In a very special, and very personal, episode host Jill Francisco is joined by her good friend, NFL star and Super Bowl champion Vinny Curry of the New York Jets. The power of positive thinking.
Paralegal work is stressful and at times emotional. There are deadlines, complicated problems, and even difficult people and situations. It’s OK to feel frustrated, sad, even angry. But as Curry explains, the key is to acknowledge those feelings and work through them with the help of the positive, supportive people you surround yourself with.
Curry was a standout college player and enjoys a productive, rewarding career at the highest level of the most popular league in the country. But even a star goes through rough patches. Hear how Curry faced down a scary health issue that threatened his career by thinking positively.
The paralegal profession takes a special kind of person. Take a moment to step back and recognize your contributions, abilities, and expertise. Feel good about yourself and your work. Take a breath, get some rest, and be thankful a 300-pound lineman isn’t going to try to knock you to the ground on your next trip to the copier.
Be sure to visit Curry’s foundation,Rush2Victory, dedicated to helping economically challenged students through motivation, mentorship, and empowerment.
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Jill Francisco: Welcome back to another episode of The Paralegal Voice, part of The Legal Talk Network. I’m your host, Jill Francisco, an advanced certified paralegal and the immediate past president of NALA. Today, I want to talk to you about positive thinking. As paralegals, we deal with challenging situations all the time between stressful timelines, high-pressure matters, and even obviously a few difficult personalities. It can be easy to fall into a negative mindset. I expect that we’re all guilty of that from time to time, but dealing with your work and broader challenges of life can have some very powerful adverse impacts on your health, performance, and happiness.
So, today, we’re going to discuss positive thinking. What is it? Why is it important and how can you use it? And I’m hoping by the end of this episode that you’ll feel empowered to avoid pulling yourself down through negativity. And we all know positive thinking isn’t just a value to paralegals. And since it can be very useful to take an idea, you may already be familiar with and get a fresh perspective on it, I’ve brought a really, really great treat of a guest today.
Our guest is no stranger to high-stress situations. For today’s discussion, I’d like to welcome Super Bowl champion, current defensive end of the New York Jets, and my good friend, basically family, Vinny Curry. Vinny, welcome to the show.
Vinny Curry: Hey. Thank you, Jill. Thank you, thank you for having me. I feel honored.
Jill Francisco: Thank you so much for agreeing to get on with us today. So, I want the listeners, like our listener as you know, I’m sure they’ve probably seen your name around. Like I said, you’re currently obviously in the NFL but let’s, if you want to give just a little highlight of your background or your career, whatever, where you’re at right now so our listeners can just get a little bit of flavor from you.
Vinny Curry: Vinny Curry, a Marshall graduate. I’ve been in NFL for 11 years and currently playing with the New York Jets.
Jill Francisco: So, yeah, and like I’ve said, Vinny has been around and Vinny and I have known each other, let’s think, Vinny, when was it? 2010, ‘11, really that we started and it’s kind of funny today, Vinny. I was thinking that we’re talking about positive thinking because what brought us together was something that wasn’t so positive.
Vinny Curry: Right. What’s your positive energy and positive thinking? The way you need to think positive.
Jill Francisco: I know. It’s funny. Vinny and I had tragically both have lost our moms and for those of you, our listeners that have also lost your mothers, it’s not a good thing. But like I said, it brought Vinny and I together and I think we do definitely feed off each other’s positivity. So, like I said, positive out of every situation, right? Negative or indifferent.
So, let’s talk about it. Positive thinking, what is it? And we’re not here to tell you that you shouldn’t have negative emotions or be sad or be disappointed or be frustrated or angry because the key is to acknowledge them and process through them and move on. I mean those feelings are a part of life and real life, and that’s really why I asked Vinny to come on the show today is to share how he has done just that. I feel like, Vinny, you have an overall positive thinking and you’re a positive person but I know that you have your ups and downs just like we all do. And I think because of your intentional purpose and thinking, you’re able to deal with when you have a down and you have a negativity that becomes, before you in a healthy way and you get it processed and you come out on the other side better, stronger and you learn from it, and I feel like that because I think a lot of times, I think we’ve talked about that a lot of times growth, improvement in your life comes from the struggle, right?
Vinny Curry: Right. One thing that I always try to just think about, what is the why and what is the purpose of whatever got me feeling down or whatever I’m going through at that moment. You know what I mean? And as you know, I always try to find the most positive thing inside everything, I got going on.
Jill Francisco: Yeah, and I think that’s right. It’s like you really need to sometimes like you were just saying, you got to step back, you got to think what’s the real purpose of this?
What’s the real meaning behind this? And really sometimes break it down and see, what’s going on and that’s why I think when you take a positive attitude and you have a positive outlook, then you’re able — like I said, to process and look beyond the crisis or the setback rather than being consumed by it. Because think about it, you haven’t just had recent setbacks.
Vinny Curry: Right, absolutely. I will say another underlying thing is you got to be around positive people. When you go through something, listen, we’re all humans so we all have our emotions just like roller coasters and everything. But if you’re around positive feedback, it’s going to feed the positive side of your brain, you know what I mean?
Jill Francisco: Yeah.
Vinny Curry: Think of the positive ways or the light at the end of the tunnel because if you don’t have that, it can be old and dark, very dark down there.
Jill Francisco: Well, I was just going to say and I think you’re right. It just starts to be like a downward spiral and it’s hard to get out of there and then really, I feel like sometimes all of a sudden, you turn around and you think, “Wait a minute, the problem, the original problem wasn’t even that big of a deal.”
Vinny Curry: Right.
Jill Francisco: And because you didn’t — like you said, stop and nip it in the beginning and just process through it, you can really get down a rabbit hole so, that leads us kind of like, I want our listeners to really understand how does positive thinking is in motion and how they can really change an outcome of a negative situation or a challenge that they face.
So, just recently, I mean, obviously within the past year, I know you had a little health scare and like I said, we’re not going to get into specifics but you had something where it was brought to your attention that could have really brought you down and it didn’t. So, can you just tell a little bit about your little process where you learned of that information and now, we’re through it and we’re getting ready. I think you’re coming out of it. I mean, you’re out of it. You processed through it.
Vinny Curry: Right. Last, last year, my spleen was on its way to a rupture and I had no idea. Like I said, things were getting turned like — football was almost taken away from me and family, friends, my kids, my wife, everybody from them, most positive fans, teammates. Everybody was just so positive about everything and then you fast forward a year later, right back to playing and people were thinking, I would never probably play again and here I am playing football again in the game that I love. But I’m not saying it was easy, but positive thinking and being around positive people the whole entire time and being around things that you enjoy and that you endure has helped me to follow that and go through the tunnel.
Jill Francisco: Right. And I think that too because you dealt with it. I mean you hit it head-on, right?
Vinny Curry: Right.
Jill Francisco: I mean, you got that news and I was just thinking about to myself when you broke the news to us. We didn’t know what you were going to tell us and so, but you hit that head-on and you didn’t run from it. You hit it head-on, you knew what you had to do, you made your way through it, you looked — like you said, you used your family, you used your friends, you used everybody as support and now you came through it and you actually — I mean, I don’t know. I mean I feel like you’re bigger, faster, stronger and doing well but that’s just you. You’re highly dedicated and at the top of your game all the time and you don’t just work on it during the season. I feel like it’s a full-time job for you all year long. So, Vinny, before we get in, we got some little tips that we want to discuss with our listeners and stuff, but before we do that, we’re going to take a pause for a couple minutes for a quick commercial break. We’ll be right back.
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Jill Francisco: Welcome back to The Paralegal Voice. I’m Jill Francisco and my guest today is Vinny Curry and we were just discussing positive thinking. And so, let’s get right back into this. So, Vinny, we talked about generally positive thinking, we talked about where you had a recent health scare that it was a good thing that you already were a positive person. You already have this positive thinking established. That’s already how you live your life basically day in and day out and so, it got you through that and better forward on the other side.
And so, for the listeners, I was trying to think and for paralegals, it’s like, again, I feel like this goes across the board where paralegals go through those same struggles. They might have an issue with a career, they need to change careers, maybe they somehow lose their job, they have to do a new area law. I mean it’s all these things that we struggle with and it doesn’t have to be necessarily in our personal lives, our professional life, it’s all across the board. So, these are just some things that I was thinking about, like I said, that our listeners could take away from today and I know, like I said, you’re reading my mind because you already touched on two of them because you’re a pro at positive thinking so it’s no shock that you’re already — and you didn’t even see my notes, my crazy notes I’m making over here. So, first that I want to talk about is remember to be grateful. I mean I feel like you’re way better than that than I am. I mean, I’ll be honest.
Vinny Curry: I give thanks every day I wake up. Listen, life is so short. The biggest thing is just like we’re blessed, everybody is blessing in their own way and I always just try to take the most important thing of the day or the most important thing in my life and I just be thankful for it. Like today, today here, we got out early and I get to go to Noah’s football practice. I’m excited about it. I’m very thankful for that.
Jill Francisco: I like how you say it’s something, it could be something simple or it can be something larger. I mean, and like you said, you think about it and when you’re feeling stressed, when you’re feeling that negative energy or upset and you reflect on what you were just describing, I mean look how it can boost your mood. It changes instantly.
Vinny Curry: What do they call it? Like the brain of dopamine, right?
Jill Francisco: Yeah. The chemical was released. Yes, and so, that’s something that the listeners can do. When you’re feeling a little negative like I said, remember to be grateful. Another thing that’s funny which I don’t know, I think this is easier said than done and I don’t know how either of us are doing on this, but get plenty of sleep and rest.
Vinny Curry: Oh yeah, definitely sleep or rest but you know, another thing that would definitely help me do positive thinking and it’ll put me in a better mood and upbeat mood, I just put on one of my favorite songs.
Jill Francisco: Oh, music.
Vinny Curry: Music. Music definitely put me in a better mood.
Jill Francisco: Big thing.
Vinny Curry: I love it. And as you know, also I’ll just go and look at sneakers all day like little stuff like that.
Jill Francisco: Stuff that makes you happy.
Vinny Curry: Yeah, stuff that keeps you going. Like for me, it’s music.
Jill Francisco: Yeah, and like I said, it’s just funny where I was talking about like I said, something that boosts your mood, something that takes your mind off, like you said, the situation so then you’re singing and you’re dancing. And, it just — like I said, it switches your mood and then also though get plenty of rest and I know that’s hard, I mean here you are and the NFL, I mean I don’t know how you do it. I mean I know what you do. I know the training that you do. I’m amazed by it for years because we’ve been friends ever since day one that you went into the NFL, but it’s hard to get rest, but it’s important, I think, to get rest, to give yourself that time whether you’re working too much, you’re a paralegal, you’re in the office, you’re working overtime, or you’re just doing too much in the gym, like maybe you would be or pushing yourself. You also have to acknowledge when your body is telling you and get some rest. So, that was one of the things I thought, but here’s something else that is funny. They talked about accepting situations as they are. And this is sometimes difficult and maybe some of our listeners have gone through this but I guess it goes without saying, if you’re in a negative situation, there’s no sense of denying that. When you got that news about your health scare, like you didn’t — you weren’t in denial. I mean, you didn’t waste time denying it, you were like, “Okay, this is where I’m at and this is what I got to do.”
Vinny Curry: Three things. And what, so what, now what? You know what I mean? Because it is what it is.
Jill Francisco: Exactly.
Vinny Curry: And what, so what, now what?
Jill Francisco: That’s a great little thing there and you just — that’s actually those three things process right through it. Like you just get on like to the next step because there’s no use of doing that. I mean even though you’re in the NFL, some people think, maybe they don’t even think of that as a job but like I said, for me being close to you and knowing you through the years, I mean, that is your job. I mean, just like I’m a paralegal and I’m going to work every day. I mean that’s your job and you don’t always get to control and do what you want.
Vinny Curry: Right.
Jill Francisco: And whatever. Like I’ve seen it when you were back with the Eagles, where you won the Super Bowl, they had you all over the place. Remember, they wanted you to do this then they wanted you to do that, and Vinny just kept — I mean, you were bobbing and weaving and you were just doing whatever whenever they wanted. You just adjusted on the fly because you accepted it and you moved on.
Vinny Curry: That’s it. Right. I mean, another thing is you can make another young fellow, somebody out there looking up to you today, “Why not?”
Jill Francisco: Oh. Don’t even get me started about how good a role model you are. Vinny’s leadership skills and role model skills, that’s a whole other show for real, but honestly, positive thinking comes with leadership. I honestly think they’re hand-in-hand because you’re positive, people automatically look up to you and I know you’re in that role currently, more than probably I already know. But I know that you’re serving that role and being a mentor and a wonderful example for younger guys on the team and that goes — and that transfers into paralegals in the law office, new paralegals that come in and they get matched up with a paralegal that’s been in there for 20 years. That’s going to benefit them just like you got — you’re helping the rookie that came through the door.
Vinny Curry: Right. Got to pay it forward.
Jill Francisco: Yeah, exactly. Because I know early in your career, you had those that helped you, right?
Vinny Curry: Oh, yeah. Jason Peters.
Jill Francisco: Like you said, that’s the thing that you acknowledge that they helped you and so now, you make it a point but you have to be mindful of it. I mean, you’re mindful of it and you recognize that that was something that helped you early on and so that’s probably in the back of your mind when you’re paying it forward.
Vinny Curry: Yeah, that’s it.
Jill Francisco: So, Vinny, let’s take one more quick commercial break and then we’ll come back and wrap up a few more tips on positive thinking. We’ll be right back.
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Jill Francisco: Welcome back to The Paralegal Voice. I’m Jill Francisco and my guest today, Vinny Curry. Like I said, we’re wrapping up. We’re making our way through some really good tips and tricks that Vinny and I are both familiar with and Vinny’s giving some insight too on positive thinking that we hope our listeners will be able to take away and apply it to their high stressful situations that we’re in. I mean, think about working with a bunch of lawyers, I don’t know. Do you want to take the NFL or do you want to take a bunch of lawyers?
Vinny Curry: One day I can say, when it comes to the lawyers, I commend all lawyers and paralegal. Let me tell you, we stress and we get paid to do a job. A lawyer is stressed, they get paid to do a job. The job is stressful but then equip the client stressful.
Jill Francisco: That’s true. What can you do?
Vinny Curry: You know what I mean?
Jill Francisco: It’s hard to fire your client. I mean, you can but it’s hard.
Vinny Curry: But the same thing, just a couple of things for me as a player, you may have some stuff going on outside of football to stress out, you might have things on the field that stressed out. But there’s a couple of things. I always just try to control what I can control. I always try to stay smiling. Stay calm in situations. You know that, Ms. Jill. I try to never let nobody see me sweat. I try to stay calm in a situation and I just take a deep breath and then I dissect everything and then that’s when I start making my progress because at the same time, you still have to trust your process and what you got going on and understand that it takes time, whatever you’re doing.
Jill Francisco: And not deviate.
Vinny Curry: It takes time. Nothing happens overnight. That’s why we saw lawyers be on cases for months, maybe years, and then even up to prepare for a team, you got to have to watch film, to prepare for squad and we know these tendencies but like I said, it takes time and it’s on you to take the initial step forward.
Jill Francisco: Yup. And like you said, not deviate from your plan, stay true to yourself, that type of thing along with dealing with the external struggle that you’re having. And like I said, I’m dying laughing over here because like I said, it’s like you’re reading my notes through here. That’s why I know we’re in tune with this positive thinking because I honestly did not even send you exactly what I was going to outline today.
But no, one of the things you touched that you didn’t touch on was a little bit about identifying — and I think this is an important one. Identify areas you need to work on. If you can identify the areas that you know are going to throw you off and they’re going to throw your positive outlook off, they’re going to get you riled up. They’re going to get you stressed. Then you can start working on strategies like you were just saying to deal with that when they come around and I’ll say, I hate to say this but I’ve noticed this in myself and it may sound harsh but honestly, I avoid people. When you were talking about earlier about positive, I avoid people or places that really drain my energy. I mean, like I said, I’m getting older, I’m obviously older than you are but I try to spend more time with positive people and obviously, that’s why I don’t mind hanging out with you. But I mean, I think you cut ties with that, don’t you? I mean at some point, I mean, you try, but then at some point —
Vinny Curry: You stop answering and you start texting back.
Jill Francisco: That’s true. That’s true. And I like I said, I think it’s getting older. I think it’s getting wiser. But I think that you acknowledge that you attract positivity, breeds positivity as you mentioned before. And so, at some point, that’s reality and that’s what you need to be around. Like you said, you’re doing it for yourself, you’re doing your process but you also don’t want to be around people and just bring yourself down or bring them down. You want to just have the positive to the positive, and then one other thing where you’re talking about laughing and having fun. I mean is that not your favorite one?
Vinny Curry: Oh, my God.
Jill Francisco: I think we got that perfected.
Vinny Curry: One thing about me, I love smiling and I love to laugh. Man, just like I love smiling. Smiling is contagious so if you’re going to make somebody else smile, there you go.
Jill Francisco: I was just going to mention that your smile is very infectious, it’s very contagious and that’s the only thing I do feel bad that our listeners cannot see your wonderful smile because I guarantee they’d be smiling too but I’m sure they could feel your positivity and your energy through the mic so to speak. But I think it makes a difference. I mean, my mom used to talk about — she was a dental hygienist as you know, and my mom used to talk about a healthy smile lasts a lifetime. I mean, and she was really talking about dental hygiene because she wanted everybody to have nice teeth, but how funny that really, she’s talked — and thank you. Vinny just hold up his toothbrush. He’s always getting points.
But honestly, it’s not just your dental health but it’s your smile like you said. Having a smile — I’m sure you walk in the facility to your job up at the complex and I’m sure you’re smiling and you’re making everybody smile. I mean, I saw you the other day when you’re going in the game and you’re greeting all those fans, you made it a point to high-five those fans and I mean, all of them are smiling because you’re smiling, you’re excited. I mean, maybe they came there with who knows what’s going on in their life and look what your smile was doing. It’s a lot behind it sometimes, don’t you think? You never know.
Vinny Curry: Right. Listen, you can only control what you can control and your physical, emotion and your face expression is one of them.
Jill Francisco: That’s true. And so, last tip that I talked about and tried to do, I think that’s a good thing with positivity and positive thinking is keeping it real and I think you touched on that. Positive thinking is beneficial but it’s also important to remember to be reasonable and logical with your mindset because you can’t just have everything be all rainbows. I mean, and only consider positive thoughts. I mean, you can’t have it block out the reality is what I’m trying to say. Like you still have to acknowledge, “Okay this is not — this is negative. I’m sad about this. I’m disappointed in this. I got some bad news” but —
Vinny Curry: We’re humans.
Jill Francisco: I will get through it. Right, exactly.
Vinny Curry: We got feelings and emotions. Just trying to send those feelings and emotions and challenge them and send them to the right places.
Jill Francisco: Right, and process them and it’s funny because I think as a child and I know you’re probably seeing this with Noah, he’s 5, that’s Vinny’s son. And, of course, my son’s a bit older now, JD, 17 and I saw this early on and one of the things is when they’re a child and like I said around those age, it’s so genuine. The emotions are so genuine and as a parent which I know obviously you identify with, it was sad for me when they get to that age and I don’t even know what age to tell you that it came about for JD, my son, but it’s like where they have to realize that’s not the way it is. That’s not the way the world is.
Vinny Curry: Right.
Jill Francisco: You have to — you’re preparing them though.
I mean, you’re preparing them. They have their emotions now, they’re genuine but at some point, they’re going to understand that it’s not always perfect or if you’re sad you’re allowed to be sad and you’re allowed to cry and you’re allowed to feel disappointed, but you process through it and you’re teaching that. Your kids just like I taught JD that it’s fine and the process through that and know how to deal with those emotions which I think is a thing that our society maybe sometimes shuns away and doesn’t want you to be able to deal with those emotions if there’s something negative. I mean people are sad. Sometimes, you’re sad. I mean, hopefully not often but it happens, but no, keep it real. I think keeping it real. I know you keep it real all day. All day every day, right?
Vinny Curry: Got to stay true.
Jill Francisco: And so, lastly, I want to talk something on — kind of end on a positive note. Something that Vinny has is a foundation. I know you developed it early on in your career. You go in sports where you have more time to dedicate to the foundation and you’ve tweaked it. You started out as an idea in what maybe you thought you wanted the foundation to be and to do, and now, I think rebirth as we were talking about earlier so, tell the listeners a little bit about it. I think it’s at vinnycurry99.com to find out about it, but tell me a little bit about your foundation because you do so many good things through that.
Vinny Curry: Right. So, the name of the foundation is called Vinny Curry’s Rush2Victory Foundation. My biggest thing is to empower, to encourage, and help kids understand the importance of academics and things back to positive thinking. You never know what a kid is going through at home or even type of feelings that a kid is going through and my thing is just to empower and encourage them and give them a reason to want to be involved rather in sports, anything they want to do. So, that’s just one thing and it’s a way to give back and within that foundation, we teach the ways to even show them how to give back because like I said, you never know what kind of day somebody is having or what kind of things these kids be going through. So, that’s just one little bit about my foundation and for the listeners, please log onto the vinnycurry99.com and read more about it.
Jill Francisco: Yes, and here’s something to say too, I mean you’re doing it on a larger scale than maybe a paralegal could do or somebody else like even a lawyer or other people. But it’s anything you can do. It takes — you can even take it back to just volunteering and doing one thing like having a coat drive or doing a food collection or even volunteering.
Vinny Curry: Last week, we gave out 300 book bags with crayons, pencils, high school book bags that had notebooks. I want to believe binders. It was insane. It was insane. So, it was a great day to have a great day.
Jill Francisco: Well, and people stepped up because of their supporting you because they know you’re doing things and you had businesses and in your community that stepped up to go and help because they know what a good thing you were doing but the message is like you said, pay it forward, get it out no matter how big or how small, you could start doing something small and then build it in to like how you’ve done now to an awesome foundation that you’re giving back in so many ways. And you’ve given back all the places even when you were not right immediately in your community, you’ve tried to do things all through the years and I think that’s important because obviously, it takes time. You’re giving of your money, obviously, it’s your time, it’s your money, it’s your effort. Because you are involved doing it like you were at the book bag drive, you just didn’t hand it over there.
So, it’s important for you to be invested and that’s a message for our listeners. Whatever you choose to do, whether you can just do something small in your law office like you said, collect school supplies, have a canned food drive, whatever you can do on the small scale, be invested in it because you’ll be amazed like you said, the positivity that comes out of that and how it affects people like you don’t know. Like one of those people that get the book bag, one of those people that get the food that they needed, how that affects them and changes their outlook or whatever they’re going through could be life-changing for them.
Vinny Curry: Correct.
Jill Francisco: So, Vinny, like I said, I really, really appreciate you being on today. We’re running out of time. It was an honor to have you on here with me.
Vinny Curry: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you for having me.
Jill Francisco: Like I said, a sterling example of positive thinking and I think that that I always — we hang out, we see each other. I mean, obviously Vinny and I are in different states, probably good because too much positivity, too much crazy together, too much. We get together periodically and I think we both talk to each other and bounce ideas off and you know go back and that’s important for paralegals to keep in mind.
Get those people in your life, lean on those people when you need to, call those people for help. There’s no shame in it and you’ll come out on the better side for it.
So, again, Vinny’s foundation website was vinnycurry99.com. Please go there if you’d like to reach out to him and learn more about all the great things he’s doing. And so, again, Vinny, thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it today.
Vinny Curry: Thank you for having me.
Jill Francisco: All right. Thank you so much and also, thank you so much to our listeners who have tuned in with me today. If you have any questions or comments for me, please contact me at [email protected]. I hope you will join me for our next episode next month. I’m Jill Francisco for The Paralegal Voice. Signing off.