“Success is the self-satisfaction received from setting a goal and achieving it. It’s completely within the self and unrelated to other’s opinions.”
This isn’t the global definition of success—it’s not found in a dictionary, not uttered to you by a guidance counselor prodding you forth. RTS family member—and New England Patriot’s linebacker—Josh Hull maintains this verbalization of success. These aren’t words cloaked in candy-coating for interview’s sake; they’re the result of a decades old ideation that becomes reality through Josh’s actions.
In 2005, he entered Penn State as a skinny, 6’3” 200 pound, preferred walk-on linebacker. After five years, he left PSU a 245-pound, two-year starter that earned a degree in engineering and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Few expected Josh to play at PSU, let alone serve as a two-year starter that earned an NFL draft position. His achievements, however, superseded those impressive resume entries.
You’ll also find Hull on the Academic All-American list and the list of Penn State Football leading tacklers. During his senior campaign, Hull led a defense in tackles that housed future NFL starts Sean Lee and Navarro Bowman. Not bad for a skinny kid from the 1.3 square miles of Amish buggy worn streets in Millheim, Pennsylvania (population 900).
Potentially more impressive—and definitely more impactful—Josh earned Penn State’s Walker award. It’s an award given to undergraduate students that display outstanding character, scholarship, citizenship and leadership abilities that positively influence other Penn State students.
But what gave him the ability to define success as he sees fit and achieve far beyond what most people saw as his potential? Pride.
“You have to have pride—it’s not secondary to achievement, it precedes it. It’s the forerunner to dedication, focus and resiliency. You’ll have peaks and valleys in life, and it’s pride in yourself that gets you through them,” Hull said through the phone after a few thoughtful minutes.
For Josh, pride is simple.
“Since high school I’ve always wanted to be the most productive player on the field, and I can’t stand the thought of being outworked. I know that I’m not the most gifted guy, but I’ll be damned if someone outworks me. That’s what I want to be remembered for—my work ethic, being the guy that was never outworked, that proved people wrong about my abilities.”
Pride in his work ethic led Josh to develop the goal-setting behavior that defines his version of success.
“You have to set goals for everything—whether it’s sports, school or being a better brother, sister, son or daughter. But you have to write them down. I’ve never understood how people knew they were successful without putting a goal on paper. How do you know you’re successful if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve? If there’s no prize, there’s no point in running the race.”
Once the goals are on paper, it’s up to you to make choices based on simple questions. Do you really want it, are you one-hundred percent in? When adversity hits, how will you respond?
With goals on paper, and a mind’s-eye visual of their achievement, it’s easier to answer these questions with positive outcomes. Positivity, however, is also an environmental product.
“I’ve always surrounded myself with other people that are trying to be great. They’re making the same choices I am. It’s simple—do you want to be one-hundred percent in with your goals or do you want party all the time and chase girls or boys? If you do, that’s fine, just don’t expect to be great. When the people around you are working to be successful it’s easier for you to stay the course toward success.”
But success, then, isn’t a destination.
“Success isn’t obtaining comfortable circumstances—it’s a continual process of setting goals and achieving them.”
That’s how Josh Hull defines success.
What does success mean to you?