Inked: Putting The ‘Human’ Back In My Human Resources.
The irony is that I learned to reach out as soon I was born. It is our natural response to the world; however, life and living sometimes causes me to forget. I reach out by writing, talking on the phone, going through the motions of a patterned conversation, and I forget that it is people that are our greatest resource. Our greatest sources of inspiration, motivation, and calibration are sometimes right in front of us; or me in this particular case waiting for physical connectivity.
Inky Johnson was raised by his mother in the rugged Kirkwood area of Atlanta with 14 relatives in a two bedroom house, and was the first in his family to go to college, let alone graduate, and pick up a master’s degree in sports psychology from the University of Tennessee. But wait there’s more.
Cruising along on a well-traveled path to the NFL laid by many UT defensive backs, Inky seemed a lock for a lengthy professional career. On this play against Air Force during his junior season, Inky was injured leaving his left arm completely paralyzed.
Living in Knoxville, I remember it well. I’ve never met Inky, but having had a son who had a devastating football injury that ultimately ended his play, I’ve followed Inky’s early career with interest, and when I read he had a book coming out, and was going to be doing a promotional signing, I decided to head to it. I watched literally hundreds of people flock to the event, and become inspired. Very cool, but wait there’s more.
A couple of seasons ago, UT was in a mid-season funk. Inky, a graduate assistant at the time spoke to the team with screaming tearful passion about never taking a day off, and how he would give anything to be able to just practice. Just play, run, be, excel, compete,and sweat. An inspired Eric Berry who played on that team went on to never take a day off. Berry became a first round pick and just finished his rookie season with the Kansas City Chiefs as an All-Pro…..All Pro, and while he was #1 in the obligatory draft pic, he’s wearing Inky’s number 29. More?
Here is a guy through perseverance, is inspiring kids as he now oversees activities for more than 500 of the approximately 1,200 children involved in the JustLead programs at the Emerald youth Foundation in Knoxville. Yeah there’s more.
I’ve come to learn that NFL and college coaches including Pittsburg Steelers Head Coach and Super Bowl Champion Mike Tomlin have met with and drawn inspiration from Inky. But Oprah drawing inspiration from Inky…Really? I’ve got to get out more to see and feel what great inspirational person might be sitting right in front of me. So, thank you Inky for reminding me that connection, motivation, and inspiration are maximized by physically reaching out, and that you do it with one arm while I type with two humbles me and inspires me to do a lot more with what I have been given. Thank you for putting some “Human” back into my Human Resources. Here is a link to Inky’s site if you’re interested in his book, speaking, etc.
Posted on July 19, 2011, in Strange But True, Uncategorized and tagged berry, eric, hr, human, inky, inspiration, jim, johnson, knoxville, national, opi, outplacement, resources, tait, tennessee. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.