Winning as an Underdog in Life with JJ Birden

In spite of the challenges, you have the power to succeed. You just have to get into the right headspace to use your speed bumps as stepping stones that will take you where you want to go. This week, author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and former NFL player J. J. Birden shares his stories of dealing with change and using a positive mindset to make the most of life’s curve balls.

Throughout his life and career, J. J. Birden has dealt with his fair share of setbacks. In sports, he’s overcome injuries and fought his way from bottom to top among the best. He’s also stepped up in his personal life, bringing his five nieces and nephews into his family when they fell on hard times. At any of those moments, he could have given in and been overwhelmed by the difficulty of the situation facing him. But instead, he made the choice to put in the work to achieve the outcome he wanted. All decisions take you up or down, he says. It’s about having the mental fortitude and positive attitude to make the right choice when it’s in front of you.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Embrace the power of positive thinking
  • Get into the right mindset for change
  • Don’t be complacent with where you’re at
  • Develop a personal game plan
  • Reframe challenges as opportunities


“I’ve always been the little guy. I’ve always dealt with the doubters, the naysayers, the dream-stealers, so I’ve always had different types of obstacles where I’ve had to prove people wrong.” -J. J. Birden

“Failures, adversities, setbacks, challenges, obstacles. We all deal with it. It’s just how we view them and how we plan to conquer them, and I treat those moments as opportunities for breakthroughs.” -J. J. Birden

“We can make a decision and that decision can take us up or it can take us down. It’s up to us.” -J. J. Birden

“I want people to know that in spite of whatever it is, whatever the obstacle, whatever the setback, whatever the adversity, you can win. We have the power to win, but first … you’ve got to believe you can win, because if you don’t have the mindset right, you’re already defeated.” -J. J. Birden

“Who are we competing against? The person we see in the mirror every single day — that’s your competitor. And that’s also your biggest fan.” -J. J. Birden


You can find out more about J. J. Birden on his website, That’s where you can sign up for his weekly motivational newsletter, “The Birden Report.” You can also check out J. J. Birden’s first book, When Opportunity Knocks: 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage!.

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Episode 181