Héctor Colón, 5 Habits That Led Me from a Boxing Ring to a Boardroom (#205)
How’d It Happen? Podcast with Mike Malatesta
Héctor Colón is the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS), a speaker and author. Prior to that, he served as the Executive Director of Health and Human Services at Milwaukee County and as Vice President of the USA Boxing Board. Boxing is something that has shaped Héctor’s character, and from which he learned the Five Virtues for Life and Leadership. How does someone go from a boxing ring to a boardroom? That’s what you’ll find out today. It was a summer day in 1982. Héctor Colón was 9 years of age, and all he wanted to do was just play baseball with some neighborhood kids. Instead, he ended up receiving racist insults and a punch in the face. Once he came home with a bloody nose, his father wanted to do something to help Héctor, and that’s when he brought him to the gym so that he could learn how to defend himself. His newly found coach, Israel “Shorty” Acosta, showed Héctor a couple few boxing combinations.
Héctor was a natural and ended up becoming a seven-time National Champion, competing all over the world with the United States National Boxing Team. Hector Colon shadow boxes in the ring at the United Community Center in 1990. He was also favored to go to the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, but he lost the defining match. He was devastated. In those moments, permeated by failure and hopelessness, Héctor realized that he had focused on the wrong things. He had kept thinking of the potential multi-million dollar contracts instead of working on his mind, body, and spirit. That’s when he bought his first bible and his life changed. Five Virtues for Life and Leadership With his newly found faith, Héctor’s mindset changed rapidly, and that helped him beat the same boxer that had robbed him of the Olympics dream, with the fight being broadcasted on cable TV. Thanks to that, Héctor Colon ended up on the inside cover of Sports Illustrated, on the front cover of USA Boxing Magazine, and the promoters were ready to have him fight for lots of money.
At the peak of his boxing career, Héctor decided to step away from the ring and devote his life to God. He’s now guiding one of the Midwest’s largest non-profits organizations while sharing his story with his speaking and book, in which you will find the five virtues Héctor has learned from his boxing career, his business career, and his strong connection with God:
- Magnanimity: striving for greatness in everything you do.
- Humility: choosing to place others first, accepting your own failings, and knowing when to ask for help.
- Courage: facing your fears with confidence.
- Perseverance: not giving up in spite of challenges, adversity, and loss.
- Temperance: not acting impulsively and using self-control, moderation, and will power.