Kevin and Greta Warren (top left) ensure every student at the Lucy Laney school in Minneapolis have fully-stocked backpacks every year.

Kevin and Greta Warren (top left) ensure every student at the Lucy Laney school in Minneapolis have fully-stocked backpacks every year.

When the students at Lucy Craft Laney Community School in Minneapolis started this fall, Kevin and Greta Warren made certain every child had a new backpack filled with the tools required to learn in school. It’s a simple ritual the couple has continued as an expression of gratitude and their hope for the future.

Two years ago in October, Minnesota Vikings executive Kevin Warren rocked the house as the speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast. I’d love to invite you to breakfast this week…but the tickets are absolutely, positively sold out.

Good Leadership Breakfast Speaker - Kevin Warren

Kevin Warren is the speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast this Friday.

Since we last heard from Kevin, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the Vikings, the US Bank Stadium has risen from the footprint of the Metrodome and he and Greta donated $1M in cash to the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital to honor the life of a deceased sister. And he also sent his first child off to college…which is never easy.

Learning to lead

I’m grateful to say Kevin is a coaching client and friend. He is learning the delicate transition from lawyer to enterprise leader in the context of America’s most intense, glamorous, and scandalous sport. He has one of those jobs where everything gets reported in the morning paper.

His faith-based presence is powerfully calm and intensely personal. He sees immense possibilities for how people in the Vikings organization can radiate goodness. “Everyone in the NFL has a platform to do something wonderful and good to change the world,” he shared. “With the international TV exposure and the constant dialogue we have through the media, we can channel that popularity and momentum for good.”

Blending the Seven Fs

Kevin is pictured with his family when he received the “2015 Business Honoree” Award from The Sanneh Foundation.

Kevin, pictured with his family, when he received the “2015 Business Honoree” Award from The Sanneh Foundation.

The gratitude in Kevin comes from both hardship and a loving family. “I was nearly killed in a car accident when I was a teenager,” he explains. “I spent several months in a body cast, lying alone in my bed. No TV – it was mostly just me, the bedpan and my private thoughts.”  From that experience, he developed a determination and mental toughness to embrace a powerful journey of faith, family, finance, fitness, friends, fun and future.

Just five years later, he earned a Division 1 basketball scholarship. “An angel literally sat on my shoulder as I entered my first college basketball game against Louisville and told me to make something special of my life,” he says with determination. So far, so good.

I wrote these words two years ago about Kevin, and they ring true to today:

Good leaders make a habit of staying positive and grateful in all life situations. And they use the hardships in their lives to fuel the goodness in their endeavors.

Please share with me: How do your hardships help you lead?