Updated: May 15
grew up surrounded by love, compassion and faith – and now does all he can to offer those same gifts to others
Corey Louchiey is a believer in the pass-it-forward concept. The love and compassion he learned from his parents and three older siblings was something he learned to pass on to others. At the same time, the examples of his brother and two sisters kept him on the straight-and-narrow throughout his early years. “At an early age, I formed the idea that this thing called life is not that hard, because I’d seen three other kids go out there before me. That’s not to say I never screwed up. I did. But I had this innate awareness that if I could just keep from doing half of the dumb things my older sisters and brother did, I’d just about have this thing kicked!”
As a young boy, he stuttered, and that put enormous emotional stress on him as he reached school age. “The worst thing in the world is to want to speak and not be able to,” Corey said. “I was labeled by my grade school teachers as a slow learner. Particularly difficult for the young boy was appearing in the regularly scheduled pageants at church. Once, at Easter, he turned to his father and pleaded for permission to skip the event. His father granted permission, but his mother believed he should follow through on his commitment to be part of the performance. Corey retreated into his bedroom and prayed, asking God to protect him from embarrassment if he went ahead with the play. The pageant went off without a hitch.
Corey was in his early thirties when he lost his father, whom he calls his best friend, confidant and rock. Although he was a grown man himself, the loss still gave Corey the sense of finally having reached full adulthood. “When you’ve had a person in your life who has taught you so many things, about love, friendships, career, family, and then all of a sudden you don’t have that person anymore, you can do one of two things. You can spiral downward or you can step up to the plate and say now it’s time for me to put away my childish outlook and step into this thing.”
As a child, Corey was raised Christian; now his beliefs, and the practices of yoga and meditation which he considers essential, reflect more of a Buddhist inclination. Still, Corey says, he doesn’t think it ultimately matters what you label your religion. “What matters is that you find something you can believe. Shortly after my football career, I began to follow the teachings of Pastor Andy Stanley from North Point Community church in the Atlanta area. I was drawn to Pastor Stanley because he is passionate about supporting people regardless of their spiritual beliefs. Pastor Stanley has played a vital role in my life and he doesn’t even know it.”
Despite a successful stint playing football for the University of South Carolina, followed by seven seasons in the NFL – first with the Buffalo Bills and then with the Atlanta Falcons – he now believes that he lost his way somewhere between starting his pro career and the present. “The lowest point in my life came when I was in my late thirties, going through a divorce, failing in my business venture, and tired of living in New York City. It was the first time I had a sense of not living my own life, not being the person I thought I wanted to be. Deep down inside, we need to be able to find within ourselves a whole person, made up of the spiritual, the mind, the body, the soul. If you can tap into that place of peace, that’s where the biggest personal work, the improvement and the spiritual growth, can most often be done.”
His inner turmoil led eventually to a positive change in Corey’s life: he and fellow NFL player Steve Hoyem co-founded a company called First & Life, a sports show that goes far beyond game scores and winning plays to talk about living life inside and outside of the game, with stories that inspire people to take authentic and powerful action and examples of personal growth and transformation in the face of adversity.
In addition to his work with First & Life, Corey is a highly acclaimed philanthropist who has made significant contributions to a number of charitable pursuits and has worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the United Way and Autism Speaks. He is also involved with The Gameplan Foundation, an organization that provides assistance for former NFL players. Corey currently serves as the president of the NFL Players Association New York/New Jersey retired NFL players chapter. He is also a member of the New York Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.
“First & Life is about living your best life now, and that’s what I’m doing,” he said. “If Corey Louchiey, a kid growing up in the countryside of South Carolina with a terrible stutter, can make something of himself, anyone can.”
A lifelong search for authenticity and adherence to his core beliefs give Corey Louchiey the values of an Insightful Player® team member.
Instant replay of Corey’s guiding principles:
If you have to ask yourself whether or not something is okay to do – if you have any doubts about it – don’t do it!
Take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Keep mind, soul and body in balance and maintain the health and well-being of all these different aspects of yourself.
Make the best of whatever situation you’re in. If your circumstances make you unhappy, take a proactive role in changing them.
Don’t be seduced by material wealth. Acquire the things that really matter to you, not the things society tells you that you should have.
Learn from other people’s mistakes. Watch what they do, and if the outcome isn’t good, learn not to make the same mistakes yourself.
When you are at a loss for what to do, pray. Ask God or your higher power for guidance, and listen for the response you get.
Stay in touch with your authentic self. Don’t lose track of what your true priorities are. Don’t let what other people want from you divert you from your own purpose.
Convey love, care and compassion to other people. “Pass it forward” by passing along all the kindest gifts that you yourself have been given.
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of her newly released book, 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 father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call 603-897-0610. ©2012 Insightful Player, LLC
Corey Louchiey is a valued member of the Insightful Player® team. To be named to this team, one must be a person of integrity, such as a current or former NFL player, who shares their personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children.