What We Can Learn From Peyton Manning’s Work Ethic

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Full Disclosure: I am a Denver native and I bleed Bronco orange. I love Tim Tebow as person and a player. That being said, I am ecstatic that Peyton Manning will be Denver’s starting quarterback next season.

Although it’s sad to see a guy with the class, the character, and the work ethic of a Tim Tebow move out of town, he’s being supplanted by someone who, many experts believe, is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. And that guy is also a man of great class, character, and uncompromising work ethic.

A few months ago, I posted a blog about Tebow’s work ethic. And since work ethic is what we do here, it’s only fitting that we address Manning’s.

Doing the difficult and unpleasant stuff

What is it about Peyton Manning that has made him a Super Bowl champion and the league’s MVP a record four times? As superstars in every profession are noted for doing, this 36-year-old QB once again ate the frog before he ate the steak. In other words, he did the hard, difficult, unpleasant work before he the did easy, fun thing.

Imagine you have half dozen companies all vying for your services, each offering you an obscene amount of money and rolling out the red carpet for you. (Nice thought, huh?) The eyes of the world are on you as you try to determine which of these companies will ‘win’ you over. After much deliberation, you reach a decision. Calling the winner, the company you have decided to go to work for, is an easy call to make. There’s certain to be a lot of joy and celebration on both ends of the phone.

But how would you notify those five other suitors that they had lost out? You wouldn’t have to, you know. The news would spread in seconds, and each would find out without you ever calling them.

Besides, you’re not obligated to call them, and if you felt a call was in order, you could get an agent or representative to make those awkward calls for you? Better yet, just send an email or text, cause that’s the new way to break up, isn’t it?

The mark of a champion

But that’s not how Peyton rolls. Before he called John Elway, Vice President of the Broncos, to inform him that he was coming to play for him, Peyton had already personally called the other five teams and told them of his decision, and to tell them how much he appreciated their interest. Those were not easy calls to make.

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Next fall, Peyton Manning will be the highest paid quarterback in NFL history, but that isn’t happening just because he has a God-given talent for throwing a football. There’s another dimension to super-stardom that is seldom discussed and it is not glorious.

Peyton proved once again that he’s not above eating a frog when there’s one that needs to be eliminated. His teammates know it, his coaches know it, and the league knows that Manning will always eat a frog before tearing into his steak.

Because that’s the mark of a true champion.

This was originally published on Eric Chester’s Reviving Work Ethic blog. His new book is Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce. For copies, visit revivingworkethic.com.

Eric Chester is a leading voice in the global dialogue on employee engagement, and building a world-class workplace culture. He's an in-the-trenches researcher on the topic of the millennial mindset, and the dynamics of attracting, managing, motivating and retaining top talent. Chester is a Hall-of-Fame keynote speaker and the author of 4 leadership books including his newly released Amazon #1 Bestseller On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in their People without Burning Them Out.  Learn more at EricChester.com and follow him at @eric_chester


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