Oct. 19, 2021

Will Matthews — On Transitions: From Playing in the NFL to Starting Over in Music and Business

Will Matthews — On Transitions: From Playing in the NFL to Starting Over in Music and Business

"I think there's a difference between being scared that it's going to leave, than being respectful that it's going to be over. when you respect it, you have time and space in your heart to actually enjoy the experience. When you're scared of it,...


"I think there's a difference between being scared that it's going to leave, than being respectful that it's going to be over. when you respect it, you have time and space in your heart to actually enjoy the experience. When you're scared of it, that's the only feeling that you have." — Will Matthews

Will Matthews is a former professional football player who played for the Detroit Lions in the NFL turned entrepreneur, and a musician. In this soulful conversation, Will shares his story of playing in the NFL, starting from early childhood and then transitioning to music and business. Here's some of what we cover:

  • How “What do you want to be when you grow up?” can define or inspire you at an early age
  • Will takes us behind the curtains of the NFL with personal stories, including playing with the 0.1% of the 0.1%
  • He talks about the wisdom he gained on and off the football field
  • Why you should follow your passion and life goals without compromising your values
  • He takes us deeper into his music world and opens up with a melody

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Please enjoy today's episode and thank you for listening!


Show Notes

  • 01:03 - Why Will chose the football career
  • 03:15 - How he decided to pursue sport over medicine
  • 06:32 - The life lessons that arise from pain and defeat, and the art of overcoming it
  • 13:03 - About the psychological journey through the overwhelming opportunities in life
  • 13:27 - How Will dealt with his first impression of the business aspect of NFL
  • 20:50 - The feeling he had while playing in the stadium for the first time in the team
  • 22:26 - How the implications of the precious time spent with his sons reflect across all events in his everyday life
  • 27:52 - Will’s personal insights behind being a professional NFL player
  • 32:15 - What are his favorite fun memories on and off-field
  • 34:33 - On his acquired wisdom as a part of a sports team
  • 38:20 - Why he made the transition from football to music
  • 42:21 - How he found a way to channel his passion for music
  • 44:34 - Will’s view on finding your path w/o diminishing your own values
  • 48:38 - On changing the goal post on what failure and success look like through changing the perspective of what life really is
  • 50:41 - About sharing the same universal feeling of connection whether famous or not, and the human aspect in every approach
  • 54:33 - The marketing strategy behind the media personas
  • 56:25 - What are Will’s future plans

Tweetable Quotes

“I had a lot of energy, football helped me get it out and I made friends. And then when I got a little older, I found out that girls like football players too, so well, that's that then? Huh?” - Will Matthews

“People don't have a history with pain and overcoming pain. So I feel the difference between people who have” - Will Matthews

“Life needs texture, and we can do good or bad, whether I win the deal or lose the deal” - Will Matthews

“If you want to change the machine, the thing that you're passionate about, you're called to, I would say you need to get inside of it from inside. You can be the person to make the decisions, to help change things for other people.” - Will Matthews

“I think you have time in your heart to actually enjoy the experience when you're scared of it.” - Will Matthews

“I think everybody aspires to be the anomaly. And I think that there are a few of them.” - Will Matthews

“My guitar was a way that I channeled all of that energy outside of football that needed to be put somewhere that creative energy.” - Will Matthews

“When you can do what you want to do, don't let a dream die because you don't have time, let everything live, go after it and be great” - Will Matthews

“All I want to do is take something that's good and make it great.” - Will Matthews


About Our Guest

A self-professed "challenge junky" Will Matthews has an appetite for winning. That's why whether it's commercial real estate, consulting, speaking, or advocacy Will brings his A-game and gets the job done. A strategic business leader and entrepreneur who believes in creating win-win solutions for businesses and the communities they support. He cares about mental health, racial equity, and economic responsibility, driven to live at the cross-section of profit and purpose. In another life, Will played football for the Texas Longhorns (@TexasLonghorns) and spent his pro career with the Detroit Lions (@Lions). When he is not charting into the unknown, he focuses on physical health, giving back, writing music, and being a family man.

Will has teamed up with his friends at Notley Tide to put a series of events together aimed at helping business leaders, influencers, and decision-makers gain a deeper understanding of equity in the workplace.

He is also proud to be the 2020 NAMIWalks Honorary Chair. NAMI advocates for mental health for all.