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Leading by Example: A Conversation With Jonathan Jones

With Jonathan Jones and Tara Lewis

32 minutes

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Founder of the Jonathan Jones Next Step Foundation and NFL player Jonathan Jones discusses the role of mentorship in his personal and professional development and the importance of paying it forward to the next generation. This session features stories of mentorship experiences and illustrates how positive guidance and support can help inspire and guide individuals from marginalized communities.

Additional resources

New England Patriots NFL player Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones New England Patriots NFL Player and Founder of the Jonathan Jones Next Step Foundation
Tara Lewis
Tara Lewis VP of Community Expansion and Trends, Yelp

Tara Lewis: Hi, there. My name is Tara Lewis, and I’m Yelp’s Vice President of Community Expansion and Trends. And as part of this year’s Black and Business Summit, it’s my honor to welcome New England Patriot and two-time Super Bowl champion, Jonathan Jones. In addition to Jonathan’s impressive career on the field, he’s also the founder of the Jonathan Jones Next Step Foundation, an organization that he founded in 2019 to mentor and educate youth on practical life application and professional development. During today’s conversation, we’ll get to know the story behind Jonathan’s success and what drives his desire to make a greater impact both on and off the field. Jonathan, welcome.

Jonathan Jones: Hey, how’s it going? Thank you for having me.

Tara Lewis: Thanks for joining us. I know you’re about to head into the start of the NFL season, but other than training camp, what’s keeping you busy right now?

Jonathan Jones: I have been busy. Family, it’s kind of that last family time you get to have in before the season starts and been flying a lot. Just got my instrument rating last Saturday, so just been staying busy.

Tara Lewis: We’re looking forward to hearing more about your flying. Before we get into that, let’s go back to the beginning. What’s inspired you to start a foundation and why did you choose to focus on mentorship?

Jonathan Jones: I started my foundation a few years back, and it meant so much to me just because of my story. I was a product of help, and I’m always inspired to share that. Growing up there was an individual named Dave. He ran an insurance company, and they donated some money to help us, our track program, be able to travel and see things outside of my city. And so when I had that opportunity, it was my exposure to life outside of a small town. I’m from Carrollton, Georgia. And so just becoming full circle and now going into the NFL and having the resources to give back, it was pivotal for me to do that.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. That makes sense. You mentioned a little bit about people that have given back to you. Who are some of the people that you considered mentors or role models in your own life as you were growing up? And maybe are there any that you now consider mentors still?

Jonathan Jones: So many. I love about my journey is that I can kind of pinpoint who I leached on. Mentorship was big to me. There was a guy named Delandus O’Neal, still one of my best friends to this day. He’s from my hometown, and the greatest thing he did for me, he went to college. He kind of left Carrollton, and he showed me that was possible. And I kind of leached onto him and everything that he did. I tried to emulate it from running track and just the work ethic I got from him.

And then Coach Lucas, he volunteered his time. He was a retired police officer for Chicago that kind of moved down to Georgia and didn’t have to coach, didn’t have to be out there with us, but he just loved to give his time back to kids, and he was a success story for me. Seeing an African American male that’s been successful, retired, had a good successful career and kind of thrived in life. And even now some of the guys that I’m getting to rub elbows with Damon Martin in Boston, just doing great things in his area and just trying to leach onto those guys and always seeing someone who’s doing something that I want to do and just emulate it.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. Leading by example and seeing a path in terms of representation was really helpful for you, it sounds like.

Jonathan Jones: Yeah, so much. I often say that the easiest thing to do is to do something that’s already been done, and often the hardest thing to do is something that no one’s done before. And so just to find someone who’s doing the things. If you’re into art, find an artist that you can see yourself in and just emulate them and give it your best step. And like I said, even with football, I can remember as a kid, my mom would sit me in front of the TV on Sundays while she would make family dinners. And the next Saturday, every move I saw that previous Sunday I was trying to do. Just emulating those things and something so simple, but just carrying that over into my day-to-day life.

Tara Lewis: Right. And I’m sure you put your own flare on all of those things. It’s like inspiring, building off of things. I’m sure you’re doing that with your foundation, as well as also your career on the field as well.

Jonathan Jones: So much. I mean with the… Go ahead.

Tara Lewis: No go.

Jonathan Jones: I’m sorry. No, I was going to say especially with the foundation, that’s my opportunity to show kids things outside of football. Everyone gets to turn on the CB and see football, Jonathan Jones, but no one gets to see the education part and the things that I value so much outside of football. Just my foundation allows me to give kids the opportunity to see things outside of football that they can aspire to be.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. Well, let’s talk a little bit more about the details of the foundation and the work that you’re doing. How are you providing leadership development opportunities that are empowering in individuals from marginalized community? How does the foundation work?

Jonathan Jones: We get to go out to schools. That’s kind of like I said, my heart, and I love to focus on the middle school age. We work with all youth, but for me, I find it dear for the middle school age. I find that’s just kind of your place in life where you start to find yourself and you develop your group of friends and just putting them in places to succeed. We built a STEM lab in a school in Boston and working with programs like iRobot just to get kids acclimated to things that are outside of their norms. STEM and technology is the future, and we all know that. Just kids who don’t have that opportunity, who might not get into coding and be just even exposed to those things to know they even exist. Just kind of putting them in front of them and seeing that this is a possibility. You might not have the best technology where you’re from or at home. You might not have a computer or these things, but if we can get to your school and educate you and just put those things in front of you. For me, that’s the key. And it’s a small step and rightfully so to me is the next step.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. It sounds like you’re planting seeds, creating moments of familiarity so that as they continue to grow and make choices in their lives, they’re at least evolving with these sort of points of reference that’ll allow them to have more options, right?

Jonathan Jones: Yeah, completely. That is the goal.

Tara Lewis: Okay. Well, so when you think about the future of your foundation and expansion, what do you think about in terms of your ideal reach and how do you see that impacting the future of the youth?

Jonathan Jones: My foundation, I began it, my base, my village, I started in Carrollton, which is a small town outside of Atlanta, and then I went from there to Auburn where I went to college, and then now working in the Boston community. And those were kind of my villages and the places that gave to me and helped me along my journey. But my foundation, I’m looking to touch a lot more communities outside than the ones that have touched me, but those have been my starting points. But the competitor in me always having a mentor and having a goal. I want to rival the greater organizations like the Boys and Girls Club to have a Next Step foundation chapter in so many cities that kids can go and be a part of, and it can be something fun, and they can be a part of their journey as well.

Tara Lewis: That’s awesome. Okay, so for everyone that’s listening at home or wherever they may be, but especially people might be in the Boston area as well, are there ways that they can get involved with your organization, or are there any upcoming events that you’d like the audience to know about?

Jonathan Jones: Perfect. We’re partnering with iRobot here in the spring, not in the spring here, this fall, to open up some things with their partnership. And we began, there’s an endowment back in my hometown that I’m being a part of for scholarship, for youth, for underprivileged kids, and just logging in and tapping into the Jonathan Jones, just being a volunteer in every event. We’ll host a platform to where you can volunteer and be a part of all the things that we have going on.

Tara Lewis: Yeah, okay. Well, that’s great to hear. And we continue to be excited about all that you’ll do with your foundation in the future and look forward to supporting you on that. We’re going to pivot a little bit and talk about local businesses, of course, because Yelp’s mission is to connect people with great local businesses. Word on the street is that your grandfather ran a construction company so that you were able to see firsthand how hard it is to really run a local business and see someone that looked like you run their business. How did watching your grandfather run his business impact you?

Jonathan Jones: For me, it was a foundation of hard work to get to see someone wake up every day and go out and give their all into something they’re very passionate about. He loved construction and pouring concrete. I got to be exposed to that even at a young age. I can remember waking up early. He would be up four or five o’clock in the morning, and if I slept in, he was gone. And just getting to go out there and see that. Seeing the hard work that it took to run the business, and not even just the physical labor, but the mental of bookkeeping and things like that, that might not have been his strong suit. But he was able to outsource and build a team to run that business.

Just being exposed to that at a young age, it made for me that it was possible. Like you said, to see someone, just a family member, but also something that looks like you go out and repeat that success. And then my uncle kind of followed suit. He has this construction business that he does that, I can’t speak for him, but I’m pretty sure he would say who he is and the things that he does is because of his dad, my grandfather. Just growing up and being able to see that was a rarity and was something that for me, I enjoy seeing.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. It sounds like it was a foundation of a work ethic. It sounds like you have tremendous respect for small business owners, but I’m sure you’ve also been exposed to the realities that come with that in terms of responsibility, the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows of it. You have those times that feel like victory at all times, and then sometimes things change a little bit. But I’m sure that tenacity has been something that you’ve also learned in watching your uncle and your grandfather navigate some of those challenges.

Because many of the people that are in today’s audience are small business owners or decision makers that may not have considered what they represent to young people in their own communities, do you have any words for them in terms of their own awareness and what they might be able to do to officially or unofficially mentor others?

Jonathan Jones: Oh man. It pretty much what you just said to sum it up. Keep going. Being a mentor, sometimes you really don’t see. You don’t get to see the people that you’re leading, but just keep going. Just know that someone out there, when they walk into your shop, when they see you behind that counter, when they see you doing whatever business you may be in, they’re looking up to you. They’re saying, “Well, hey, maybe I can do that. Maybe I can own this nail salon, or maybe I can own this shop or this,” whatever it may be. And you’re an inspiration. Just keep going through those ebbs and flows. That’s a part of it, but just keep going because you mean so much to so many people that you probably don’t even know, but just keep going.

Tara Lewis: Amen. Okay. Well, you talked a little bit about your own family members and their experiences with small businesses. Do you have any anecdotes about either using Yelp or any of your own interactions with some of your own favorite businesses or any of your own favorite black owned businesses?

Jonathan Jones: Much so much so a lot of my friends, their parents, Ryan Dumas’ mom owned a restaurant back home and just going to her restaurant and eating there. My uncle has a rib truck that he does with barbecue, just being exposed to that and that being a part of my story. Like I said, I mentioned Coach Lucas. He owned a small restaurant, as well, when I was growing up. I actually was a busboy there in high school to be a part of that. But just to see those small businesses thrive and to be a part of those, and them being from my community, it meant so much. And I can look back on them now and see the growth that they’ve had and to see where they all started. It’s great to see.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. Are you a big barbecue person?

Jonathan Jones: I am. Being from the south and from the country and barbecue is needed. Let’s just say that. It is needed.

Tara Lewis: I’m sure you have strong opinions on style and technique and exact.

Jonathan Jones: Of course. To each his own, but there’s-

Tara Lewis: I’m not even going to go there. I have no skin in the game. I eat a lot of sushi, so I can’t weigh in other than did it tastes good or not? But I know the debates on the barbecue get really serious.

Jonathan Jones: Yeah. It gets serious. There’s tradition to it. There’s tradition.

Tara Lewis: I’m staying out of that, but informed opinions on that.

Jonathan Jones: For sure.

Tara Lewis: You mentioned you grew up in a small town in Georgia, and now you play in the NFL in a major city. I’m sure in many ways it’s a dream come true, but I’m curious, what does success mean to you, and what does that look like, and has it changed at all from when you were younger to where you are now?

Jonathan Jones: Success. If I had to put it in my own words, it’s just defining a goal and striving for it and never giving up on that. I had a journey, a successful journey, but like everything I said with the small businesses, it comes with ebbs and flows. I’ve had highs. I had lows in my careers from winning two Super Bowls to not getting drafted. There’s just ebbs and flows of it from my entire story. But being from a small town, you leaned on everyone around you when you had hard times or even when you had success. The same people who were there for you during your hard times and picking you up got to be the same people there that clapped for you when you succeeded. Just keeping your village around you, keeping that community.

And the more I grow and the more that I expand who I am, my village grows. I get to meet new people, and you get to see people who are on your journey too, and on a journey as well, and you get to support them. Just that sense of community, having that sense of community and partnership along the way is what’s helped me with my success.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. That sounds so important in terms of laying that foundation and then building upon it. I know that probably comes with its own growing pains at times in terms of how do you maintain those relationships with new schedules, new locations, new cities, even new status. But it’s so important to really foster the ones that really pour into you and the way you want to pour back into them over time, which is I’m sure part of the reason why you have your foundation.

Jonathan Jones: Exactly.

Tara Lewis: Well, you mentioned a little bit earlier, just briefly, something about flying. And so we heard that you were working towards your pilot’s license. Could you tell us a little bit about this and how you discovered an interest in flying?

Jonathan Jones: Man, I grew up a country boy, so four wheelers, dirt bikes. If it had a motor, some cylinders and gasoline, it was for me. As I got older, I was exposed to aviation. I didn’t know it exists. I think a lot of people out there don’t really know that side of general aviation that exists of people having their own planes or even renting planes that they fly themselves. I had the privilege of being exposed to that about two years ago, and it was something I wanted to do. And so I kind of put on my to-do list, and I began working at it. I kind of got the ground portion of it and learning the background of it. And so this past off-season, I kind of dove in, made it my structure, schedule a part of my structured schedule, and was pretty much flying every day and was able to get my private pilot’s license in April. And then just recently last…

Thank you. And then recently, this last weekend, I took the next step and added a rating to that with the instrument rating, which if there’s any pilots out there know that lets you to go through weather and a different level of flying, more so than just general aviation. I was exposed to it, and it’s something that I love and I love to do, and I want to expose more kids to it.

Tara Lewis: And so, because I know very a little about the process of becoming a pilot and many in the audience may not know too much either, what are the next steps in terms of, I know you mentioned this past credit. How do you licensing this next thing where you can navigate more? What’s after that?

Jonathan Jones: I could go to get my commercial. I might do helicopter next off season. I kind of looked into dabbling into that, but it just starts and I’d tell anyone that has any interest in it, any whatsoever. It’s just a book of discovery flight and probably look at your little local small airport. They probably have a flight school there where you could go and take a discovery flight. They’ll take you up. They’ll let you get the controls for a little bit and you can see if it’s for you. And I did that and it was for me, and I got hooked. But for me, next probably commercial rating. The thing about aviation’s always something else that you can do, whether it’s bigger, faster planes, higher altitudes, more ratings. There’s always something you can do.

Tara Lewis: Yeah, so interesting. You’re able to fit in a lot between the foundation, your full-time job in the NFL, I believe you also have a daughter, correct?

Jonathan Jones: Yes.

Tara Lewis: Wow.

Jonathan Jones: [inaudible 00:17:39]

Tara Lewis: Yeah. How is she feeling about you flying everywhere? Does she love hearing about it? How old is she?

Jonathan Jones: She loves it. She’s seven. Skyler’s seven, and she calls herself my copilot because every time I go, she wants to be right there in the seat next to me just helping out. She enjoys it. And that’s my first person that I love to inspire is Skyler. She’s of the age where she can see and kind of be a part of things and remember the things that I get to expose her to. Just being the leader and being a good father for her is the first step for me.

Tara Lewis: And at the age of seven, I know that teaching children how to give back, it starts very early and you show it in different ways. How do you currently show her? How have you been showing her in this time of her life, how she can help others and continue to give back in her own way, even though she’s seven?

Jonathan Jones: So much, and that’s a topic that me and some of my teammates have all the time, is just raising kids successfully. A lot of us didn’t grow up with much and didn’t have the things that our kids are able to have, and just keeping them grounded and that challenge of parenting. But for Skyler it’s just I want her to know that she’s blessed and expose her to other lives outside of the one that I’ve been fortunate enough to provide for her. But to see the reality of life and that everyone doesn’t wake up in the house that she does and have everything that she does. Just the small things of letting her be a part of the events that we do. Or when she gets toys for Christmas and her birthday, she’s always the first to say, “Hey, I can donate this. I can give this doll away.” And just instilling that in her at a young age that there’s other people that doesn’t have things that she does, but having them on her mind when she does receive things. Just always having other people on her mind.

Tara Lewis: I’m sure she’s going to continue to give back throughout her life in so many different ways depending on how she chooses to, but I love that you’re building that foundation for her.

Jonathan Jones: Completely.

Tara Lewis: It sounds like you are both a dreamer and a doer, which sometimes those don’t go hand. But you’re still a young man and you have a lot ahead of you. What goals have you yet to achieve? And in the pipeline of dreaming, what else is coming next?

Jonathan Jones: What is next for me? That’s a good question. I kind of recently wrote out my little five-year plan, and it’s just, I can kind of share a little bit of insight into that.

Tara Lewis: Okay. We got insider [inaudible 00:20:12].

Jonathan Jones: Little insider. No. Speaking of mentors, one of my mentors in football was Devin McCourty. He just recently retired after 13 years. Going into year eight, so making it into year 13 is kind of a goal of mine or something to do and to play football in that space and just to continue with the Foundation and growing the Foundation and seeing how many lives that I can touch. My ultimate goal with the Foundation is for a kid to come back to me and say, “Hey, I am where I am because of you, because of something you did for me.” This STEM lab, maybe a kid that I might not even had a conversation with, but they come back and they say, “Mr. Jones, you did X, Y, and Z for me, and you don’t know what it meant for me.” With the foundation, that’s kind of part of my journey in the future that I’m looking for and for business, just continuing to grow, continue to network and continue to be exposed to whatever’s out there that I don’t know now.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. Staying open. All right. I think one thing that everyone in the audience can relate to, regardless of if they’re a small business owner or they’re working in tech, is navigating time management. And since you clearly have to do that, what are some of your time management strategies in terms of how are you able to hold down all of your responsibilities that you have professionally pursue your dreams, while also prioritizing the things that really matter to you the most? How do you go about navigating that?

Jonathan Jones: I mean, completely. And like I said, that’s a battle that we’re all faced with. But for me it’s just that ideal calendar and trying to get as far as ahead into the future as I can to kind of map out things, so I can wait. What am I lacking in? Where am I not giving my time to? And so I’m kind of being more proactive than reactive with my time. But then also just kind of given that hierarchy of things that are important to me of the family. I’ll give you an example. There was an opportunity I had this upcoming week to kind of go back to Boston and do an event, which I would’ve loved to have done, but family. I was like, I’m about to start the season, and I’m about to get into so many things. I said, “No, I’m going to take these couple of days and spend it with family,” and being okay with that. Being okay with the things that you set forth that are important to you and building your life around that.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. I always try to do little audits in my life here and there where I also think about who am I spending time within what capacity and whether they’re still the most important people in my life. And very often when I do audits of that, because in coding different directions, sometimes you realize there are some disparities and you can easily course correct. But it’s something that I think everyone struggles with in different ways. And because you’re still busy, it’s interesting to hear how you approach it, as well. And with that being said-

Jonathan Jones: Someone’s always pulling for your time. Someone is always pulling for your time.

Tara Lewis: And you got to move in the direction that you know is towards your goals. And if you’re always reacting to requests, then it’s hard to keep your sight on where you need to go.

Jonathan Jones: Yeah. Completely.

Tara Lewis: That’s always a challenge in terms of creating boundaries and also learning how to say no. I’m sure.

Jonathan Jones: That’s it.

Tara Lewis: Well, in terms of time management, I’m sure you could also help save a lot of people time that might have their own dreams of starting a foundation. I’m sure the first year of that, you navigated so many firsts. What are some things you wish you knew before starting a foundation, and what were some of the things you learned in the first year after launching?

Jonathan Jones: Just the setup, kind of making sure that your organization has the right structure in place. I always talk about that foundation and making sure that it is intact and everything from your filings and your board and make sure that everything is intact so that once you do move forward and you start to get opportunities that you’re in a position to kind of fulfill those things. A lot of people have the heart to want to give back and start a foundation and just kind of jump into it. But just looking back, it’s just getting more of the groundwork and getting that structure set in place, so that when you operate your operating with a lot of efficiency.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. And how do you go about even building a team to help support you since you can’t do everything your own? I know that’s probably something people would be curious about in terms of are they coming to you, or are you going to them? And what are the fundamental needs that you were looking for when you first launched?

Jonathan Jones: Just people that kind of had the same idea and the goals that I wanted. Ashley Green, who’s one of the leaders of my foundation. She has a background in education, so we always connected on that. That was a synergy of what we had was just foundation. My mom was an assistant kindergarten teacher, so she forced education on me. Sometimes I felt like she beat it over my head with books. She was just that way. But it’s a blessing now that I look back on it. But just people who are focused on children and education and improving the future and selfless people. Just building out that team in that way, and people that have the same goals as you makes it so much easier when you sit down and you’ll have meetings. And it makes it easier when the ideas and the goals are all the same.

Tara Lewis: Alignment is so important, and knowing exactly what you want to accomplish, I’m sure is also a big factor. I noticed that sometimes when organizations or businesses are starting, there’s so many ideas, and it’s hard to focus on exactly what you want to accomplish. And the more you can refine that, the better odds there are for a path to success.

Jonathan Jones: Completely. I always say tangible, quantifiable goals to be something that you can quantify, yes or no. Did I do it? Did I not? If someone says, I want to be the best business. Well, best is not quantifiable. That’s subjective. And so just making sure that things, when you write down those goals, you can say you put a timeframe on them. In two months I look back, did I get my private license or did I not? And if I didn’t, let me reassess some things that I didn’t do, and if I did, all right, goal complete, next goal. And just kind of keeping it that way and moving forward.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. Reminded me, I have a former colleague that used to say, “You can’t measure things in hugs,” although they matter. A lot of hugs happen, but what really was effective here?

Jonathan Jones: Exactly.

Tara Lewis: You mentioned that your mother was a kindergarten teacher, correct?

Jonathan Jones: Yeah. She’s an assistant.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. I’m sure books and other educational resources were a big part of your life. What are some books that maybe you would recommend to others to read in terms of leadership giving back or even just books that may have shaped you? It doesn’t have to be anything that you’re reading currently, but if there is something right now currently that you think is great, love to hear that. But I’m sure in your life there are some that are really pivotal that you might recommend.

Jonathan Jones: Two books that I love to share with people and that’s Make Your Bed and then Outliers. Those are kind of two books that I love, that kind of shape in Outliers. I’ve always been the why person. Why is this and why this person? The Outlier kind of goes into detail. It gives you a synopsis of why some things are kind of the way they are. And then with Make Your Bed, there’s just the systematic things. There’s a few things within the book, making your bed. You’ve done a task in the morning, so you start the day with a checklist complete, and then when you come back and you return home, there’s that reward. No matter how your day went, there’s a reward that you’ve given to yourself kind of when the day starts. And then also within it, he talks about you can’t do it alone. And that kind of goes back to that principle that it takes a village that no matter what you want to do in life, you’re going to need help.

Tara Lewis: I work in community, so I always feel like all roads lead back to community in some way or another. And I think with both of those books, that’s another perfect example. I’m not going to go into podcasts, but I am kind of curious, what are you listening to when you are getting ready for a game, or what is your current hype song? Or when you wake up and you’re like, “I’m ready, it’s going to be a day.” What is in your-

Jonathan Jones: I’m from Georgia, so my ideal hype song, got to get it motivation, it’ll be like some early 2000s young Jeezy. It’s just got that motivation to it. It’s got some motivation to it when it comes to music. I’m big on YouTube. I’m more of a YouTube than podcasts. My friends often say when they come over to the house, they say, “If you want to know what Jonathan’s up to, just look on his YouTube history. And there it is.” And so come in, there’ll probably be a bunch of pilot videos or something. That’s kind of where I give my extra time to. It’s YouTube videos. I’m big on that.

Tara Lewis: Yeah. You mentioned podcasts. Are there any that you’re listening to now that you would recommend?

Jonathan Jones: Not at the moment. Earn Your Leisure is always a good one. Earn your Leisure. I don’t know if anybody’s out there familiar, but it’s always a good one to tap into.

Tara Lewis: Okay. Those are great leads for us. Just with leaving people with a little bit of additional advice and also giving a nod back to mentorship, I’m sure between your coaches and people in your life. You’ve received a lot of advice, and I’m sure that some of it is now a piece of who you are. What’s the best advice or what’s some of the best advice you’ve received from somebody in your past, whether it be a mentor or somebody that you care about?

Jonathan Jones: I have so many, especially having a lot of coaches and mentors. But since it’s Yelp, I’ll give one that I feel like is associated with Yelp. And I had a coach that would always tell me, he said, “You can’t validate yourself.” He’d always say, “You can’t validate yourself. It takes others to do that.” You might feel like you’re the best. You might feel like you should be doing more or whatever your situation may be, but you can’t validate yourself, and you have those reviews and from other people around you. But you don’t always let them shape you. He would always say, “Just because it says one thing at the moment, don’t mean you can’t change it.” But yeah, you can’t validate yourself as something that he would always say over and over. Because as football players, everybody has this ego that, “Hey, I’m good. I’m the best.” And pretty sure there’s some business owners out there that, “Hey, my idea, my business is the best.” But keep striving, keep going, and let others validate you.

Tara Lewis: I love that. That’s such important advice for everybody. And then one more question.

Jonathan Jones: Keep them coming.

Tara Lewis: Habits. What does your morning routine look like for a productive day?

Jonathan Jones: Morning routine? I love the sauna. I’m a sauna guy in the morning. It starts my day off right. Like I said, whatever I’m into at that moment, probably some YouTube video while I’m in the sauna. I love to get my workout in early in the morning. I always say once it’s done, you have the rest of the day. Anything, especially in the off season, any meetings that I have. The beauty is in football, you have an off season and the in season and during football season, it’s kind of structured for you. They tell you when, where, and how.

In off season it’s up to you. And so as a younger player, I don’t feel like guys are equipped to do that. That’s something I’ve had to build out for myself is how do I manage those six months of being off? And so I try to mold my off seasons to kind of keep that same structure that I have during the season so that when I roll into it’s the same thing. Just kind of taking any meetings that I have during the day in the morning, and then family time in the afternoon. Just keeping that structure.

Tara Lewis: That’s sage advice and wisdom on how to structure things and get things done. Well, John, it’s been such a pleasure chatting with you today. Thank you for making time. Before we go, how can people continue to support you, the Foundation connect with you in different ways? What’s the best way for people to continue to follow and support your journey?

Jonathan Jones: For the foundation, Jonathan Jones And for me personally, I’m on Twitter, Instagram as justjjones. Yeah, tap in, and I love to connect in any way.

Tara Lewis: Thank you so much, Jonathan.

Jonathan Jones: Thank you for having me.

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