An Interview with Aaron Golub: It’s the Mindset that Matters

Rose Alarcon

Y Not You Media has the privilege of displaying Aaron Golub’s incredible, inspiring story. Although Aaron is legally blind, he made history as the first Division one athlete to play in a football game. His journey has been one of constant commitment, despite having to undergo the challenges and stigma of having a disability. Knowing his message is one that can touch and motivate others, he works as a speaker, proving there is no force stronger than one’s determination.

Tell us about yourself.

When I was on the football team at Tulane University, I became the first legally blind Division one athlete to play in a game. In my senior year, I was named a captain and went on to also become the first legally blind NFL free agent. I never let my limited vision get in the way of my success. I began playing football in seventh grade and worked extremely hard to get to where I am today. My grit, determination, and effort enabled me to earn a spot on the Tulane team and the respect of my teammates, coaches, and fans. My goal is to show others that it doesn’t matter what difficulties or setback they are fighting. It doesn’t matter what their perceived limitations are. Anything is achievable when you work hard and tune out the judgment of others. My planning, passion, and perseverance granted me success. My story shows that I have paved a path for others with disabilities not just in the realm of sports but also in life.

What made you get into doing what you do now?

I became a speaker because I realized that my story has the capacity to impact and inspire. I want to share my struggles and teach others how I created my winning mindset despite them. Creating change in the lives of others is a gift. I believe when you are given such an opportunity, it’s your responsibility to take full advantage of it. Speaking gives me a rush of adrenaline that I haven’t had since playing football. It gives me that same fulfillment and drive to succeed. When you find a purpose or a job that you truly love, grab onto it. You need to put 100% of your energy towards that goal. 

What differentiates you from others within your industry?

Considering that there are so many amazing speakers out there, this is something I’ve asked myself many times. Why me? How am I different? The answer is my mindset and my ability to overcome any obstacle. The skills I’ve developed through overcoming adversity and the limitations my disability caused at a young age is a subject that few people know about. My perspective is unique. My story is like no one else’s. Sharing that story is what sets me apart from others in my field. Furthermore, although I have a remarkable message, I know I have a lot to learn. Therefore, I still study and focus on learning from others every day. I listen to other speakers and discern what makes each one of them distinctive and special in order to apply it towards my own work.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Creating an impact in the lives of others. I imagine myself having a platform where I can speak on large stages and make a difference. I would be teaching others how to change their mindset and push through anything. I want to be a strong influence and one of the most sought-after speakers in the world. To achieve this type of following and influence is a dream that thousands of people no doubt aspire to, but few succeed in. What is rewarding and effective about my story is that it makes an impact on everyone I speak to. This fact is why I will reach my current goals. In five years, I’ll be thinking of and working towards even bigger dreams.

What challenges have you faced while building your business and brand?

Being legally blind is the biggest challenge that I have faced. Each task that I have accomplished came with its own set of obstacles. In football, no one thought I could play having a disability. As a speaker, I’ve had to hustle to create an audience and a following. My disability is seen as a weakness and as a reality that could hold me back. I don’t think of it this way. I think about it as one of my greatest strengths. My disability has forced me to create a drive and a mentality that distinguishes me from the crowd. I’ve shown that, no matter the challenge, if you change your mindset, you can overcome it. 

What have you learned from these challenges?

I’ve learned the importance of planning, passion, and perseverance. Every task, every challenge, and every obstacle can be overcome if you master these three things. Make a plan and stick to it. If you do this, you’ll hold yourself accountable and be able to see results. When you are truly passionate about something, you can achieve anything. Most importantly, if you learn how to persevere and push a little bit harder, you will learn to never give up. Creating a system like this will allow you to take on any challenge and break through any roadblock.   

What advice would you give to others while on their journey?

Be the hardest working person in the room. One thing people like to say is “work smarter, not harder.” The truth is that the people who achieve the most success eventually work smarter after long periods of time having worked harder. Success doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes a long time to accomplish, which can be frustrating, but if you work harder than everyone else, you can achieve it. What you need to do is work so hard that you aren’t competing with others. Instead, you are dominating them. As soon as you stick to this mindset of being the hardest working person in the room, of believing nothing can hold you back, you will be able to make your dreams a reality. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is what eventually creates success. I’ve failed more than most people, but the difference is that I get back up every time. Failure is unavoidable and it’s an aspect of life that you need to learn to enjoy, because it allows you to improve along the way. If you are knocked down, accept the situation and adapt. Find a way to overcome what is in front of you. One thing I’ve learned is that if something isn’t working, then there is the likelihood that you need to adjust your approach. Don’t give up, but don’t keep the same ineffective strategy either. Continue pushing towards the goal, but make small tweaks along the way. 

What is your why?

My “why” is accomplishing goals that no one thinks are possible. I actually enjoy taking on challenges that others think are impossible. It’s what fuels me as a person and what makes me the speaker I am. Yes, this makes things harder in the beginning, but the reward is so much greater in the end. While these tasks may very well take longer and be more stressful, they will have been worth all the time and effort after all. 

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