Grit and Determination with Nate Boyer, Former NFL Player and Green Beret

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On today’s episode, Ian is joined by Nate Boyer, ex-NFL player and Army Green Beret. Growing up, Nate didn’t know what he wanted to do so he tried many things from working on a fishing boat to teaching special needs children. After the attacks happened on 9/11, Nate decided to backpack around the world and helped with humanitarian work during the Darfur crisis.  It was during this period that he realized he needed to do something more — to help those who couldn’t help themselves. So he enlisted in the Army and joined the Green Berets.

Nate was ready for his next challenge and decided to embark on the unlikeliest of journeys, and pursue a career in football, a sport he’d never played before. Through grit, determination and by tapping into the work he’d done in the military, Nate succeeded when no one thought he could. He walked onto the Texas Longhorns team in 2010, becoming a long snapper on the roster in 2011 and later receiving NFL interest. 

Today, Nate’s leveraging his experience as both a veteran and an athlete to help others come together and help each other have an even greater impact on the world. 

Quotes from Nate:

[On his military service] “You gotta adapt, improvise, adapt, overcome pretty quickly to things. You gotta have thick skin because not everything’s gonna go your way. You’re going to have a lot of responsibility. You’re going to have people in your ear and in your rear at all times. And you’ve got to make the mission successful. At the end of the day, at all costs by any means necessary, you have to make mission. And so there’s only so much you can learn in a schoolhouse. We talk about that with kids who go to college, but it’s the very same in the military — schoolhouse experience never even comes close to the real thing.”  

[On playing college football with no prior experience playing] “I just hustled to everything. And I spent that extra time in the weight room and coaches notice all that stuff, man… I mean, that applies to any facet of life. I think people know that, it’s just, people don’t ever do it. But if you outwork everybody, it gets noticed and usually, you get opportunities.” 

“I’m not a super fast learner. I think people assume that because I pick things up quick, timeline-wise, but it’s because I put in like triple the time anybody else does every day. I don’t take a day off and eventually, it comes to fruition. You start to figure it out. Like your body follows the mind. If you really believe it, you’re gonna achieve it. As corny as that is, but it’s true.”

[On his dreams of playing in the NFL] “I dream way bigger than I probably should, but I do pursue it and I do chase those dreams and then I’m willing to adjust.”

“I’m way happier failing every day doing what I’m doing now than I would be succeeding every day at something that I was kind of 50/50 on.”

“The more I traveled and experienced things, the more I’ve come to find that we’re all human beings. We’re all the same species. We all know this but we forget it. And we all want the same basic things. We want what’s best for our families. We want to feel relatively safe. We want to be loved and we want to matter. We want to belong and we want to matter. And so if you just take that understanding into any situation, even when it’s something that scares you or it’s people that you adamantly disagree with on a very fundamental level, at the end of the day, they probably still want the same things you want. They may have a different way of going about them or a different idea of what success looks like specifically, but they essentially want those same core things.” 



Joe Montana

Jerry Rice 

University of Texas Longhorns

Green Beret

Colin Kaepernick

Mack Brown


Episode 356