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Defying the Odds with Aaron Golub

May 02, 2021


Aaron Golub is the first legally blind division one athlete and NFL free agent. His story of defying the odds is truly inspiring and will help you to dream big and not let anything stand in your way. We have challenges in life that cause some of us to break down and others to break records. The difference is one simple thing - ATTITUDE.

From an early age, Aaron set his heights high and wanted to play football despite his disability. He worked out what position he wanted to master then set out to make his dream come true. He had to work ten times harder than anybody else and was committed with early mornings and back breaking training.

Often you will go through life with people challenging your dreams - urging you to play smaller and reinforcing that you can’t achieve greatness. Many of us give in to the naysayers, but the legends of business, sport and life all pursue their goals relentlessly. 

Whether it’s chess, rugby, business or singing it really doesn’t matter - the formula is the same. If you want an epic result, to become the greatest and to experience fulfillment then you are going to have to create a powerful vision of your desired reality. The next step is to ensure you make success a burning desire intrinsically. After that, it comes down to a mixture of sustained effort above the norms, ignoring the haters and incredible amounts of self-discipline.

I’ve had the good fortune of interviewing some of the Worlds greatest athletes, entrepreneurs and billionaires. One of the the common traits amongst them all was their clarity of their desired outcome. Too many of us lack a clear vision of who we want to become and so we get stuck in jobs we sort of like, stuck in relationships that aren’t joy-filled and stuck in our own heads trying to figure out what our purpose is on this planet.

I urge you to create some think-time, and journal your thoughts, your wishes and your dreams. Once you get out of your head and onto the page - you have created detachment and clarity. This is a vital step that too few embrace - but if you truly care about the meaning of your own existence - take a moment and journal then start to decide on your true priorities.

Wishing you an epic future full of clarity, pursuit and fulfillment.

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Full Transcript

[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Life On Purpose with James Laughlin Show. Please note that there may be small moments where grammar goes off track - this is simply due to the fact that the LIVE episode was converted to full long-form transcript.  For weekly motivation, please subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Youtube.]


Aaron Golub, James Laughlin 


James Laughlin  00:00 

Welcome to life on purpose. My name is James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion musician and now success coach to leaders and high performers. Each week, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you live your life on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and investing in yourself. Enjoy the show. Today's guest is Aaron Gallup is the first legally blind division one athlete, an NFL free agent. He is now a financial advisor and keynote speaker. In today's session, we talk about his journey, some of his greatest obstacles, and some advice he's got for you guys are on finance, business and life. Enjoy the show. Aaron, a massive Welcome to the life on purpose podcasts. Absolute pleasure to have you join us today. 


Aaron Golub  00:59 

Thank you so much for having me today. Man, I'm really excited to finally connect with you and get to know you and have this time. 


James Laughlin  01:06 

It's pretty amazing how we're connected by our friend Jeff Lopes up in Canada. There he was talking about you and about your story. And I was incredibly inspired. So, I thought, hey, I need to get Aaron on the show. I need to find out about your story, and where it all began. So please do tell me a little bit about you where you're from or how you've got to be where you are today. 



Aaron Golub  01:25 

So very quick background on me. I live in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. I was born legally blind. For me, that means I have no vision in my in my right eye, extremely limited on my left. Ended up playing football became the first legally blind division one athlete to play in a game when I played football to and university was named a team captain, my senior year went on to become an NFL free agent. And now I'm an entrepreneur and a speaker. 


James Laughlin  01:53 

That's amazing. Absolutely amazing. So, let's go back to childhood. So, you were legally blind. So as a kid, what was that? What were some of your challenges that you had to navigate? 



Aaron Golub  02:06 

You know, I think, whether it be as a kid, or now as an adult, the things that are the most challenging for me, are the things you would never think about. It's the little things, you know, crossing a busy street, cooking in the kitchen and knowing when chicken is done or something. It's the small things, and I'm sure when I was a kid, it was, you know, even smaller, like learning how to tie my shoes, and stuff like that, that you just wouldn't think would be a challenge. But the bigger things in life, I've been able to do and been able to find ways around and figure out but it's, it's those smaller things that you wouldn't necessarily think about that took me a little longer, he continues to take me a little longer to figure out when it comes. 


James Laughlin  02:49 

And does that in any way does that ever stop your motivation? Or does it do the opposite? Does it motivate you more to accomplish and breakthrough? 


Aaron Golub  02:59 

You know, I think that is a really good question. Because I think so many people rely on that external motivator of, Oh, I can't do this. So, I should prove everyone wrong and do this. And I don't think that's the way to look at it. I think that external motivators are phenomenal for, you know, a quick fix a great burst of energy or motivator. You know, when I was at the gym earlier today, if I'm lifting a really heavy weight, I might think of an external motivator to help get me going to help me lift that weight to get through my set. But an external motivator like that can only last so long, you know, it might last a day, a week a month, but it's not going to last you 10 years in business or eight years playing football, whatever it may be. The motivation that you have to accomplish something great has to come with from with it. And it can't be I want to do this because people say that I can't do it. It has to be I want to do this, because I want to do this because I want to prove myself, right? Because if you're doing it for other reasons than just like you want to prove yourself, right. That motivation is going to stop at some point. 


James Laughlin  04:07 

Great advice. Great advice. And when you're, a young man and you were looking at getting into football, what was the greatest obstacle for you to break into division one. 



Aaron Golub  04:21 

I think getting the opportunity, you know, I wasn't very good as a high school player at the at the start. My sophomore year of high school, I was a third string junior varsity lineman. And you know, if you are a sophomore in high school, no matter what the sport is, whether it be football, basketball, swimming, baseball, any sport, you are probably, and you're going to play division one, you're probably starting on varsity, you're getting a lot of playing time in varsity. And that wasn't the case for me. And so, I had to kind of make two decisions. First off, how can I find the right position for me and I eventually found long snapping. And for those of you that don't know, long snapping is I'm the guy with pumps or field goals, who would throw the football back between my legs to the punter with older and then block the person in front of me. And so, I found that position. And I said, If I get good enough at this, I might have an opportunity to play. The second piece was because of my disability and my disadvantage, I need to work 10 times as hard as everyone else just to be as good as them. And it just started of, I wake up at 5am every day, I would practice long snapping, I'd go to school, I'd go to practice, I'd lift weights after practice, I'd go home and do my homework, every single day for the next few years, because I knew what I had to do to achieve my goal. 


James Laughlin  05:39 

That's amazing. Sounds like you've had like a clear vision of what it is you want. And then you made it like a burning desire to succeed at it. 


Aaron Golub  05:49 

If you have a goal and you have a desire, it really has to consume you and become your life. When you have a goal, that's that big that's that enormous. You can't just half-ass it, you can't just put 50% of your energy into it, you need to really be laser focused. And if you are laser focused, you can accomplish anything that you want. 



James Laughlin  06:13 

So inspiring, really inspiring. And what are some of your highlights from football? Like, if you think back to your football career, what were some of your most amazing moments? 


Aaron Golub  06:22 

Yeah, I think that there's really one that stands out the most. And it was in my senior year when I was named a team captain in college. In my sophomore year in college after the season, the coach that had recruited me, that staff was fired. And a new coaching staff came in. And at first, I sat down with the coaches, they didn't know if I could play because my vision, they were concerned, you know, it was kind of that whole thing starting from zero again. And, you know, I was very concerned to be honest, if they were going to give me a shot and nervous. And I think we eventually just came to an agreement said, let's do spring football, it's to spring practice, see what happens if we have to have the discussion again. And you know, maybe I'll take a different direction. And never have that discussion. Again, Two years later, I was named a team captain during my senior year. And that was one of the best feelings and proudest moments that I've ever had. Because I was able to shape people's opinions and prove that I was willing to put in the work and show people that I could accomplish anything. 



James Laughlin  07:29 

Incredible, absolutely inspiring. And the NFL free agent. So how does that come about? How do you become an NFL free agent? 


Aaron Golub  07:37 

Yeah, so when my senior season ended, I didn't want to give up football, it was something that I wanted to continue on. And so for part of my spring semester in college, for a little bit, I flew out to California, and trained with a legendary NFL kicker, John Carney and some other guys there and got ready for my pro day, which is essentially a tryout in front of tons of NFL teams and flew back to school, did my pro day, performed really well, started talking to a few teams and continued to talk to them a little bit after, and it just wasn't going as quickly or in the direction I wanted. With my position, there's in the NFL, there's one guy per team, now like a quarterback, or there's three guys in the team. And so, if a guy doesn't get hurt, or screw up, they're not going to replace that person. And so, there's just less opportunities. And I had other dreams and other ambitions that I want to accomplish going forward. And I just decided that it was time to make a pivot and time to make a change. I wasn't necessarily giving up on my dream of football, I was making a change to go after other dreams and goals of mine. 



James Laughlin  08:47 

I love that. And so, tell me about those dreams and goals and how your habits and your success in your football life have really helped you to achieve in different areas. 


Aaron Golub  08:59 

Yeah, so what I do now is I'm an entrepreneur in the financial industry. I'm a motivational and keynote speaker. You know, I run a podcast and I'm in the process of writing my first book, but I think what football really taught me was dedication, leadership, perseverance, things like that. And, you know, showed me how to accomplish big things, how to be a part of a team, how to create the life that you want. There is so many lessons from playing a sport that you can carry on to your life isn't though business in your personal life in any area. And, you know, for me, it's really taught me what is really true hard work. What is perseverance? How do you time block your time? How do you set your daily non negotiables? How do you be a leader and show up every day to you know, inspire your team and help others and that's, I think the biggest thing that came from my athletic career. 



James Laughlin  09:58 

I love that. If we look at leadership, you brought up the term leadership. So, teams, whether they're sport, or whether they're business are still teams. So, what would be your advice to a leader who wants to get the absolute best result from his or her team?  


Aaron Golub  10:18 

That's a really good question. You know, I think the biggest thing is having deep relationships with everyone on your team, outside of business or outside of sports and, and understanding one another as people. I think that you know, whether it has been when I was playing football, or now in business, the people that I work with today, or played with back then, are the people that you spend a significant amount of your time with. And if there isn't, that camaraderie, if there isn't that enthusiasm, to help each other to make an impact on one another, to achieve a common goal, then you're not going to achieve that goal. If you want to accomplish something great, you need to have that ability to get along to be friends, to want to work together. You don't want to go into work, or go into your team setting and say, Oh, I dread to work with Joe tomorrow, you need to work with people that you like, and you understand and you can connect with because when you're able to do that, you're you know, frankly, in a football setting, for lack of a better term, you know, there were so many getting, most of the guys that I played with that I would have would have taken a bullet for anyone like that's, that's how that relationship forms. It's a brotherhood when, when you're playing on a football team like that, because you go through so much together. And I think most people wouldn't say that and agree with that as well. 


James Laughlin  11:44 

I get that, you know, I played in a pipe band of all things. So, bagpipes and drums, and over and over in Boston, they have quite a few of them, we'd be very competitive, when we would go to the World Championships, we'd spend our year in Vancouver, Canada, prepping, and then we'd fly over. And it's the same thing, the bond of brotherhood and sisterhood was huge. So, when we think of football, the metric or the outcome is the result, you know, the points, and we think of business, the metric or the outcome is financial. So, you guys have developed this, hey, I would die for you, brother, you've developed this amazing team rapport culture of, you know, world class culture. How can someone do that in business? Because obviously business is very different. But it's still a metric, you're still working towards a financial outcome, which is similar to a points outcome? What are ways for teams to develop that brotherhood? 



Aaron Golub  12:40 

Yeah, you know, first off, I think that when you're an entrepreneur and building a business, making money and gaining wealth has to be the top three things that you're shooting for. But it can never be the number one, if your sole goal every single day is make as much money as possible, you'll never be fulfilled, you'll never be happy, you'll never achieve success in all areas of your life. Trust me, when I say I want to make money, of course, I want to make money and I want to make a lot of money. But it's not the absolute number one thing in my life, the number one thing is everything I do I want to make an impact on others. And when you have something else, that's the number one, it becomes a lot easier to work with other people to build those relationships to work as a team, because you're not solely focused on how much money can I make that being said, you do need to focus on that. And it has to be one of your top priorities, you're never going to achieve success in business. But whatever your goal is, there needs to be one thing that is greater than making money. 



James Laughlin  13:43 

I love it. And so, what are your top in from an entrepreneurial standpoint? What are your top three priorities? 


Aaron Golub  13:50 

My top three kind of goals, I guess. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think the first one is definitely making impact on the lives of others. You know, I think, number two is, you know, it's hard because I think that a lot of mine blend together. Now I could say making an impact, I could say, showing people that you can accomplish anything that you want, showing people that the impossible is possible. You know, I think all of that blends into a really big, big goal for mine, for myself, and then, you know, after that it becomes creating generational wealth for myself and my family. But I think that the impact you want has to stand above. 


James Laughlin  14:36 

I love it. And so, with the impact, so who are your people that the people that you're trying to help support? Who are they What do they look like? What are their pain points? 


Aaron Golub  14:46 

Yeah, it can be anyone, honestly, on the entrepreneurial or financial side, it's anyone who is looking to achieve something great with their finances and build wealth and things like that and I help those in that area. Yeah. And on the speaking side, it's talking to teams to companies to events and connecting with each individual person and showing them that they can overcome any obstacle, they can take their disadvantage and make it their advantage, they can do anything that they want. And because of that, I'm able to impact so many people on a daily basis, whether it be from the finance side, or the speaking side. And, you know, at the end of the day, my goal tomorrow isn't, how can I wake up and make $10,000. My goal is, how can I wake up and add value to three new people make an impact on their lives, because I know, if I continue to make an impact and continue to add value to others, every single day, sooner or later, much greater wealth, then $10,000 will come to me.  


James Laughlin  15:48 

100%. And if there's people listening right now, or watching, what would be one or two things you could give them advice on from a financial wealth point of view, a couple of things they could consider to help themselves and their future self, the wealth generation to move forward? What's a couple of valuable tips you would give? 



Aaron Golub  16:07 

Yeah, I think number one is, start planning early, start saving early start that journey, you know, don't just spend every single penny that you make, it's a that's a that's a common mistake with a lot of people. I think number two is don't be afraid to invest in yourself. Like Yes, you know, investing in the stock market is interesting. Investing in cryptocurrency is interesting. Investing in real estate is interesting. And so many people do that. And I think that, you know, it's obviously important. But, you know, the best investment you can make is in yourself. I could the best use of $5,000 for me, would be putting it into myself and building something with it. Because I trust that I can create a massive return on that, you know, in my business more than any investment could get me in, you need to get to that belief and that faith and the confidence that you can put money into yourself, because you'll make it back? Absolutely. 


James Laughlin  17:11 

I'm a firm believer in that as well. And for people that are trying to find their purpose, right. So a lot of people that's a driving force is like, I want to find my purpose. And then when they find their purpose, they want to align that with wealth generation. What advice do you have for people who are trying to actually uncover that purpose? 


Aaron Golub  17:31 

I think it's a really interesting topic. And honestly, something that I've recently I forget where I was reading it, but you know, my opinion, kind of used to be whatever you're passionate about, you can achieve success out because you, if you put 100% of your effort into it, you can accomplish anything. And while that is true, I don't know if that's necessarily always the case, I forget who was saying this, but I was reading some book and someone was talking in it recently and they're saying how, for example, like someone in you know, I don't know if all of your listeners will know these people. But in fact, for example, like the United States, people like an Andrew Carnegie who built you know, an insane fortune through like, I think it was oil. I think it was oil or snow miners steel, actually. steel industry. Yes. Steel. And, you know, do you think he had a passion for steel? Probably not, he probably did not have passion for steel, are you kidding me. But he saw an opportunity, and invested in it, and built a business around that. And then when he got older he did things he was passionate about. So, you know, I don't think it necessarily goes one way or the other. I think if you're truly passionate about something and you want to start on that, then that's great. And you can build wealth with it, but it might take a little longer. If you see an opportunity. Even if you're not as passionate about it, but you see a unique opportunity, then go for it, even if you don't love it, you know, I think everything I do, I'm fortunate that I enjoy, but I don't necessarily love every aspect of everything. But I see opportunities. And I go for it. And I think that a lot of people need to understand that. I think that too many people are focused in like, find on love every single thing that I do, then then you know, I need to switch or I need to find something new. Or if there's an opportunity didn't go for it. You mean like you have so many more years ahead of you to live in. You know, you can do something on the side that you're passionate about. But like, just think back to that example, if there's no way that Andrew Carnegie was that passionate about steel. 


James Laughlin  19:45 

100% and you talked earlier, you talked about non negotiables your daily non negotiables. So, once an individual has decided, you know what, this is what's driving me it's driving from within, I know what I want, I know what I'm after. Obviously, they need to set up some structure around their days, weeks months. So, these non-negotiables, what are your non negotiables look like? Or how do people define their non-negotiables? 



Aaron Golub  20:10 

Yeah, I mean, I think they're different for everyone. You know, for example, for me, it's waking up at a certain time every day, you know, I've personal business, non-negotiables. My personal ones, it's waking up at certain times, going to the gym every day, meditating every day reading every day, things like that, that get me, you know, in the right mood, mood throughout the day, and it's not always done everything right in the morning. Sometimes I meditate in the morning, sometimes I meditate later in the day, it doesn't necessarily matter when I do it. But it's about doing it during the day, on the business side, those can change for me, you know, I have certain things that, you know, depending on the project, or what I'm doing, those are the non-negotiables that I write down, and I have to accomplish every day. But, you know, my non negotiables, for May, might look slightly different than my ones for April, or they might look very different. It just depends how much further and if I've accomplished everything I needed to from the ones in April. So that's kind of how I structure them. 


James Laughlin  21:11 

That's great. And in terms of you talked about generational wealth, so your legacy, what is the legacy that you're building towards? 


Aaron Golub  21:22 

Yeah, I mean, I think there's, there's, there's two sides of it. You know, on the entrepreneurial finance side, I want to build an incredible business on the speaking side, I want to be one of the most sought after and well-known speakers in the world. I think for when I think of my legacy, there's two sides that like I said, and the first side is making an impact on 1000s millions of people throughout my lifetime and having my name synonymous on the speaking. So, people like a Tony Robbins, Ed Mylett or Les Brown, and on the wealth side, there's not like a number or something I want to accomplish. It's just, I want to create generational wealth. So, my kids, my grandkids, my great grandkids, and so on, will never have to worry about anything. I want to accomplish that for them. Because I have that drive and that work ethic. And, you know, I hope that they do the same. But there's no reason why I can't accomplish it if I put all of my time and effort into accomplishing amazing things. 


James Laughlin  22:29 

Fantastic. Sounds simply amazing. And if you were to sit back detach a little bit and just look at your current situation, what is your greatest obstacle, what's the one thing that could stand in your way from moving forward towards that legacy? 


Aaron Golub  22:46 

Then I think the biggest thing is that I just jump into things. And I know in some senses, that could be great. But I have like 5 million ideas all the time bouncing around my head. I've gotten better at it. But I've needed to continue to learn more to take a step back, look at the big picture, and not just jump into new ideas, new business opportunities, new things, because I think it's going to work out because that's not how you create success. When you have 5 million things going on, it's a distraction. When you're focusing on one thing and you are laser focused, you create a lot of success in that area.  


James Laughlin  23:26 

Brilliant advice, and what's right now what's the one major thing that you're really focused on? 


Aaron Golub  23:34 

You know, it's funny, because my biggest thing is, is the financial piece, because that's, you know, my main business, my main source of income and things going on, you know, I do time block a certain amount of time, every day that I do, whether it be going on someone's podcast, or doing my podcast or, or speak at for speaking and outreach for that. But it's definitely not a majority of my day. I think on that end, although, someone could say, oh, Aaron, you're doing two things, though, is that a distraction? Not really, because, in my opinion, it's just all networking. Like this is a speaking related thing. And it's not a finance related things, but we're building relationship. And you never know when one of your listeners will reach out to me down the road or something you just you just never know. It's about getting my name out there building those relationships. And so, I consider them one in the same. And just because I'm building two things, it'd be very different if I was like I'm in finance, and I'm also in real estate, like you can't do those two things. It's the two things that I'm doing, I think work together. 


James Laughlin  24:38 

Yeah, they're really complimentary. It's beautiful. And for those people who are listening and who want to connect with you, what's the best way for them to connect with you? 


Aaron Golub  24:47 

Yeah, so you know, to areas either on my website, Aaron Golub dot com, You can just submit a form and it goes right to my email. Or if you want to reach out to me on social media on Instagram or Twitter or LinkedIn, you know, it's @aaronjgolub on Instagram, I respond to everything, I might not respond overnight, but I will respond. 


James Laughlin  25:07 

brilliant, I'll be sure to put all those in the description in iTunes and on YouTube. And when your book comes out, please let me know I want to buy a copy, but I also want to share it with my listeners. So, it might be cool to have another conversation after the book has launched. 


Aaron Golub  25:23 

Yeah, no, I, my goal is to have it released sometime towards the end of the year in the fourth quarter. It's definitely a journey. And it's, I block off a little time every week to work on it. But it's something where I can't, you know, sit down and spend six hours a day working on it. So, I hopefully be out later this year. And when it does come out, you know, we're going to do a whole campaign around it and whether it be going back on tons of podcasts I've already done or trying to do a lot of interviews and things around that to get it out there. So, I'd be absolutely happy to do that. And looking forward to coming out towards the end of the year. 


James Laughlin  26:00 

All very best of luck have the most amazing year ahead. I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to connect with me and my audience. 


Aaron Golub  26:08 

Of course. Thank you for having me. 


James Laughlin  26:17 

Thank you so much for listening in today and investing in your own personal growth. Please hit that subscribe button. I would love, love, love. If you'd leave me a rating and review as it really helps me to impact more people. I've got some amazing guests lined up in the coming weeks. And folks, it's that time, get out there and live life on purpose.