▶ Watch Video: Former football player turned motivational speaker Trent Shelton says “only giving up is failure”

When star Baylor University player Trent Shelton’s football dreams were cut short after not being chosen in the NFL draft and eventually being cut from three pro teams, the former athlete said he began to feel “less worthy” about himself. 

“I started to lose myself, turn to things I probably shouldn’t have turned to just to numb the pain and I got to a place where I looked in the mirror and was like, ‘I don’t even recognize this guy,'” Shelton told CBS News’ Jamie Wax.

Years later, Shelton is now an author and motivational speaker with a following of more than 50 million. His latest book “The Greatest You” is now out in paperback. 

Had his initial football aspirations worked in his favor, Shelton says he doesn’t think he’d have as much impact on others as he does now. 

“Right now I get more thrills, more peace when somebody says ‘Trent, this message, you know, helped save my life,’ than I ever did running out of a tunnel with 50-60,000 people screaming your name,” he said.

Through YouTube videos branded “Rehab Time,” Shelton preaches the importance that failure can play, and encourages viewers not to give up in life. He says that “it’s time to reprogram yourself in greatness.”

“Rehab is simply just putting the strength back into a weakness,” he said. “Whatever that is: whether it be physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. The things that you need work on. It’s the work that you do every single day to go on the journey of trying to find out what you’re here for. When you find that higher purpose, life becomes a lot more beautiful.” 

He said people often find worth in external things, and advocated for society to teach the importance of failure early on. 

“Success is not a straight path,” he said. “It’s up and down. We got to change the definition of failure. Failure is only when you quit. Failure is really feedback.”