NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith has found success on the football field, in the business world and even on the dance floor. In his new book, "Game On," the former Dallas Cowboy star outlines the principles that helped him succeed, both on the field and off.
In "Game On," Smith, best known as the NFL's all-time leading rusher with the Cowboys and 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, provides readers with 10 steps to make their own dreams happen, including envisioning what you want, being courageous in the face of challenges and building "a championship team of supporters, role models and mentors."
Smith is now a successful real-estate developer and, with his wife, Pat, a well-known philanthropist in the Dallas area that witnessed his rise to football greatness first-hand.
He attributes his own success to a combination of determination, persistence, humility, courage and faith.
Perhaps nowhere in Smith's career were those traits more tested than when he joined Season 3 of ABC's dancing reality competition "Dancing With the Stars."
Partnered with pro dancer Cheryl Burke, Smith overcame a slow start to become a fan favorite and Season 3 champion, holding the show's coveted Mirror Ball trophy as high and proud as he did his three Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys.
"I was thinking, 'What have I gotten myself into?' " Smith says of the moments he struggled with Burke. "Cheryl was frustrated."
Smith says he came up with a new way for them to practice, found a few more hours in each day to practice and eventually won the trophy.
"Do not compare yourself [to anyone else]," he says. "Find out what God has placed in your ability."
Before I'd ever scored a touchdown for the University of Florida Gators or the Dallas Cowboys, I crossed the goal line untouched hundreds and hundreds of times. I did it as a small boy in the park across the street from my grandmother's house in Pensacola, Florida. My field of dreams was a little park called Malaga Square -- though back then I never knew those raggedy two acres even had a name. It was just a sparse patch of ground, but it gave a kid from the housing projects room to run.
And run I did.
My cousins usually played football with me there, but often I'd be the first on the field. While waiting for the others to show up, I'd throw the football into the air and let my imagination run as far as it would take me:
There's the kickoff. The football is in the air, and Emmitt Smith catches it at the five-yard line. He runs to the left sideline and makes it to the twenty, but here comes a tackler. He spins away, and now Emmitt Smith turns into Jim Brown bulling through another pair of tacklers. A cut to his right, and he's Tony Dorsett sprinting to the far sideline. He hurdles a defender, and now he's Walter Payton, weaving through the defense and sprinting toward the goal line. He's at the thirty, the twenty, the ten . . . Emmitt Smith scores a touchdown!