Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Retired Super Bowl Champion,
Tony Dungy Uncommon Award Winner,
Author, and Chief Culture & Growth Officer
His Grit, Grace, and Vulnerability
Inspires leaders to build championship cultures
Graced with many gifts and talents, Ben Utecht grew up in a loving family, surrounded by music. He readily admits that he was far from perfect. In his early years, he bought into the idea that he was better than others because of superficial things.
Ben was fortunate to have people in his life who told him the truth. He remembers a high school friend saying he had some issues with pride, and that ‘arrogance is not a quality that represents what you stand for.’ “It wasn’t easy to hear,” Ben says, “but it was a revelation.”
” When I left high school, the only thing that I was going to strive to do was to love people and love God. My perspective about popularity and all those things had changed.”
Ben’s initial plans for a pro football career did not work out as expected. He spent half of his college career with two different injuries that took him completely out of the NFL draft.
When Ben became a free agent, he was contacted by Tony Dungy, coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He and Ben are both alumni of the University of Minnesota and had met at a conference. The Colts paid Ben for a year while he underwent surgery and rehab. Three years after missing out on the draft, Ben was a starting tight end on the Colt’s Super Bowl championship team. Without those college injuries, and the related incidents that occurred during that time, which would not have happened. That experience reinforced his faith and hope.
Ben displaying his Super Bowl ring
Ben’s not your stereotypical macho football player. He always tells people that one of his main goals is to be vulnerable. “I’m not going to hide my mistakes,” he says firmly. “Maybe those who have dealt with the same things that I have can learn something.”
When Ben was released from the Bengals due to injury. His football career came to an end. His faith and character helped him navigate this most challenging time. His approach to life is to grow in multiple areas while staying true to his values. He prepared himself for life after football.
Being a part of the NFL has opened some new doors for Ben. He released his debut Inspirational music CD in April 2009. Ben’s music reflects his personal mission. “One of my songs talks about how, if our focus was on love, and how we can better serve people, it would change everything -- from politics to religion.”
Ben is the author of Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away: A Story of Perseverance and Hope. Ben endured five major concussions while playing for the Colts and Bengals. His book is his very touching love letter to his wife and daughters that inspires readers to live every moment to the fullest.
Ben is Chief Cultural, and Growth Officer at, Behavioral Essentials www.behavioralessentials.com. Behavioral Essentials is an elite performance management company, who connects leaders to performance by empowering them to transform culture.
Ben has an inspiring attitude about his missteps and challenges. He likens them to a trial by fire. “Some of our most precious metals are forged in the greatest heat,” he explains. Even amid tough times, Ben looks forward to what's ahead because he knows that growth can come from the greatest adversity.
Ben believes that people really do understand right versus wrong and good versus evil. “If you trust your instincts, you’ll usually make the right choice. It’s like a snowball effect. The better choices you make, the easier it gets to keep on doing that.”
Ben is facing his future with confidence. “I have such a dedicated support system -- my family, my wife, other interests outside of football -- that life does not seem so scary and uncertain. I have been able to step back and say, ‘I know things are going to be okay,’ and that has been a huge help.” He’s determined to take his talents in athletics, music and leadership and refine and accomplish his best with them.
From the outside, it looks as if Ben Utecht has everything, and could easily rest on his laurels. He takes none of this for granted and believes his work has just begun. “I will never be afraid to stand up for what I believe in. And I will always strive to be the best husband and father that I can possibly be.
Ben continues to inspire all those around him. He says, “I am so excited to have discovered my calling! To dedicate my life towards helping organizations build and practice Championship Culture that not only enhances company-wide morale and success but more powerfully transforms individual lives. Culture is the human condition at work. If you truly value people, then pour into their development and empower them to become the best version of themselves. That will WIN!!”
With his many gifts, his grit and grace in the midst of the fire, his passion for gaining wisdom no matter what life brings him, his solid faith, and the balance he strives to achieve in all his endeavors, Ben Utecht indeed deserves the title of an Insightful Player®.
INSTANT REPLAY OF BEN’S GUIDING PRINCIPLES
1. Surround yourself with people who care about your well being and your character, and who will be honest with you. Even if you don’t like it what they have to say, pay attention anyway. You will grow into a better person.
2. Be willing to accept that having a change of heart is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you genuinely want to grow and be a better person, be prepared to be confronted on the same issues a number of times. Notice when you’re stubborn or defensive – that’s where you need to do the work.
3. Develop faith in God. Faith is the key to getting through tough times. It carries you through and gives you hope that things will always work out for the best.
4. Trust your instincts and your heart, and stick to what you believe in.
5. Know what you stand for, and act on it. When you continue making good choices and good decisions and start seeing the positive effect it has on your life and the people around you, it becomes easier to keep on doing that.
6. Adjust your attitude about tough times -- they teach us important lessons. Look beyond them. Some of our most precious metals are forged by the greatest heat. Great growth can come from the greatest adversity.
7. Ask yourself how you can fulfill others’ lives as well as your own.
The Insightful Player® is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall-of-Fame Master Certified and Board-Certified Transformational Coach and the published author of Insightful Player: football pros lead a bold movement of hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her beloved father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach (as well as high school and college player). He used the game to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. Insightful Player® was created to transform culture to be inclusive, kinder, and more loving.
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