Clint Bruce

There are many ways to embarrass your kids, but few could top dragging a truck tire around your neighborhood.

“My daughter came home and said, ‘I met this guy and he said, Wait, your dad is the tire guy? That big scary guy who doesn’t talk to anyone while rolling a big tire around the neighborhood?”

That’s Clint Bruce, father of three girls and our Lead Dad of the Week from Dallas, Texas. A Navy Academy graduate, he played linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and the New Orleans Saints but left the N.F.L. to become a Navy Seal. Clint deployed before and after 9/11 in the global war on terrorism and is now a motivational speaker and business owner.

When he talks to top executives, he always focuses them on the importance of the breakfast table over the board room.

“To me the breakfast table is base camp,” he said. “Everything else you toggle on and off. The ballfield was my time as an athlete. The battlefield was a season of life. The board room is a season of life I’m in now as a business person.”

“I tell people it’s not hard to find someone who’s good in the boardroom. It’s hard to find someone who’s good in the boardroom and the breakfast table. If you’re good at the boardroom and trash at the breakfast table, walk away. If you have to get just one right, it’s the breakfast table.”

When people question this, he puts it in combat terms. “What you would die for should tell you what’s the most important thing to you. Would you die for your branch manager?”

And to managers he makes the point that they need to lead if they’re going to call themselves leaders. “A quarterback is only the leader when he’s calling the plays. Otherwise, he’s a creepy guy with his hand on some other guy’s butt.”

Married to his college girlfriend, Clint grew up without a father – his dad died when he was a young boy. Having taught himself to be a father, he said he now has to resist the urge to protect his daughters. “There’s a saying, hard now, easy later, or easy now, hard later,” he said. “The brain will not grow with success. It only grows because of adversity.”

As for the tire pulling, it may scare off some potential suitors. But Clint’s willingness to be himself is teaching his daughters the value of being true to who you are.