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Feb. 23, 2022

Brian Dawkins

Brian Dawkins is an NFL legend. The football safety played for a historic 16 seasons, spending the majority of those seasons with the Eagles. His tenure earned him a place in the NFL football hall of fame.


Beyond the football acclaim, Brian Dawkins is a man of faith who remains deeply committed to his family. His dynamic personality is rooted in integrity that was developed through years of learning through the highs of career success and the lows of personal mental health battles. On this episode, you have the opportunity to hear wisdom directly from Brian about how to build a faith that can weather the storms. He also shares practical advice for incorporating prayer and scripture into our daily life, and pays homage to the mentors— and to the women in his life— who have made him the man he is today.


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Brian Dawkins  0:00  
That's the only way we can have peace in the midst of a storm is because we see it no longer from our perspective, or our limited perspective, we allow the Holy Spirit inside of us to give us a broader perspective of the thing. So that we can see also that this thing is just for a season, this is the last thing that will tell you for everything there is a season. So no matter what you go through in life, grow through it, first of all, but it's just for a season.

Trevor Tyson  0:30  
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Trevor talks. I'm your host, Trevor Tyson. And I'm super thrilled that you guys are taking some time out of your day to join us for this conversation that I know for a fact is going to bless myself and hopefully, a bunch of other people. I am just, I'm excited for this episode. I don't really know how to contain this excitement. But if you've been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that I only bring on guests that I think fit a certain profile and that being faith being perseverance, having an amazing story and just being able to translate the gospel into something that is relatable for all of us. Today's guest is someone that I believe is going to be an encouragement all of us. And I can't wait to dive into his story with you all. He's an NFL football hall of famer, who had historic 16 seasons in the NFL, and primarily with the Philadelphia Eagles. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm excited to introduce you all to Brian Dawkins. Brian, thank you for coming, man.

Brian Dawkins  1:29  
No, thank you for having me excited about this.

Trevor Tyson  1:33  
We tried to do this last week. And you know, technical difficulties are always the best way to start out a friendship. And I felt like we got the bond through that. And here we are, we persevered. Here we are on Tuesday. And we're able to make it happen.

Brian Dawkins  1:45  
Absolutely. And it was it was about an hour long bonding experience too. So

Trevor Tyson  1:50  
it was got to meet your assistant everything. It was the best time. And I'm not even saying I mean, I am joking with it. But it was actually one of those things where you're like, you know what, there's always gonna be a challenge. And we can always rise above it, right? Always. And

Brian Dawkins  2:03  
that's the mindset, the mindset that we all have to develop, it doesn't come naturally, obviously. But to develop that type of mindset is extremely powerful.

Trevor Tyson  2:13  
Yes. And obviously, we're here to talk about your story. But also you have a book out, it's called blessed by the best. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and kind of the mindset you had going into the writing sessions and such to really map your story out in this kind of way.

Brian Dawkins  2:28  
Yeah. Blessed by the best, obviously, number one is talking about my vertical relationship, the best is also the individuals circumstances that turned out to be the best for me. Now, like I looking back, I can see that that thing was painful in the moment. But it builds perseverance, less like the word tells us that those trials do right. So I look, I can look back over those things. But those things that I'm talking about aren't just for me. Those things that I've now have as wisdom, because I've used them, I'm supposed to give those back, I'm supposed to pass that that'll that back to other individuals. And for me, being able to being blessed to have the platform that you just spoke about. I can now really share that with a bunch of individuals who who've seen me over my career as this individual that everybody thinks probably that things have always had been easy for me. Like, that's a cakewalk, and as far from the truth, and so the book came from that came from that space that I didn't think I would write a book, first of all, but now that I have came from that space that I wanted to share and be transparent on some of the things that I've grown through in my life, I say grown through on purpose, I didn't just go through it, I grew through it. And how me being able to reframe and reshape my past and how I see it, how that strengthens me and my present. And because of that, and because of that mindset, and I had that even as a player, it allowed me to visualize visualize powerful futures. And really began to dive into things that I needed to do in order to help those futures become realities, right. So operating from a true place of faith.

Trevor Tyson  4:13  
That's awesome. And I love that you're talking about your vertical relationship versus the horizontal. When people think of the NFL and becoming a celebrity, being able to get the salaries playing the sport you love. They're like, everything's gonna be perfect. Once I get this offer. Once I get the salary once I get the girl get to buy the house. They think that life just magically everything that's gone bad in their life is magically going to be wiped away. But obviously, like there are trials or tribulations that we all go through, but for you as someone who's been in the NFL has had those mountaintop moments for those young, maybe even kids or college players that are looking up to you for like the person they want to be when they get older. How can they learn from some of the things that you've gone through? What are some things that you would want to know alledged the next generation of players with, and how can they correlate that with their faith,

Brian Dawkins  5:05  
and then some of that stuff is in the book. And for you to be able to read some of the stories in detail a lot further than I'll be able to share on this on this podcast. For me, being a believer, scripture has been a very strong foundation in the life that I live, and how I live my life. And what you said, as you was asking the question, the verse came to me about storms come against for the just and the unjust. So no matter where you find yourself, if you're in a good place, or you're in as not so good place, as far as your vertical relationship, storms are still going to come to your doorstep. Matter of fact, storms came to the individual who never did anything wrong on the surface on the face of this earth. And it storms still came his way still things he had to go through, right. And I'm talking about Jesus. So no matter where you find yourself, you're going to go through something storms are going to come knock on your faith, knock on your door to test your faith. That's what they do. The storms come that knock on your door, and they test your faith. But it's in those testing fields, if you will, that your faith then grows, you can grow your faith, because you're not leaving on your own understanding as another word tells us in Proverbs, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. And that's it. When you get out of your own way. And you begin to lean into what God has for you, then you'll begin to see things different from a different perspective. And I like to say it like this, that when you see when you look at even a news, and the storm is coming. And there's a huge tornado or something like that coming, right? Well, if you're in the tornado, you're going to feel all the debris, the wind, the noise and all of those things, right. And that's, that's a scary place. But the weather person, they're able to see it from the Doppler. And you see it from the camera, you see it from a higher perspective. And all you see is a huge swirl. Again, when you're in it, you have all the when the debris, the but when you pulled away from it from a different perspective, then you're able to see, and you remove yourself from the emotion. And when I say that, the emotions of what you feel when you're in it, because it's so painful, it hurts. But when you begin to have that relationship, that vertical relationship, and it strengthens, and you're able to now lean into that understanding that he has everything under control, even though it may seem like it's out of control, he has everything out of control. So help me see this the way that you see it, Lord, God's let me see it from your perspective. Again, that's a higher perspective. So that's what that's the only way we can have peace in the midst of a storm, is because we see it no longer from our perspective, or our limited perspective, we allow the Holy Spirit inside of us to give us a broader perspective of the thing. So that we can see also that this thing is just for a season, this is the last thing and I will tell you for everything there is a season. So no matter what you go through in life, grow through it, first of all, but it's just for a season. It's not meant to stay because that same storm that I just talked about, there is no storm that has lasts forever on the face of this earth, that natural and unnatural. So it's the same thing from a spiritual, there is no storm less than Mitt to last. Now, you can develop a mindset, a negative mindset habitually, to continue to bring up pains from the past to make a situation or season lasts longer. But that's not God's intent. His intent is for you to go through it. Because if I believe if there's you're going through something, we're supposed to learn something in it. There's something we're supposed to learn about ourselves, somebody in our lives, something we're supposed to learn from it. That's why we grow, grow through some of the things that we we go through, right. So if that's the case, if that's the case, then those are those are opportunities for growth. doesn't feel good. But there's opportunities for growth. And I'll stop there. So you can ask them more questions. But like, that's how my mind has operated and wrapped around my faith. And that is how allowed me to have some of the success that I have all of the success to be honest with you that I've had as a professional football player, and now as a professional in retirement.

Trevor Tyson  9:43  
Yeah, that's a word coach. I mean, you can't you're not gonna get this anywhere else but Brian Dawkins, I'm going home on I'm blessed by that like we can end it right here, but I got more questions like you said, like, come on, but before that, Gold jacket before all of the accolades and being known as a football player, there was at one point, there was a boy, can you tell us a little bit about that journey that you went through from childhood into becoming the man that you are today.

Brian Dawkins  10:16  
It's a story that we all have not in common, so to speak, but we all have a story. Every last one of us have a story. Some are more seasoned in their story than others. But we all have a story. And so the beginning of this story, for me is an individual who always felt that they were overlooked. I was never I was not the biggest person in my neighborhood. I'm you know, big map, as I've grown and on a lot of work, a lot of work, but also some, some late, some late growth spurts along the way. But I would always felt that I was one of the smartest people in the neighborhood. So I always felt I had to outwork everybody, in order for me to get any type of recognition how I felt, I had to outwork you. So I had to do more than you go harder than you'd be, you know, be more ferocious than you. Right? Because I wasn't the size I wasn't the eye candy is as people would call it. So I always felt that. And so because of that, and because it's a couple of things my mom taught me, my mom, my dad taught me some of the virtues that I have one of them by my dad. And this is also in the book is whatever you start to finish. And not only do you start and finish it, but you stay coachable the whole time. Stay coachable the whole time. And because of that, I also now put it like this, and I've already said it, that you find the nugget where you are you give more than expected, first of all, and then you find the nugget of what you need to be learning where you are. Because sometimes we're going to be in spaces in life that you don't necessarily want to be like, let's just be honest. But it's my experience that when you do more than is expected of you. You grow in that space, so that when you step into the next space, because of your hard work, because of your dedication, because of all of those things, you actually be even more valuable to whatever endeavor you're gonna step into this in that next instance. So go harder or give more than is expected of you. And stay coachable. coachable means that a coach can look at you look at what you're saying and critique what you're doing. And you not feel some type of way about that. You take in the good as Bruce Lee says that you take in the good, you spit out a bet, and you add what is uniquely you. So that's what you do, you take the good, spit out the bad, and then you add what's uniquely you to that situation. And my mom taught me how to fight she taught me about fighting. And growing up in the neighborhood that I grew up in was it was a rough spot. So at some point you're going to have to be fighting. That's just that's I'm just be honest with being real with you when it comes to that. So she told me that the rules were, you don't start it, you finish it, you probably have heard that before. But not only do you finish it, you fight in such a way that they have to pull you off the person. That's how you finish it. Right. So you tell so so you have individuals that's going to fight you to the last if we get into a fight is going to be a fight. And so now you also have an individual that's going to finish what they start give more than as expected. And find the nugget and and find the nugget of how they can grow. That was given to me at a young age, I didn't really know what I had back then. I just knew that I was gonna outwork you. I knew that if we get into a one on ones or we get in not one on ones, but we get into any competition. It's gonna be a long day for one of us, right? I may lose, but it's gonna be a long day for you. That's that's how I always felt about it. So that's what those conversations did for me. Growing up, now that I applied that formula to high school, if I played that formula, to college debt formula to the pros, right. Now, there's some other things that I did, but those are true, truly two foundational pieces of why why I grind and work the way that I work. Why I go after things and why why the passion in me bubbles up to go after what are the things that I say I'm gonna go after right. That's that's the foundation of me.

Trevor Tyson  14:38  
Yeah, that's admirable. And I love what you said about staying coachable. I love everything you said. But that specifically stood out to me. And your explanation what happens when that moment when you start becoming uncoachable in my opinion, or from what I've seen, it's only a downward slope, and especially when it comes to like it. It reminds me You have when I was a teenager, right? And I'm like, I know everything. And then things start to get bad for you, you know, you start failing in classes, your coaches don't want to work with you, etc. But in your opinion, your experience, what happens when you do become uncoachable? Wow,

Brian Dawkins  15:14  
takes me back to the Word of God, as you're asking that question. pride comes before the small far right can't afford the fall. So when when you begin to say that I got this, you missing out on opportunities to grow more than what you can see sometimes, especially when you have a coach or somebody, they have experiences to bounce off of, of you doing, what you're doing, the way you're doing it and how it can adversely affect you. Because they probably have seen similar things in the past. So they're bouncing that off the ideas, as they tell you to do something different, right? And your mind, no, I'm good. But you don't have anything to bounce that necessarily offer because you're young, we're young in those spaces, right. That's why it's important for you to have that again, take the good spin off the bad. When someone tells me and this is, this is not easy. I'm not saying there's going to be easy when someone tells me that I did this thing wrong. So you know, I wasn't ever set up in position on the football field, you know, I was out of position, right? In that moment, you have to do this, you have to separate yourself from the mistake. You made the mistake, you're not a mistake. Sometimes we take that personal, like I've made the mistake that now you're not the mistake that was made, you made a mistake in that. So the coach in that situation is telling you something that you can get better at what's going to help you. But we have to take ourselves out of that emotional peace place to be able to receive it. And this is difficult, especially when you're younger, especially when we're as teenagers or whatever. And, you know, parts of our prefrontal cortex has not been fully developed yet, right? The reasoning and all of those things. So we act from an emotional place. But when when, as I began to truly understand some of these things, even back then, and even even then I didn't necessarily like what the coach was saying to me. But I had given my day and my work, or I had I believed in the advice he gave me. So I may not. I didn't necessarily like being told that I didn't do something, right. But the very fact that I could stay coachable allowed me to receive things, to make me better to help me become better, so that I can become better in whatever area that I'm supposed to be in and when when you don't allow people to help you. And there's the adage, or the verse in the Bible that talks about iron sharpening iron. Think about the process of iron sharpening another piece of art, have you ever thought about the true process of that? Know, the true process of that iron, sharpening another piece of iron is a lot of friction. You don't barely touch a piece of iron to another piece of art and it gets sharpened. No, it takes friction. So in order for us to get sharper in areas, there's going to be some friction, there's going to be some things that are not going to feel comfortable in order for us to get sharper in different areas. So again, the yet the revelation that the Holy Spirit when he when especially when I got that, when I received that and I received that many, many, many, many moons ago. Now, when I got that revelation, I understood that the importance of allowing the friction to happen, because it's needed. Because oftentimes, we're not going to rub ourselves in certain areas to improve on our own because it's may hurt, it may be some pain involved. And just like for me, I'm an athlete, I know that you are more apt to go further in stretching when someone pushes you. I'm going to only go so far. But when I take a deep breath and I let somebody push me I can go a little bit further than I could by myself by someone pushing me and it's painful. So I gave you a bunch of different analogies but but but the point is that we are meant to do this thing on our own. So the thing that you have inside of you is going to be worked out of you by growing through some things but also by some people seeing something in you and speaking to that thing. But in order to for that to happen Ben, we got to get out, get out, get out of our own ways, and allow people to speak into our lives.

Trevor Tyson  20:07  
Yeah. And when it comes to iron, sharpening iron, it just reminds me of a coach or mentor. And mentorship is so important, especially in. I mean, I was gonna say in your younger life, but I mean, now that I'm an adult mentors, that's something that you carry on for the rest of your life. For someone who doesn't have a mentor out there. What are some words of encouragement to get them to find that mentor? Where do they start search? Where would Brian dock and start, if you were looking right now.

Brian Dawkins  20:40  
The mentors that that I've had in my life, some of them didn't even know they were my mentors. And I know that's not necessarily what you're maybe speaking about. But sometimes it's someone who's doing something off at afar. That you love the thing that they're doing the way that they're doing a specific thing. These are some of the things that I talk about in my coaching. So we are three part beings, right? Mine was people, some people call it so mine, then you have your body physical and the spirit, right? Sometimes you'll see somebody's off at a fog, and they're doing something that speaks to you. They speak to something in you. So if there's something that someone is doing, and it speaks to you, that means that there's something in you, that is waiting to be awoken that is brought to life, so to speak. For instance, one of the people one of the people that spoke to me growing up was obviously one of them was my dad, but I won't just use my dad. One of them was Bob Marley. One of them was not the Martin Luther King. Another one was Bruce Lee, I just mentioned, like, so each one of those individuals is something specific that I learned from each one of those individuals that has helped me be a better man. Not everything that that person did spoke to me, but specific things about the character about the way that they lived, loved the way that they respected individuals, the way that Michael Jordan was another one the way that he competed. And he brought the best to everything that he did, because he was trying to do things to help other people be better as well. So it's specific things that I've learned that I've gathered, that I've modeled myself that I've allowed to be come a part of me, but here's the thing, I didn't try to duplicate them. What I did is I look, I saw what they did love what they did. I digested it, and I created my version of it. So now was authentically mine the way that I do it because I do things differently. I do. I'm a little I have a little geekiness me. So I'm a sci fi do so like, I do things a little bit different. So I go from that perspective. And so now I can articulate that and share that with other people. This is the way that I do it. And obviously, I've had meant I had a couple of mentors that spoken to me one of those was Emmett Thomas, is my coach DB coach with the Eagles. But it wasn't the mentor when I went up and said, Hey, could you mentor me? Like I? I've never necessarily have done it that way. Does this make sense? Yeah. I've seen individuals, I've asked them questions. Obviously, if I have problems as specific people I know that I can go through go to to have conversations older than me. And it's I guess to say it like this also that success leaves trails, you probably have heard that before as well. So success leaves trails. So a specific things that you have, you can see from other people that you can digest, and you can begin to implement your version of it. Always let me repeat, that is your version of it. You're not trying to be somebody else. God did not make duplicates. He does not even twins that are the same exact egg don't come out exact. They may look the same, but they are two individuals that fingerprints are different. So he didn't create us to be a duplicate of somebody else. Right? He created us to be 100% us, but sometimes the US may see something in somebody else to add to us. That brings out a new version of us that we didn't know existed. This this makes sense.

Trevor Tyson  24:34  
Yeah. Man, that's so important to so many people get caught up in trying to be just like somebody else. But we all have our own DNA. We all have our own identities. And one thing I really want to touch on with you is there's a lot of people out there that are struggling with depression and security especially when it comes to chasing their dreams and aspirations and their God given callings on their life. Is mental health something that you've struggled with in your life and if so, How have you overcome that? How absolutely what to do?

Brian Dawkins  25:03  
Yeah, absolutely. That's something that documented in the book. And I've said it in my Hall of Fame speech as well, you know, that went through depression. And so far self harms thoughts out, I'll say that instead of the other word, I had those and, and dealt with a very dark period of my life. And it's in that space, that, and I say it like this, it's in that space. Oftentimes, as you get older, you young, if they're young, if they're younger of you that are watching this, you will know what I'm talking about probably later on, probably not right now. But there are instances in our lives, that we go through a dark, hurtful place. And is when we get to the end of us that we can then that we then look up, and truly just say, I have no more answers. I've tried everything that I thought could work, and it didn't. And I'm still in this painful dark place. And then you look up, and then you just, whatever you, whatever you send me, Lord, I'm willing to move into and do. And that's what I did. Basically, I got to the end of how I was trying to hold in the pain from the past, I wasn't talking to anybody about nothing. So I was trying to deal with the toxins of the past and not the toxic but the hurts and some of the traumas from the past. And I wasn't dealing with them, I was just stuffing them away, stuffing them, stuffing them, stuffing them, suck it up, deal with it, rub dirt on it, man, don't cry, all those types of things, you don't show your emotions, and all of those things. Well, the word It was a horrible formula to be using. So when I finally got to the end of me, it and my wife Connie basically grabbed my hand and helped me and said, No, you're going to talk with somebody because I had to, and I did. And that is when that Doppler I talked about earlier experience happened. Because I was in the storm. I was in the emotions, and I was just it was just nothing but pain, nothing but pain. And I got I was so tickled that sick of the pain. And when I but when I began to talk about some of the things, it was embarrassing at the beginning, yes, it was. But as I got more comfortable talking about the things of my past and sharing with that individual some of the things that I was going through that I had talked to nobody about that happened. I was able to exhale just a little bit. I wasn't just short breaths, making sure I stay strong stay fit. Now. I let some of those things out some of those weaknesses out. Right. And what what happened was that took medication for a little while to what happened was my emotions quieted. And when my emotions quieted, I began to hear from a higher plane, my vertical relationship, some of the things I needed to start doing, and some of the stuff I needed to stop doing. That's what happened. And that clarity, so I was still in the in them in the in the stuff, things were still going on around me. There was pressure pressurized, right. But because I was removed emotionally from it a little bit, and I was stepping into another of higher plane of thought, spiritually. I had peace. I had peace. And it was during that time I developed the things that I do everyday now is specific things that I do every day. Some people call it morning routines or ritual, whatever you want to call certain disciplines. I call them I do every day. When I wake up in the morning, I wake up in a state of gratitude. I'm thankful. I give thanks. Sometimes I'll literally say a lot of times, I'll literally say basically good morning to the Trinity, right. I'm talking to God, but you know, I'll call each one of them out. Another word for father, Yeshua, Jesus's name and Holy Spirit. Good morning. Thank you for this day. Thank you for another opportunity. Thank you for another opportunity. And this is before my feet hit the ground. But then my feet is to ground then now you know, they use restroom, direct me a little water to rehydrate. And then I go into the room. My we have a lot of side room here that I pray excuse me, I'll I'll go in order and meditate or pray by speaking and then I pray by listening. Then I read my journal. Now excuse my greet my devotional. And then I journal. I do that every morning,

Brian Dawkins  29:45  
every morning. So that practice came in. I didn't start that the day after I started going to treatment. Now this has been a process that the Holy Spirit has shown me what I needed to do for me, for me to be strong mentally, spiritually, physically and spiritually. Right. Not leaving no part of me to be lacking. I want to be strong physically because I still work out, right? I want to be strong physically because yeah, so I spend time in the Word of God, I spend time praying. And as the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, so I state, constantly trying to stay in a prayerful state of mind throughout the day to give Him thanks and praise throughout the day. Matter of fact, I've went back to doing this now I sit on my phones, but once an hour to give thanks. Once an hour, or reminder comes up, give thanks. So in that moment, whatever I'm doing, I'll stop. Thank you. And so sometimes it'll go Thank You, Lord, for my beautiful children, my beautiful wife, thank you for the life. Thank you for the lives I'm helping, like I go through into a place of gratitude, once an hour, right. But this is what has come over that time. Of me spending time with God, and spending time in a place to allow him to speak to me some of the things that I can do to better me and mentally, back on up the mental mental health side of things. This is where the enemy attacks mentally, if he can get into your head, if he can get you to focus on other things, other than that vertical relationship, if he can get you to focus on your job, only. If I get this car, I'll be fine. When I get this relationship, I have this woman or this man, I'll be happy then. Right? If he can get you to start chasing all of these things, none of that stuff will fulfill you. None of it will because as soon as you have that, whatever it is, you will be longing for something else. Because that new car won't stay new always. Right. Always talk about new car smell like he that new car runs out of the new car smell and, and that new car, all of a sudden, in the first year or so nobody could eat in it, then after maybe a year it gets a dinner to now hear everybody's eating into the game, right? So you're gonna run out of that nostalgia. But then the nostalgia that never runs out, is that vertical relationship. So that's why it's important for me to spend that time with God to spend that quality time that cute tea with my heavenly Father, to be grateful in the morning and to journal my thoughts journal gratitude journal, what I've read in that devotional for that day, right. So it's different things that I do, as far as journaling is concerned. And that's another thing journaling has been become one of the primary ways that started way back then, that I have now. Yeah, strengthen my mental working out as another one, I work it out as extremely important. For those who don't know, understand that your, your body rewards you for moving. It literally rewards you for moving and working out. In some of the most potent, I'll call them feel good chemical combinations are produced after a very rigorous workout. And when I say workout, don't look at it as being a treadmill. I'm not talking about treadmill, I'm talking about movement. So change workout, exercise to movement, what movements do you want to do? What movements do you like, and when you do them, and you've, you know, you've raised your breathe a little good. When you when, when we're breathing like that, and you're exerting yourself like that your body, your body will reward you with those feel good chemicals that makes you want more of that. Going forward. I know I just went long winded on that one. But I guess the point is that this is my formula. Don't look at what I just said. It's like, Oh, my goodness, you do all of that. Don't look at it like that, because I didn't start there. I started with just journaling, just devotional and praying, journaling, and devotional. That's how I started. Because I needed to do something because what I was doing was not working. And I was on the other side of it. And I did not want to go back to that dark place when in fact, my my my comment to myself was I'm never going back there. I'm not letting nobody take me back there. I'm not letting those situation take I'm not letting my thoughts I'm gonna take captive every thought and make them obedient to the Word of God. Like, I'm not going back to that dark place that don't hurt too bad. Right? So again, I then had to formulate things for me to get going. So start off with five minutes. I do this it takes me

Brian Dawkins  34:44  
I give myself an hour is how long it takes me to do everything that I just talked about. That's, that blows your mind and you're like, No, there's no way we're gonna do that. Five minutes. Just do five minutes. Get yourself a good devotional on the Bible and up, right? Pick one of them. That's what maybe you're going through something. Look, look up that word and it'll give you some devotionals to do. Spend some time praying by talking, spend some time praying by listening, right? Breathe a little bit, breathe when you're doing it. And then journaling, your thoughts, journal, your thoughts, your journal, what you're getting from the devotional journal, what you want to do that day, like, what do you see? What are the what is the success you want to have for that day, like, there's a whole bunch of ways to utilize that time for yourself. And the last thing I'll say is this. The job, I don't care how old you are, always remember this. That job, I'll use that loosely. The job that you want to work the hardest on, is you. That's who you want to work the hardest for and on, not on your job you want to work on when you you want to make sure that you're putting the best into you were meditating on the right things, meditating on quality things, looking at quality thing, listening to quality music, surrounding yourself with quality people, right? You want to pour the best into you. Because ultimately, you can't give from an empty container. So if you're not pouring into you, and then life comes, and that storm comes, your foundation is built on nothing, you have nothing to withstand that storm when it comes. But when you're having all this quantity placed in placed in you, then when that storm comes, you'll be able to stand firm in the word firm in your faith. Knowing that once again, this too shall pass. But I'll stop there. So you can ask them more questions.

Trevor Tyson  36:47  
No, that's, there's so much wisdom and vulnerability that you've shared throughout this whole episode. And mostly in the book. But God's been writing this story in your life, since you were born. And it's crazy to think about, like, for me, like I've never been the biggest dude. So I can totally relate with that insecurity and not being like the eye candy, you know. And I love what you said about Michael Jordan and Bruce Lee, and all of the people that you look up to you don't, you don't want to be them. You're taking great traits that they had, and you're applying them yourself. And that's what this show is built on. I want to showcase people that have amazing journeys have amazing things to share with the world have built their life on a faith standpoint, for us to be able to listen, reflect. And if there's something amazing that we could take into our lives that without that right there, this Trevor talks thing would not exist. That's what this is, like, I know for a fact, I'm going to take the perseverance aspect that I've learned from you today. And apply that into my life and journaling. And being like these are there's just so much that we could take from this, especially the physical and mental health, like, people don't understand how much physical health has to do with mental health and vice versa. Hydrate yourself, be active. And like you said, like, you don't have to go run a mile right now. Like work into it doesn't have to be an hour, start with five minutes, baby step into your purpose. We're all blessed by the best whether we want to admit it or not. It's time to go after it. God's God's mapping it all out. He's mapping all out through your story. He's placing it all in our lives. And I feel like there's only one way we could really in this episode, and that's opening up the floor for you to showcase the women in your life. In the book, you talk a lot about your mom and the women who invested in you. So would you mind sharing with us about those women? Yeah.

Brian Dawkins  38:47  
Oh, wow. The first would be well, obviously my mom the reason why I'm here, right. But my mom was a fighter like she sees she literally is a fighter. She was grew up in a tough environment in North Carolina when when she was young father, father mom separated so she basically had to raise her siblings. So that's been my mom. So the disciplinarian in the house was not my dad necessarily. It was my mom, right? But my mom has survived breast cancer. Now she has survived three strokes now. Right? So so she literally is a fighter. She's a fighter. So teaching me how to hold on me learning how to fight came from the person who have fought all of these things off and still in a right mind and still able to move not as fast as he used to obviously but still able to move and she's in her 70s now so like, powerful example of fighting, powerful example of fighting not just for herself, but for her family like powerful example. And then my grandma my call Saint darkens. She is 100 and And for now, right? She's 104 now. Wow. So, but in my grandma, I learned basically, I've got a chance to see what a believer look like. Like what I believe how will believe believer handled life handle stress? I've never never seen her lose herself in anger. I'm not saying she can't be stern. I've asked my uncles and aunts to say my dad the same thing like, Have you ever had grandma ever curse? No, I should know she doesn't do that. So I've seen what control looks like. I've seen what grace looks like. I've seen coming out of that household, my my grandma, my grandfather's house, so seven kids in one of the roughest areas in Jacksonville. And out of that house came for doctors, a CPA, and to quality individuals and to success society. And one of them was is my dad, right came out of that house holy, one of the toughest environments in Jacksonville. Right. A lot of that has to do with that woman. How she prayed with them, prayed for them, kept him in, you know, kept him in church, right kept him going to Sunday school, and but I learned so much from just watching her live life and the peace in her house. Oh, my goodness, the peace in our house was unbelievable. Unbelievable. So here's, here's a lot of things I took from my grandma. But one of the things that I've taken from her is I want that same piece in my house. I want when people come to our house, that they come into our house, like Wow, man, it's like I want them to come into our house and use all of a sudden just get sleepy. Because there's so much peace in the house that they can leave the stress out the door, right. So that means I need to be carrying myself praying over the house. And I'll give this to you and everybody else. I pray over this house once a month that I walk in every room. And I pray over this house. Every once obviously I'm praying throughout the month, but I'm specifically I walk into every room once a month, the first of every month and pray over this house, right? That's my calling as a man. That's what I'm supposed to do over my house. But again, a lot of the things that I do how I do it initially started by watching and modeling my grandma, and how she treated people living living the life like the Bible tells us right treating people as you would want to be treated right. I saw that example in her. And then finally I end up with my my beautiful wife, Connie. I tell her all the time. She doesn't believe me. And I thank her like I thank her for choosing me like I'd never saw myself being with someone like her. Like I never I literally in my mind, as the saying goes out kicked my coverage, right I totally out kick my coverage, like when it comes to her. But she has such a huge heart. And the way that I was introduced to going to church

Brian Dawkins  43:18  
was different from her experience of being in church. I never saw and as it says in the book, I had never seen the fruits of the Spirit operating. People's speaking in tongues, people beings kind of slain in the Spirit. You know, laying prostrate, praying, I had never seen that. Right, because I grew up Catholic. So I never saw. But But But what that did, and being introduced to her being introduced to her what she knew about the Bible. I had questions. I became curious, like, what is this? And I don't know. So it literally I believe she was brought into my life to help me go to another level and who God had called me to be right. But also She's the love of my life. Love. If you had she not stepped up her and him and I would not be here literally,

Trevor Tyson  44:14  
Brian, this is there's so much wisdom that you've shared with us today. And thank you for being vulnerable with us. And it's refreshing to see someone who's had the success that you've had reflected back to God you deflect it from yourself, which is admirable. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for sharing with us and everybody that's listening. This right now blessed by the best is available on Amazon and wherever else you buy books, and Brian socials and websites will all be in the website in the description below. And if you're streaming this on YouTube, be sure to head over to Apple Music or any other audio streaming platform for the after show with my friend Brian lane at the end of this episode, and we'll talk to you guys next week. Bye now. Wow, one A freaking conversation that was you guys

Brian Layne  45:03  
incredible. I mean, I think this is probably my favorite podcast that you've done. No disrespect to all the other amazing people that you've had on your show. But like, if you were to listen to that, I mean, it's like one nugget of wisdom after another and you're like, Okay, I think I'm on full, where can I stash the rest of this now.

Trevor Tyson  45:23  
That's a huge compliment to like, he's also the first NFL player that we've had on. So for him to be a Hall of Famer, 16 consecutive seasons, Philadelphia Eagles, one of the best has ever played in the league. Like, it's crazy to even think about this guy. He reminds me of a high school football coach, even though I didn't play high school, you know, those movies like Facing the Giants and all that good stuff, where you have that one coach that's just champion you on to the finish line, or whatever they call them. dadgum things that help you win a football game, you know, I'm saying,

Brian Layne  45:54  
you know, being at that level of competition, and having that level of achievement, and then to be able to turn around if you're retired, and you can just hang it up and say, You know what, I'm done. It's cool. I'm going to live off the pension, I'm going to just vacation. But he didn't do that. Instead, he decided, You know what, I've been so blessed. And I want other people to experience the same blessing that I have. And I want to show this to people that it's possible, that no matter what kind of circumstances you're facing, no matter what kind of adversity is in your life, with the right mindset, in the right, practice, anything is possible.

Trevor Tyson  46:31  
Yeah. Especially when you're blessed by the best right.

Brian Layne  46:34  
100% I love that. I love that title of the book. You want to know it's crazy as towards the end of the podcast when he you asked him about the women in his life. Yeah. And this dude's big, right? He's jacked up cocked diesel as they say. And you know, you're you're looking at the guy, but this dude is on the, on the verge of tears talking about his mom, and talking about his wife. And it's just so beautiful. How he can just attribute everything back to the beginning. I think it was talking about his grandma, too. Or we can talk about both his mom and grandma.

Trevor Tyson  47:07  
Man. Yeah.

Brian Layne  47:09  
You know, this one part where he's talking about the peace in the home, bro. Like, that's what I want. I think that's everybody. Everybody wants to come home and it feel like home where the world just melts away at the door. Yeah. And I want that. I want that.

Trevor Tyson  47:25  
It's refreshing to hear. And one common thread that I see is Everyone's searching for Peace, man.

Brian Layne  47:32  
Yeah, just to find that stillness and even, even in the good times, but especially in the storms, you know, OJC down in the bow of the ship during the middle of the storm. snoozing.

Trevor Tyson  47:43  
Oh, J or J COJC.

Brian Layne  47:48  
Oh, gee, Bobby Johnson. No, we're talking about

Trevor Tyson  47:50  
OJ Simpson.

Brian Layne  47:52  
Yeshua HaMashiach.

Trevor Tyson  47:55  
You know what I'm saying? So yeah, but he's in the boat.

Brian Layne  47:57  
He's in the boat. He's chillin, He's sleeping. He's snoozing. Because he knows ultimately, it all rests in the father's hands. And that no matter what, no matter what the outcome is, he's going to be okay. Come on. Oh, man. So that's, that's, that's a beautiful piece. And I think that we all want that, especially you and I, you've seen what I've been going through last season. And that's another thing that he was talking about seasons. Yeah. And so like, that was incredible.

Trevor Tyson  48:23  
It's insane to think about, like, we have mentors, we talk about mentors. But when you get older, you're like, I don't really want to listen this person. Right? You have that ego battle that you have I had it. Probably I mean, you I think you actively have it in your head, right? I was about to say when I was 22. Like, I'm an old man or something. But like, recently, like I've had where I'm like, You know what, you don't know everything dude. Like, you have to tell yourself that daily. One thing I was telling you about that book that I was listening to on Audible by Mel Robbins, where she's like, high five in the mirror. And I'm like, Why, like a whole book on that? Why? What do you think about the simplicity of it, and self help, all that good stuff is is necessary at times for seasons, right? Like, I pray that this show is going to continue to bless people and that they stick around for the long haul but I totally get it if this is a seasonal show for you. If you need the encouragement, you need to hear people's stories just know when you get if you get back into that season, we're gonna be here for you. We're not planning on going anywhere. So it's only gonna go up from here.

Brian Layne  49:28  
The seasons are key because when you're in the storm, and you you're you're filling it and you know I've been in a storm the last quarter or so and just dealing with my own stuff and and he even nailed it when he said when you get out of the way. When you get out of the way just surrender it surrender the outcome, surrender it all. It's, that's when God can really have his perfect effect and then not only that, or do his perfect work. Not only that, it just gives you that peace. It's not up to you Be more.

Trevor Tyson  50:01  
This this episode I think will bless people and not even just episode just a message to that's involved in it. And like I say, a lot I try to anyway, right? These episodes aren't about me like, we want to, we want to help people overcome obstacles in their life. Or if you're from a tiny town, I want you to know that you don't have to stay in a tiny town. But it's also not a burden to stay in a tiny town like you can be that hidden gem. And your community you can be the person that makes a huge impact in your small workspace. It's it's not about changing the world as a whole. It's these tiny steps and the people that make an impact, right where they are, take comfort and who they're created to be, and Quit Chasing the the quote unquote, American Dream, which happens to be a rat race. So if you're listening to this, and you're from a tiny town, like me, social circle, yeah, you can stay there. But you don't have to be afraid to dream big. Just to add

Brian Layne  50:57  
more to what you're saying. If it's God's destiny and purpose for you, and you surrender to that destiny, you surrender to God's will, you could be living in the tiniest of towns, and God's going to lead you to where you need to be. And surrendering to that destiny. It's, it's the difference between push and pull. A lot of times, we're always pushing, push and push and push and working really hard trying to get somewhere. But when we stop and allow God to pull us towards our destiny, and we surrender that, God, wherever you want me to be, I don't care if it's Alaska, I don't care if it's Brazil, I know you have my best interests at hand and that you're not going to hurt me, I trust you fully. That's when the poll starts to happen. He starts to pull you into situations and pull you into rooms that you had no business being in and pull you into places and into position ultimately. And yeah, that's, that's, that's key to everything. And I wish I could practice what I preach. Because a lot of times I find myself struggling with the very thing of trying to push my way into things when God's trying to pull me into things.

Trevor Tyson  52:03  
That's a relatable thing. I totally relate with that. I've even found myself like, pushing myself into the wrong place and just finding myself exhausted. Right? Yeah, it's like, running in ways. Yeah. Like you think this is a spot you're supposed to be in so you're pressing for it. But then you think like, did I even ask God if I'm supposed to be here, and then I didn't. And you find yourself like that green grass looked a whole lot greener at the beginning, starts to burn right and terrible. But it was bad and like so

Brian Layne  52:37  
I think that's what Lawton Abraham had a situation. Abraham trusted in the promises of God, and lot trusted in what his eyes could see. And so a lot chose Sodom and Gomorrah. The grass is greener, and Abraham chose the will of God. And we see how that story played out. And a lot of times when we're running in place, we just exhaust ourselves and gotchas waiting for us to chill. We don't have to know the next move. We don't have to know the next step. We don't have to know exactly what's going to happen next. But if God is leading us, I promise you there's going to be some milk and honey at the end of that tunnel at the end of that good holiday.

Trevor Tyson  53:21  
Dude, Crowder's album milk and honey. He even came on the show and talked about it. You should go listen that episode if you're listening this Yeah, that was we're huge Crowder fans he that album milk and honey, those funny you said that because that self friggin slapping album. So good slapping a slapping, bro.

Brian Layne  53:41  
I mean, this has been an exciting podcast. And I'm just like I said, I feel privileged to be here. So I'm always grateful that you have me on on the After Show. I'm excited for next week. Yeah, bro. And if y'all have not left a review on the podcast, please do so it makes a huge difference. And it helps us visibility it helps us with ranking helps us get the message out there. And you can find Trevor everywhere on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok getter. If you can think of it, I'm pretty sure he's there besides my space for some pivot. Oh, yeah, even pivot pivot, he's on pivot. And you can go like and subscribe and just be an active part of the community. Don't be afraid to ask questions, leave a question. Hit him in his inbox if it's personal, or we'll answer the question anonymously. But let's let's all get together. Let's all be a part of this and let's all build this awesome community and continue pushing these messages forward.

Transcribed by

Brian DawkinsProfile Photo

Brian Dawkins

Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996, Dawkins fought to elevate not only his own game but that of his entire team. He sweat, bled, and dominated through sixteen season in the NFL all the way into the Hall of Fame, but not for a moment did he believe his strength alone brought him that glory. Every step of the way the Lord had his back. From coaches that wanted to break him to defeats and bitter lessons in humility, his career is a testament to his faith and an homage to the countless people that helped him along the way.
In the wake of his success, Dawkins comes forward to describe his journey to become one the best safeties in the NFL. Physical training wouldn’t cut it. Blessed by the Best follows Dawkins trials to train his mind and faith along with his skill. As a nervous kid from Jacksonville, he never dreamed of one day standing in front of a crowd to accept that golden jacket. But one way or another, he made it. Dawkins tells his story straight, unafraid of exposing his own weaknesses; his over competitive spirit that takes losses to hard, the tunnel vision that estranged him from his kids, and the self-doubt that plagued much of his early years. Triumphs, pitfalls, love, and struggles Dawkins shares them all, not for himself, but in gratitude of those who have helped him along the way.

I had been blessed by the best. First, that meant the Lord, who has blessed me with so much. It also meant all those people and things around me that I believe were the best for me. Maybe they weren’t the best for somebody else. Your best may not be my best. That’s fine. Everything that has happened to me has been to bring out the best in me. Even the toughest, hardest times in my life were the best things for me. If I hadn’t gone through them, maybe I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”