Bo Eason trained his whole life to be the best football player ever under the tutelage of his father and older brother, Tony Eason, a star-studded Superbowl winning quarterback with the New England Patriots. Throwing 1,000 balls a day, crowned with the golden rule,”Don’t let the ball touch the ground,” was just part of the base-package for the young Eason boys. Bo too entered into the NFL hero-dome, as a stunning top-pick safety with the Houston Oilers and later the San Fransisco 49’ers– known for his fearlessness and ferocity during his 5 year career. He guarded and tackled like no other, despite his smaller stature than most on the field. Nothing stopped him, until after getting a hold of an offensive player by the shoulders and suspending him in the air under his body weight, he suddenly felt the weight of multiple players joining him in a tackle. He unfortunately was pinned underneath the massive pile, his left leg bent towards his head, foot facing outward – the anatomically wrong direction. Crushed under brute force by the unforgiving inertia of momentum, Bo’s leg was broken in three different places. “Pop! Pop! Pop!” was not muddled. It would lead to his seventh and final football induced surgery.
The immediate realization that this would be the last time he would be aided off the field begged the question of Bo, mid-turn of the stretcher’s wheel, “What next?” The first answer at first stab was “Prison.” What he had trained for, been socialized for, wasn’t legal off the field, as he put it while talking to a ballroom full of fitness professionals at the first Success Academy stage at IDEA World Convention in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. No. This wasn’t an option. He quickly shifted his mind-set and came to the epic decision that what he would do is learn how to act in order to transfer all of his energy into something equally but differently expressive. And he, again, would put everything he had into becoming “The Best.” This is what Mr. Eason did. And this is what he was standing before us upon that IDEA World convention stage to convince us to do in our own right.
Bo began to immerse himself in learning how to act in class after class, and then he began asking his fellow students, “Who is the best stage actor of our time?” Hands down, the answer was Al Pacino. So, what did he do? He called his football agent and asked him to set up a meeting with Al Pacino. But, for what reason? He wanted advice from the best of the best about how to become nothing but the best stage actor. So, after a full day of conversation, playing pool and kicking it with Al, Bo had a 15 year plan mapped out. A 15 year plan! His “butt was going to be on stage more than any other person in the next 15 full years. [He] had control of that.” He would develop his craft. 15 years later, as he opened for the New York critics with his very own one-man-show, which he wrote, produced and acted in, he walked onto that monumental Broadway stage. The critics were “licking their chops at an x-football player” having the gumption to hit Broadway, Bo reminisced. And, as he began to elevate into an out-of-body experience, hitting his stride, 6-7 minutes into the play, he made eye-contact with someone in the 5th row – Al Pacino. In full Pacino style, Al folded his arms, raised his eyebrow and nodded twice in approval. “It was the best critique ever!”
Bo’s life story, as he tells it, is quintessential to his point. Settle for nothing but the best. Find a mentor, set your course, do the hard work of practicing more than you’ve ever practiced anything in your life. Be diligent every day to achieve being the best at what you want to do. See, the funny thing is, most people in this world settle for, and revel in, their mediocrity. Most people even want to drag higher achievers into their mediocre circles. Bo will have nothing of that. And, as he argues vehemently, neither should you! It’s uncanny that when he left Al Pacino’s house the day he began his mentorship, thanking him for meeting with him, he said something to the effect of, “I’m sure you have a ton of people wanting to talk with you about how to become the best actor.” Sadly, Pacino’s answer was, “No.” Sure, people ask him for help to get in get into a movie, but not how to be “The Best.”
Mr. Eason, who after running his pinnacle Broadway show “Runt of the Litter” for umpteen performances across 50 states, has now dedicated the next 20 years of his life to teaching others how to achieve greatness. By tapping into the power of story and dramatic physicality, he enables others to become effective, persuasive leaders and communicators. It’s his mission. And, he’s fantastic at it! Eason has harnessed his athletic prowess, expressive intuition, a keen mind, and a spirit that only moves forward in beautiful, graceful, powerful strides to enable others to find and articulate their own powerful narrative, to set series of goals, and instill the unstoppable habit of practice to achieve way beyond what may have been expected and accepted previously. “We are bread for greatness.” “Move like the predator that you are,” Bo urges, with grace, laser focus, and force, and “people won’t be able to take their eyes off you.” “You’ve got a body. Don’t be afraid to use it.” Be like his brother’s dog, Sparky, Bo analogizes. Sparky soars into the ocean time after time, against and beyond the waves to clutch the ball thrown by an NFL superstar quarterback in his teeth, swims back regardless of getting knocked about, runs up onto the shore, drops the ball at his feet, pants like crazy with that amazing dog-smile, awaiting only yet another throw, another catch, another fierce swim to the shoreline. “Sparky’s spirit is so willing to give,” Bo expresses. “He is bread for greatness.” So, Bo Eason asks the essential question, “What if you treated your career like Sparky treats that ball?” Let’s relentlessly do the work and find out, shall we?