Long ago, Joe Thomas earned the title of NFL Iron Man. He has never missed a game since the Cleveland Browns made him the third pick in 2007. In fact, this 11th year man out of Wisconsin who plays center, has never missed a play in starting all 161 games of his career. He has passed a milestone we might never see reached again. He snapped his 10,000th consecutive snap on 9/18/17.

Joe was the starter from his first game in his rookie season when the Browns won 10 games and just missed making the playoffs. This streak is the longest of its kind in NFL history. Browns Coach Hue Jackson said, “This is kind of unheard of . . . Now, it amazes me if anyone comes out of a game having been around Joe Thomas and seeing what he has done. I think our players see that too. I think a lot of that rubs off in our locker room.”

When asked by an announcer if he was first good or dedicated, the center got a little grin on his face. He said, “No, I was good first. And then, I became dedicated.” He never even considered being stuck in mediocrity. In a Tweet, Joe says, “I’m really humbled by the outpouring of respect from people all over the country . . . I feel like a guy who’s just always wanted to be there for his teammates, and I blink my eyes and 10k snaps has gone by.”

The call for dedication comes for many, not just in the lives of football players. When you have a child, that’s an essential commitment of 18 years or more. Going back to school takes single-minded focus and determination. If you have an interest, say cabaret singing, that passion takes courage and a knowing of yourself. The Winter Olympics arrive in February, filled with athletes who have dedicated time, energy and money to be able to compete. It’s not time to get stuck.

When I set a goal for myself, I like to model my perspective on people like Joe Thomas. Folks with a mindset that embraces challenge. The men and women who set a steady focus toward where they’re going. And never look back. They are not afraid to grow. They don’t even consider getting stuck. And I don’t get stuck either. I don’t expect to be able to achieve a milestone like Joe’s, but I have my own landmarks. With inspiration from others’ dedication who arrive where they choose, I too can continue to live unstuck.

Are you living stuck?

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

— Jackson Brown, Jr.

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