What is the secret to success? How does one measure it? TCM contributor and creator of WANTKatie Horwitch interviews the inspirational Lewis Howes whose new book, The School of Greatness is making major waves. After a serious injury that ended his football career, this aspiring NFL star had to reinvent his dreams. Today he is the proud creator of an impressive motivational business (even Obama is a fan!), helping entrepreneurs succeed at their passion for life. Lewis may have discovered the perfect blend of hustle and heart to help us realize our true calling and achieve success. Here’s Katie talking to Lewis about how to turn adversity into advantage…

Sports and spiritual work aren’t usually thought of as going hand in hand. But for author, business coach, podcast host and lifestyle entrepreneur Lewis Howes, they’re what have shaped his story. A former pro football player and record-holding athlete, Lewis has taken what he learned as an athlete and applied it to the game of life. He has spoken to thousands around the world on how to make a living doing what you love, and has been recognized by everyone from President Obama to Details Magazine as one of the top entrepreneurs under 30. What’s more? His podcast, which taps into the stories of how some of the most influential people in the world found their “greatness,” is usually at the top of iTunes charts (and one of the first I download to get pumped for a long week ahead.)

Lewis’ new book The School of Greatness takes his podcast of the same name one step further, sharing the key tentpoles of achieving personal greatness, no matter what your life looks like. I got to chat with Lewis about starting this year off on the right foot, and making it truly – you guessed it – great:

Katie Horwitch: You currently have this amazing seven-figure motivational business that’s built on inspiring greatness in others, but the way it’s manifested itself over the years hasn’t always been in the game plan. In a nutshell, tell us about your path – and the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way.

Lewis Howes: As a kid all I wanted was to play for the NFL. Once I was playing professionally in the Arena Football League, I thought I had it made. Then I shattered my wrist in a game and had to reinvent. It took me about a year and a half to find a new career, but once I did, I never looked back. I applied all the lessons I learned from sports about hustle, hard work and relationships into entrepreneurship and created a business and life I am passionate about. The biggest lesson I learned along the way is that we really are capable of anything we put our minds to – as long as our heart is on board as well.

KH: A favorite chapter in The School of Greatness is called “Turning Adversity Into Advantage” – an area a lot of us get stuck. When we’re faced with challenges in life, what are some ways to avoid that self-sabotaging reaction of wanting to give up or run and hide?

LH: Acknowledging our feelings and giving them space to be heard is huge. If we stuff our emotions down or run from them, they will eventually catch up with us and take us down. Instead, when you’re feeling stuck, depressed, overwhelmed or down, try listening to yourself and using self-compassion to get to the real source of what’s holding you back. Only then can you turn the adversity you’re facing into an opportunity for growth.

KH: You also talk about legacy, something many of us strive to create in our lives and leave once we’re gone. However, sometimes we get stuck trying to figure out what that really means to us. What is your definition of “legacy,” how can people tap into the one they want to leave…” and, bonus question, what do you want yours to be?

LH: Legacy is more than just how you are remembered after you’re gone. Your legacy is the sum of all the great things people do and become because you inspired or helped them along their path. I live by the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This for me is a huge part of legacy – letting everyone I cross paths with in this life know that they matter and have a unique gift to share with the world.

KH: “Resolution season” is here and that’s kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, making resolutions and setting goals are great steps in a proactive direction when it comes to what we want to create in our lives. But on the other hand, New Year’s resolutions are notorious for fading into the sunset come February. How do you approach goal-setting/resolutions, and what are some ways people can make their own goals and resolutions last in the long run?

LH: Powerful goals (and making them happen) have to be rooted in a crystal clear vision of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Vision is always first. Once you get clear on the big reason behind your goals, you can focus on that every time you are tempted to fall off your commitment. A vision is bigger than your ups and downs, your feelings in the moment and distractions.

KH: What is the one piece of advice you’d give to your 16-year-old self?

LH: Find a bigger reason than yourself for pursuing greatness. Focus on how you can give back to those around you.

KH: What is your personal mantra?

LH: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde

KH: Last question: What is your definition of “greatness?”

LH: Discover and cultivate the unique talents and gifts within you to pursue and live your dreams while making the biggest impact on the people around you.

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