Da Chamber Hosts Da Bears

The Duneland Family YMCA was busier than normal on Wednesday thanks to a special guest. Former Chicago Bear lineman Matt Mayberry was the keynote speaker for the Duneland Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon.

"Matt is a motivational speaker who is going to talk about being the best you can be mentally as well as physically," Heather Ennis, President of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, said. "He's had a few setbacks in his life that he has turned into positive things. We're excited to hear from him about how we can do that in our lives, too."

The Chamber felt that it was time to raise the bar for their keynote speakers, which is why they set their sights on Mayberry. An IU grad, Mayberry was familiar with and happy to come back to Indiana. He speaks all over the world, bringing his motivational messages to universities, high schools, athletic organizations, community and professional groups, Fortune 500 companies and more.

The luncheon began with a welcome to the very large crowd that had gathered in the YMCA's gymnasium by Ennis. She introduced Rotary District 6540 Governor Christina Dougherty. After Dougherty's speech, Ennis came back to the stage and welcomed Mayberry as did everyone in the room with warm applause. Lunch was provided by Good to Go by Lucrezia.

"I'm an IU grad so anytime I can come back to Indiana that is very special," Mayberry began.

He continued by telling his story of how he got to where he is now. Mayberry grew up in Darien, IL. Growing up he took some less than positive paths that lead others to lose faith in him. But he was able to turn things around and get picked up by Indiana University Bloomington. There he played football and set sack and tackle records, earned all Big-Ten honors ,and was awarded the prestigious Howard Brown Award. The NFL took notice, and in 2010 Mayberry was signed by the Chicago Bears. His life changes after an ankle injury during a preseason game left him unable to play.

Instead of letting the situation get the better of him, Mayberry took it as a learning experience and overcame the negativity. His football dreams were done, but he wasn't.

"How can we define what failure means," Mayberry asked the crowd. "If you are a nonprofit organization or a business owner you are taking massive action. You are going to face trials and tribulations. That's life. That's running a business."

He spoke of what turned his life around: a conversation with his father when was a freshman in high school. He went to school days later with the decision made that he was going to get a scholarship and change his life. He discovered the power of goal setting then.

"One of my mentors, Zig Ziglar, showed me the power of goal setting. I put my goal on a piece of paper, printed it out, I laminated the paper and I carried it around with me in my back pocket every hour of everyday," Mayberry said. "A year later after intense training and self-belief I ended up getting 19 Division One scholarship offers. I got 19 when before people told me I wouldn't get one."

After his injury, Mayberry was out of commission for months. He decided to go speak at a high school to give back to the kids. That was the catalyst that launched his public speaking career. He did get an offer to play for the Raiders after he was healed, but he declined the offer.

"When I was healthy enough I didn't want to play. Right now I'm living my passion; my purpose," Mayberry explained. "That's what I encourage everyone in this room to do. Life is too short and too precious to not go after your passion."

So how do we get past failure? Mayberry said that it takes attitude.

"Developing a great attitude is something that we can make the decision to do everyday...when we talk about failure and adversity, attitude is pivotal to moving past that failure," Mayberry said.

He said that we should make it okay to fail.

"So many people look at failure as some big mishap in life. It's not. That means you are moving. You're taking action," Mayberry explained. "If you're not failing, you're not taking action... if we make it okay to fail we won't be inhibited by the fear of failure."

We have to find the lesson in the failure.

"When something traumatic happens on our lives it's easy to ask, 'Why did this happen to me?' But until we start asking, 'What's the lesson, we're never going to know what that lesson is," Mayberry said.

"Adversity is either one of our best friends or biggest enemies. You get to decide which one is on your side. Next time a failure, trial, tribulation comes, don't just go through it, GROW through it. That is a very important aspect in becoming the best version of ourselves," he continued.

Mayberry told the crowd that as long as they are still alive and breathing that they have more to give and more to become. He said that in order to be the best person that they can be one needs a personal growth plan which is pinpointing ways that one can grow on a daily basis, one needs to use goals to help him or her grow, thought processes needs to be changed by indulging in positive and uplifting material, and move past fear and into massive action.

An interesting strategy that he offered was to grab a sheet of paper, date it and then write 10 goals on it. Out of those 10 goals, choose one that will greatly benefit the others when achieved. On a separate sheet of paper, put that chosen goal at the top, then write 25 to 30 ways to achieve it. Upon reaching this goal, it will create a domino effect that will help to knock those other nine goals out.

After Mayberry's presentation concluded, he opened it up for questions. Many in attendance asked him pertinent and probing questions and he answered them all with ease and grace.

We all were very glad that we had a chance to attend the Duneland Chamber luncheon and listen to the wisdom that came from this young man. You have a bright future ahead of you, Mr. Mayberry. Thanks for coming and sharing your time with us in NWI.

Click here to see photos from the luncheon!

Sponsors for the luncheon were: Porter Regional Hospital and the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club.