Nick Powills: You Can Learn a Lot From Listening to Gary Brackett’s Story
Nick Powills: You Can Learn a Lot From Listening to Gary Brackett’s Story

Powills talks to the former NFL player-turned-entrepreneur about overcoming challenges to find success.

Gary Brackett should have more excuses.

From a professional standpoint, prior to starting The Stacked Pickle (If you haven’t watched my Life Drives Success interview with Gary Brackett, CEO of The Stacked Pickle and former Indianapolis Colts defensive stud, you should – it’s above), the sports world gave up on him – twice. After high school, he had to walk on to Rutgers – he was deemed to not be good enough. After college, he had to make it as a free agent to the Colts – because he wasn’t good enough to get drafted. That put a chip on this guy’s shoulder – he helped beat my Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl on February 4, 2007.

From a personal standpoint, during a 17-month span starting in 2003, his barometer for pain was brutalized. His father, Granville, died of heart failure; his mother, Sandra, died from a stroke and his brother, Greg, died after a battle with leukemia. That’s 17 months of surreal life pain. He was 23.

"I've been through something similar, but I was 49, Gary was 23," says coach Tony Dungy in an ESPN Story about Brackett. "He's got an instinctive strength and leadership quality, the way he always does the right thing. It's been awesome to watch how that's influenced people around him."

Like I said, should be full of excuses. He has every reason to have them. But he doesn’t. The guy is motivated.

In Sticks & Stones (sold on Amazon), I write about the value of the foundation of life as a driver for success. For me, while far less impactful than Gary’s story, my pain was fighting my weight, bullying and sports team cuts. Those are my stories – my fuels for my foundation. For Gary, his chips are definitely great in the scheme of life. Regardless, you can see how the formula of foundation + momentum = velocity can be applied to his story.

He, too, battled the weight game. The ESPN story says: “Gary was a pudgy kid who had to lose weight before being allowed to play midget football. And he's never shed that Cartman physique. Even now, at 5'11'', 235 pounds, Brackett appears nearly as wide as he is tall. It's a shape that caused most scouts to automatically reach for the eject button on the VCR. While Gary earned All-South Jersey honors at Glassboro High, recruiters couldn't get past his body type. ‘I know what size I am,’ says Brackett. ‘I just needed someone to look deeper.’"

In our interview, we talked about this. We talked about if he is happy. We talked about motivation. To say the least, it is motivating for me to see a guy high on life and so willing to live in the moment – for his family, his story and his legacy.

Gary – cheers to you for taking a “no excuses” approach to your life. You are an inspiration for athletes, business leaders and people in general. Best of luck with the next part of your story.