Michael Strahan should have some words of advice about achieving success. Before he was the co-host of the morning staple Live With Kelly and Michael, Strahan was a legendary player for the New York Giants. The Super Bowl champ is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame and father to four children. In 2012, he replaced Regis Philbin as Kelly Ripa’s co-host on Live in part because of his willingness to do an impromptu Magic Mike dance while interviewing Channing Tatum.
Although the transition from professional athlete to television celebrity might have appeared seamless, Strahan revealed to Inc. it was a tough time. The lessons he learned have become his new book, Wake Up Happy.
“Even though I knew I wanted to retire and left on my own terms, I was scared to death because the next step was uncertain and unknown.”
One of the things he learned was to not take himself too seriously. The Magic Mike dance was a significant case in point, as his ability to let go and have fun was seen by Live producers as the right stuff for Kelly Ripa’s new left-hand-man. Although letting go is important, so is staying true to your own goals.
Strahan decided to design a line of clothing after his new televisions personas — on Live and FOX Sports — required him to outfit with a good number of suits. He received less-than-encouraging advice about setting out on the endeavor. Nonetheless, he went ahead, getting involved in every aspect of the project. His Collection by Michael Strahan just launched in JC Penney stores.
“When we have ideas about things we want to pursue and create, we always have people who say ‘Oh it’s never been done’ or ‘You can’t do that.’ Don’t talk yourself out of what you want. Other people doubt you enough.”
Strahan says lyrics to a Coldplay song — “Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease?” — helped him to learn to handle a tumultuous relationship he had with a football coach. Strahan chose to view the relationship with a positive attitude regardless of whatever negativity surrounded the other person. Eventually, that relationship was part of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2008.
“You can’t change the way somebody acts. The only thing you can do is change the way you act towards them.”
As if his talk show gigs were not enough, Strahan is making an appearance on Black-ish for the ABC comedy’s Hallowe’en episode. Strahan plays “June Bug,” the cousin of Anthony Anderson’s Dre. People reported that the characters were not friendly as children: June Bug actually “tormented” Dre. That episode airs on October 28, just in time for the Halloween weekend.
Much of the banter between Kelly and Michael on Live revolves around Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos. Strahan has been married twice, from 1992 to 1996 and 1996 to 2006. He was in a committed relationship with Nicole Murphy that ended in August 2014.
As Strahan told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live! this week, he now prefers to keep his relationships private. So much so that Strahan confirmed he was seeing someone, but refused to identify her.
“You know one thing I’ve learned, the whole public relationship thing doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. So I prefer to do my own thing and live my life away from that. Puts too much pressure on it.”
Michael Strahan’s new book Wake Up Happy is in stores now.
[Main image: Jemal Countess / Getty Images Entertainment]