Coach Ryan's Corner: Hiding Behind Intellect


Sometimes I think I use my mind as a crutch.

This is a funny statement for someone who is so proud of his intellect. And do not get me wrong, I am very proud of my intellect.

But I use that as a crutch.

Sometimes I use my intellect as a mask to cover up the real Ryan. The real King Ryan, if you will.

If someone asks me a potentially vulnerable question, I’ll answer with a self-deprecating joke to try and distract the asker from their point. “Hey, Ryan made a funny. What did I ask again?”

This denies people the real me. Because while I am proud of my intellect and my wit, that is not who I am.

Who I am beats inside my chest. Who I am is the lifeblood of love. Who I am is my purpose on this planet.

And my purpose is to be a warrior for love and transformation.

One of the ways this intellectual crutch shows up in how I speak.

When I show up real, I speak slowly and deliberately. I don’t stutter and stammer. And my voice even gets deeper.

But when I’m trying to use that intellectual crutch, I speak quickly. My voice gets higher. I stutter and stammer. And I am not as careful of what I say.

I’m heard more when I speak slowly.

People don’t hear me as easily when I speak quickly. Keep in mind, it’s not because they can’t understand what I’m saying. I believe it’s because my voice isn’t as weighty when I’m trying to be Mr. Smart Funny-Man.

I am a funny man. I love making people laugh. It’s a drug, I’m not exaggerating.

But I’m funniest when I’m not trying as hard.

It’s like when I ran into a guy at the gym a few weeks ago. I was wearing a Bama t-shirt and the old fella asks, “What do you know about Alabama Crimson Tide?”

Funny guy wanted to answer. “Dude, I’ve been to 50+ games, grew up 10 minutes from Bryant Denny Stadium, I have a degree from there…”

I didn’t give him the funny guy answer. I forget what I said. But I did give him my Bama resume.

But how I showed up was real and authentic and I built a connection with the guy in a short amount of time.

I didn’t use my intellect as a crutch. I came from my heart.

Because THAT is who I am.

I like to say that my mind allows me to write. But my heart is what makes me an author.

Folks, who you are isn’t on the end of your neck. Who you are beats inside your chest. And let that be your legacy.