The obstacles that each individual has to overcome in their life varies depending on the circumstances.
Some people fight to overcome financial hardship while others struggle to come to terms with emotional issues that have railroaded their ability to live happily.
But very few people have been forced to navigate the uncertainty quite like Aaron Golub.
Golub, a Newton, Massachusetts native, was born legally blind.
He has no vision in his right eye and very limited sight in his left, a genetic misfortune that has added challenges to his life that most people could never imagine.
But for Golub, his inability to see the world like the rest of us is only part of what makes him such a special human being.
Rewind twenty years.
At the time, Aaron Golub was a young boy trying to find his place in the social hierarchies of elementary school.
It would be easy to imagine a childhood filled with trauma and stigmatization from his peers, but the reality was far different.
So different in fact, that Golub will be the first to tell you his upbringing was just like that of most other children.
“It wasn’t different from anyone else’s childhood,” he insists.
“I was born legally blind, so I never knew anything different. I still did whatever I could, whether it was in sports or school. I knew at an early age that I was different from other people, but at the same time I didn’t let that affect me.”
The normalcy with which Golub grew up with comes as a surprise to many, including those who wrongfully assume the sequence of events that led to Golub becoming a heralded NCAA D-1 athlete.
“People see me now as a D-1 athlete or an NFL free agent, but they don’t see the whole story, whether that’s the work I put in or what it was like growing up,” he says.
Let’s get a few things clear:
Golub didn’t become the feel-good story that he is today by accident. Like many teens, it took time for him to grow into his body and begin to realize his athletic potential.
“As a kid, I was not very athletic,” Golub says. “I was often picked last for sports, no matter what the sport was. I just didn’t have the athletic ability, but that’s something that came with time, effort, and hard work.”
As Golub matured and experimented with playing different sports, he quickly learned which one best suited his abilities.
“I played baseball, but I was terrible. I played basketball but I wasn’t great at it. I did individual sports like skiing and snowboarding, but I wanted to do a team sport. I wanted to do something where I could contribute and be a part of something greater than myself,” he explains.
This realization led him to pursue football, and in middle school he then signed up for what would only be the beginning of a journey that would eventually catapult him into an array of professions.
“When I started playing football in the seventh grade it was about learning the game, having fun, and being part of a team. Although I wasn’t very good at that age, that didn’t matter because it was about learning how to play,” he says.
Over the next couple years, Golub had a brief stint as an offensive lineman, but it didn’t take him long to find his true calling on the gridiron.
By the time he was in high school, Golub was fully committing himself to the overlooked art of long snapping. He spent hours mastering technique, lifting weights, and doing what he could to prove to himself and others that he belonged on the field.
That devotion to the game of football paid off because by the time national signing day came around for the class of 2014, Golub had fielded offers from a number of D-1 schools.
He opted to head south to Louisiana and enroll at Tulane University in New Orleans, a private college that would allow Golub to showcase his skills on the football field, as well as earn a degree in finance.
As expected, once Golub arrived on campus, he underwent various challenges competing against some of the best football players in the country.
“As a long snapper, I was going against guys who were big nose tackles. One of the guys I went against every day in practice is now in the NFL,” he mentions.
“I would definitely get beat up in practice. My teammates wouldn’t go easy on me. Some days I would win and some days they would knock me on my ass. In games, it was the same exact thing. It happens to everyone and it is one of those things where in practice I pushed myself to the limits and my teammates did the same.”
Golub looks back on his time as a member of the Green Wave with fondness, citing the camaraderie he shared with his teammates and also being part of a group of student-athletes who were integral in revitalizing the once-downtrodden Tulane football program.
“It was incredible to make it to Tulane, but the best feeling was being part of that team and accomplishing great things,” he says.
“We were a pretty bad program when I arrived there, but we really helped transform the program. I felt I had a hand in turning around Tulane’s program. Obviously, Coach Fritz and the team did a ton, but I felt that my leadership and ability to contribute played a part, and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to help others and be a part of that change.”
Following his time as an NCAA football player, Golub set his sights on playing in the NFL. This adventure took him out west to train with former NFL guys who knew what it would take to make it to the next level.
“For part of my senior year I went out to San Diego and trained with John Carney, the legendary NFL kicker. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the experience,” Golub says. “I came back to Tulane, did my pro day and ended up talking to a couple teams.”
Golub admits that despite the endless training he received from John Carney and his camp, his pro day didn’t go as seamlessly as he would have liked.
At the same time, Golub also acknowledges how difficult it is to become one of only 32 long snappers who are vying for spots on an NFL roster.
“If someone doesn’t get hurt or screw up, they’re not getting replaced,” Golub says in explaining the business element of long snapping.
“There are not three long snappers per team like there are quarterbacks. I had other dreams and aspirations, so I then chose to make a pivot and go in a different direction.”
Golub believes that if he had remained committed to pursuing an NFL career, a roster spot may have eventually opened up for him, but he also was willing to embrace the change and walk away from the game.
This departure from the gridiron quickly proved to be a good choice for Golub, as he then put his degree in finance to use and landed a job in that industry.
But that was only the beginning for Golub as he soon capitalized on the uniqueness of his story and began an ancillary career as a motivational speaker.
“Companies and nonprofits bring me in to talk about my story, overcoming obstacles, turning disadvantages into advantages, and how to persevere,” says Golub of his keynote speaking engagements.
In addition to his orating career, Golub also started a podcast, which he befittingly titled Blind Ambition.
“It has been a huge networking tool and has helped expand everything that I do,” he says.
In each episode of the podcast, Golub interviews other entrepreneurs, athletes, and artists whose trajectories also include constructing a foundation that will pay off both financially and emotionally.
Golub has already been leveraging his platform to meet and talk with household names he otherwise might never have had the chance to commiserate with.
“AJ Vaynerchuk [brother of Gary Vaynerchuk] wanted to come on my podcast to reach my audience. With Evan Carmichael [renowned YouTuber], I was adding value to him,” Golub says.
While these opportunities have certainly gone a long way toward furthering Golub’s reach and brand, he says that the goal of the podcast is to at the very least foster relationships that could pay immense dividends at some point in the future.
“I don’t know if something will come of it [the connections via the podcast]. At a minimum, I’ve created a friendship, but maybe a business opportunity will come up somewhere down the road. You just never know what can happen, but again it’s a great networking tool,” Golub says.
In addition to his podcast and speaking commitments, Golub is also in the process of writing his first book, which he says is slated to come out later this year.
“It will be about my life and how I became the first legally blind D-1 athlete, plus the skills, lessons, and tactics that I have learned along that journey. It’s been a lot of fun writing it. It’s definitely a lot of work, but it is also interesting to go through past stories and determine what is good to share with the world,” Golub explains.
While his workload may appear daunting, Golub is adamant that this amount of dedication is necessary in order to accomplish his goals, even going so far as to suggest that any lapses in productivity could result in his ambitions not being met.
“When people say you need to work smarter and not harder, I think that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Those who are the 0.01% of successful people, they don’t work harder or smarter. They work harder AND smarter than everyone else.”
“That being said, consistency is so key. If you want to become a writer, then you need to write every day. If you want to become a speaker, then you need to speak every day. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to build a business.”
And for Golub, one only needs to look at his busy schedule to understand just how committed he is to ensuring that his goals are not left to chance and that he gives himself every opportunity to turn his potential into a reality.
“Most people don’t understand what hard work is,” Golub begins. “For example, there are people who are working a 9-5 and are upset that they’re not getting a promotion, but they show up to work every single day at 9:07 and leave at 4:56. Well, no shit you’re not getting a promotion. You’re not putting in the time and effort. People that get the promotion are showing up at 8:21 and leaving at 5:59.”
“People just don’t get it. I’m working every single day from 5 A.M. to 10 P.M. Not all of that is physical work, but I consider all areas of my life to be work. My business, body, mindset, spirituality, relationships. Everything I do is work, including this [interview], but I enjoy it. In that sense, I don’t think that I’m working. I just do activities that I get paid for, and I maximize those activities.”
This fidelity to his career seemingly has Golub primed for massive success in the coming years, and by his own estimation, that is right where he would like to be.
“I want to be one of the most well-known, sought after speakers in the world. I want to be speaking in front of stadiums of 50,000 people. I want to be on stage with Tony Robbins, Ed Mylett, Grant Cardone, and those types of people,” he says, adding that he would also like to be running a successful finance business, as well as see both his podcast and book attain notoriety.
While Golub is not shy about making his aspirations known, he also is humble enough to understand that none of these successes will matter if his personal relationships and emotional state are faltering.
“Yes, I want to make a lot of money and be an extremely successful entrepreneur, but being successful in business doesn’t equal happiness and fulfillment,” Golub says.
“Someone who is really successful at business but is fat, out of shape, and doesn’t have relationships isn’t successful. I want to continue to stay physically fit and grow my relationships. It’s all encompassing and that’s what success and fulfillment means to me.” QS
Want to learn more about Aaron Golub?
Visit his Instagram page and check out some of the inspiring content he produces!
Looking for a new book to read?
Pick up Quentin Super’s first novel, The Long Road North
Quentin Super is also a ghostwriter.
Curious about what exactly a ghostwriter does?