An Interview with Chris Hope

“We come into the world looking like our parents, but we leave looking like our decisions.”

— Chris Hope

Most business and leadership books are about how to attain success. Today’s JumpbyDesign guest, Chris Hope has a slightly different take. His forthcoming book, P.R.O.S.: Parents Relying on their Seeds isn’t even about business. It’s a book designed help you develop healthy boundaries with parents. But the lessons and wisdom it imparts have broad applications for managing success in the business world as well.

Chris Hope hasn’t always been an author. After playing football for the Florida State Seminoles, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Steelers in 2002 and was a key part of the team’s Superbowl XL victory.  Here is what Jump by Design learned from speaking with the former NFL All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, devoted family man, entrepreneur, investor, and author.

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How do you approach challenges?

“Successful people don’t have quitting in their blood,” Hope explains. In fact, when he is coaching, Hope teaches his players that “obstacles are an essential achievement”.  Perseverance and believing you can do what you set out to do; that is, developing a positive mindset — are key to overcoming challenges.

High Performing Teams don’t need the Highest Draft Picks:

To explain this concept better, he cites the winning culture that the best teams create.

“The highest draft choices go the worst teams, …if they are getting the best players, they should be the best.” Instead, good organizations draft people with intrinsic motivation.” Because such individuals love the process as much as the prize, they rise to the challenge.

Chris Hope aims higher than just success and challenges you to do the same. “Everyone has the ability to be successful,” he points out, “but only a few people have the chance to be significant.” In the second act of his life, Hope has set himself the ultimate challenge, building a legacy of significance in the world that goes beyond his athletic performance and establishes him as a leader in his community.

What’s the best way to repay your debt to those who helped you get your start?

Family is everything to Hope. The question he poses in P.R.O.S is, how does one honor and respect family does while at the same time establishing boundaries that aren’t distorted by success?

The answer is counterintuitive. Hope explains that what many professional athletes do, upon achieving their first financial success, is overextend themselves, buy a house for their parents and “retire” them as a reward for their love and support. But “love is not giving gifts,” and often the costs outweigh the athlete’s financial ability. Equally significant, he explains. By retiring your parents while they are in the prime of life, you set them up for having false expectations that erode relationships and leave people feeling bitter and powerless.

Instead, the best way to honor your parents by having integrity and becoming a good citizen. This is how “you bring respect to your last name.”

Where do boundaries come in?

Refusing to turn the people close to you into dependents who will come to resent you is one boundary. Hope’s book, however, is about the need for parents not to stifle their children’s growth by expecting them to fulfill their dream. “Unhitch the hitch,” he says, and give your children the freedom to become the best possible people they can be.

The ultimate boundary? Hope says that parents shouldn’t expect their children to be “good.” That expectation alone is just another attempt to turn your child into a carbon copy of yourself. Instead, you need to raise your kids to “find that goodness” in themselves and their world around them.

How does Hope’s message help me become a successful entrepreneur?

The most impressive thing about Hope isn’t his career with the NFL. It is the sheer level of his integrity. This quality was evident from the time he was a child and set himself the goals of perfect attendance and all As on his report card. As an athlete, he was gifted but never fooled himself into believing that he was the most talented. Instead, he undertook a rigorous and disciplined training schedule to build a foundation of preparedness.

Knowing how to temper self-confidence with hard work, are some of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur needs to have.


Stephanie Jules

Author Stephanie Jules

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