Photo courtesy of the Business Career Coaching Center
Former Saints wide-receiver Marques Colston came marching into UNO for the Management Week Keynote Address on March 14. Kirschman Building’s lecture hall was no match for the overwhelming amount of students, faculty, and members of the community awaiting his presence. The number of people far exceeded the number of seats and space, causing many to be turned away.
With 10 years of Superdome crowd noise under his belt, Colton might have felt at home surrounded by last Thursday’s large, excited audience. The “Quiet Storm” acknowledged his past as a lucky team member of the New Orleans Saints.
“I was a seventh-round pick, which usually has a three or four percent chance of starting with a three and a half year career…I ended up being a first-day starter that played for 10 years,” Colston said. His success with the NFL is no secret to New Orleans natives, but his journey to success is a little less known.
Colston attributes his professional football success to his irrational confidence. “If there’s a one percent chance that somebody will make it, you’re that one percent,” Colston said to a shocked audience. His irrational confidence helped him prioritize winning. Colston discovered which skills he could use to get the team into the best position to win.
The self-proclaimed “serial operator” uses these same philosophies in the business world. Colston notes that it was crucial for him to evaluate his individual skillsets and how they could fit into any opportunities that came his way.
“The odds that exist on the business side match the odds in pro football,” Colston emphasized. His positive mindset and drive to succeed easily transferred to business. But his journey to entrepreneurship wasn’t always smooth.
“The common misconception is that it all goes right…not all of my journey was pretty,” Colston stated. He described his entrepreneurial career, starting with businesses he was involved with when he was in the Saints. Colston started as a silent partner in many of his early ventures. It was only until he worked with bottle water supplier Wat-aah! that he took on an active investor role. Despite an initially successful PR campaign, the business didn’t get much momentum and is now what Colston refers to as part of the “living dead.” Colston also founded a digital marketing agency and athlete network that both failed due to an inability to choose the right partners on the front-end of the business. Now in only proactive managerial roles for companies like Main Squeeze Juice Co. and Timeless Herbal Care, he’s realized that his past failures have propelled him to success.
“A failure is only a failure if you let it be,” Colston said. He urged UNO business students their value, strengths and especially their weaknesses.
“Be your best self in all aspects of your life to add value.”