind of yeah, being a soccer player, I noticed that in football, like, and then I actually had to look at Applemo, how much actual action is there? And it’s always average 11 minutes. It’s crazy. You can literally watch it in 11 minutes. Yeah, that’s pretty wild. Last question, looking back on your career, everything you’ve done from entrepreneurship, from NFL,


Steve wright (42:36.056)

That’s my game.


Steve wright (42:50.328)

It is. It is. Yeah. Yeah.


Martin Rowinski (43:03.8)

where you’re at right now from your personal life. If you were to go back and give your younger self one piece of advice or some kind of insight to the future, but you can’t do it just tell yourself it’s got to be a riddle. What would the riddle be?


Steve wright (43:08.248)



Steve wright (43:23.352)

You’re killing me. You’re killing me.


Martin Rowinski (43:27.822)

Told you it’d be fun.


Steve wright (43:32.632)

I don’t even know a riddle. Can I have the next question or can I take behind the… Give me what’s… What?


Martin Rowinski (43:37.448)

All right, all right, it doesn’t have to be a riddle. Let’s come up with the riddle. Now, go ahead and tell me what you would tell yourself and let’s see if both of us can come up with a riddle out of that.


Steve wright (44:00.408)



Steve wright (44:04.824)

but I would do different.




Martin Rowinski (44:13.774)

Did you question the NFL or did you go after it? Did you have any doubt?


Steve wright (44:21.144)

I didn’t question it. It was never a big dream of mine when I was a kid. I just thought it was really cool, like every other little kid. I thought it was cool up through high school and into college, but I never gave it a thought. Never even crossed my mind that I was going to play in the NFL. And all of a I started getting letters. I was like, wow, this is crazy. But kind of took off from there. Always believed.


Martin Rowinski (44:46.158)

So maybe the riddle would be something to motivate. Make sure you stay on that.


Steve wright (44:52.088)



Martin Rowinski (44:53.038)

And again, you don’t have to come up with the riddle. I know that’s.


Steve wright (44:54.712)

Yeah, I don’t know because it served me again. It served me again just being present and not thinking that I’m going to be in the NFL. So if I was thinking that I was going to be in the NFL, it might have changed who I was. I might have gotten my nose a little higher and told my buddies, you guys are you guys are weak. I’m going to be going to the NFL. You know, I don’t know. It was just I played my heart out in ninth grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, you know, up into my


Martin Rowinski (45:08.91)

Yeah, that’s true.


Steve wright (45:24.332)

senior year of college and just hung with them and just had a ball and stayed present. And all of a sudden, boom, I landed in the NFL and had a ball there and just stayed present. I was absolutely shocked that all of a sudden it’s year three, it’s year seven, it’s year 10. I was like, wow, where does this time flow? But just stayed present and just gave it the best I could, as hard as I could at that moment.


Martin Rowinski (45:51.598)

Yeah, that’s that I’ve been asked that question and I have a hard time answering because I feel a lot like you. There’s really not easy life. It was pretty tough, but I think it’s all part of what made us who we are today and I wouldn’t want to change any of that.


Steve wright (46:12.888)

I really, really wouldn’t, Martin. I think for some reason, you know, the mind intervention or something, I don’t know. It’s just I’m really happy the way I’ve led my life. Yeah, I’ve been a knucklehead just like everybody else, you know, when you’re young and crazy. And I got plenty of those stories in my book when I landed in Dallas. You know, I don’t know how I made it.


Martin Rowinski (46:33.23)

I’m going to go ahead and close the video.


Steve wright (46:38.584)

out of Dallas because I was 21 years old driving a convertible Cadillac and had an Afro like this with an Afro pick in it and shirt unbuttoned down to my belly button. So if I made it through that okay, I was home free.


Martin Rowinski (46:41.486)



Martin Rowinski (46:56.462)

That’s awesome. Well, I want to thank you, Steve, for your insights, your contribution to sports, definitely to entrepreneurship, and in your discussion in the books, and I highly recommend if you haven’t picked up Steve’s book, go get a copy aggressively human. And until next talks at boards leadership talks. Go ahead. Yes.


Steve wright (47:23.096)

I would, I would.


Could I just say to please visit my website, writeauthor .com, W -R -I -G -H -T, writeauthor .com. There’s a link there to Amazon. You’ll see a whole bunch of photos of Bo Jackson and me in the trenches and games and quite a few other things in there. And then if you want to, you can DM me. And it has my…


Instagram and my Facebook in there. DM me and I’ll send, I can send you out a book, a personalized autograph book if you’d like that, or it’s also at Amazon.


Martin Rowinski (48:04.11)

Awesome. Thank you. And I’ll put all of that in the bottom of the episode. So there’ll be a link to your website. So again, Steve, thank you so much for everything. Thank you. Awesome. Till next time. Talk to you later.


Steve wright (48:13.632)



Steve wright (48:17.698)

Thank you, Martin. I really enjoyed the time. Appreciate it.


Steve wright (48:23.832)

Bye bye.



More to explorer

Making a Difference: A Guide to Serving on a Board

Making a Difference: The Rewarding Path of Serving on a Board
Serving on a board allows you to contribute your skills to a cause you care about, while gaining valuable knowledge and expanding your network. This article explores the key considerations for those considering board service, equipping you to make an informed decision and excel in this important role.

Is serving on a board right for you? BoardsI can help you navigate the path to impactful board service. Contact us today!

Sharpening the Strategic Edge: The Importance of Executive Board Education

Executive boards navigate a complex business landscape. Executive board education equips them with the specialized knowledge and skills needed to excel. Discover how board education programs enhance financial acumen, strategic thinking, and industry knowledge, empowering boards to drive long-term organizational success.

Partner with BoardsI to invest in Executive Board Education and cultivate a high-performing board that propels your organization forward.

Global Governance: Cultivating International Diversity in Board Composition

In today’s interconnected world, the composition of corporate boards serves as a cornerstone of internal governance and a catalyst for global economic and social dynamics. In a thought-provoking exploration titled “Global Governance: Cultivating International Diversity in Board Composition,” Boardsi delves into the pivotal role of international diversity in board composition and its profound implications for global governance. By dissecting the current state of board diversity in the United States and its ripple effects worldwide, this insightful piece uncovers the barriers hindering inclusive boardrooms and proposes actionable strategies to overcome these challenges. From embracing diverse perspectives to fostering a culture of creativity and resilience, the article underscores the transformative power of inclusive leadership in driving organizational success in today’s fast-paced global landscape. For organizations committed to navigating the complexities of global governance with agility and foresight, Boardsi offers invaluable insights and practical strategies to cultivate diverse and effective boardrooms that propel sustainable growth and innovation.

This will close in 0 seconds