Two weeks ago was the 30th anniversary of when Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants blindsided Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann on Monday Night Football and broke his right leg. For Theismann, it ended his career, but it also changed his life.

“I’ll never forget that night. I was a successful football player,” said Theismann, who delivered the opening keynote address Tuesday at the 36th edition of the International WorkBoat Show.

“What happened with me and my success was that I thought I was the reason we were successful. I moved up the ladder of my profession, but continued to take steps back as a human being. Because I thought that the whole world revolved around me.”

That changed on Nov. 18, 1985. “My life as far as I was concerned was over,” said Theismann. “I was a football player. It’s all I was. I wasn’t a nice person.”

Theismann asked himself what he could take from the world of athletics to help him be a better person. “The first thing I thought about was goals.” Theismann then challenged the overflow crowd to write down their personal goals. “You’ll be shocked how your world starts to go in that direction, because it has direction. You can’t avoid it. Don’t be a rudderless ship going from current to current and letting it take you in a direction. Decide where you go, decide what you want to be.”

Theismann also discussed how to be the best at what you do, whether on the football field or in the workboat industry. “I know some of you have been around the marine industry for a long, long time. But every industry is changing. Open your minds to changes that are happening in this business. How can you make the changes in this business work for you?”

He said that people should open their minds to opportunities available through change.

“That’s why this show is so important to every one of you. See as many things as you can. How can this work to make us more efficient, to make us more dependable.”