At a young age, Tony Robbins decided he would become a professional baseball player.

That dream was shattered when he tried out for the junior high team. "I just couldn't hit the curveball," he recalled in a LinkedIn post. "I was completely devastated."

He settled on the next best thing: a writer and sportscaster.

"I signed up for two classes I was certain would catapult me to the press box big time--typing class, and short-hand writing," the self-made millionaire wrote.

His career took off. He landed interviews with big names, such as legendary football coach Woody Hayes, sports journalist Howard Cosell, and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, he told Lewis Howes on a recent episode of Howes' podcast, The School of Greatness.

A local California newspaper, The Progress Bulletin, was impressed and hired him at age 13.

"And then I got this huge break," he told Howes.

"Here in LA, KTTV Channel 11, now a Fox channel, was trying to get viewership and they kept trying different kinds of sportscasters--they even tried Fannie Fox, the stripper. Somebody watched some interviews I did and went, 'Holy s---, this 14-year-old kid is getting interviews nobody else is getting.' So they called me up and they offered me the job to be the nightly sportscaster, as I was turning 15."

It was Robbins' dream job--"I was out of my mind," he told Howes--but his mom promptly took the wind out of his sails.

"My mom said to me, 'Your ego is too big, and if I let you do this, it's going to get bigger,'" he recalled. "She not only would not let me take the job, she made me quit my job working for the Progress Bulletin doing sports. I hated her and I was devastated, but it created a sensitivity inside of me."

It instilled in him the importance of grace and humility, attributes that he credits for his success today.

"I certainly have plenty of pride in what I've been able to accomplish, but I always know I'm just a guy, and while I've worked my a-- off, I've also had grace in my life," he told Howes.

"When you achieve things, it comes from incredible, obsessive focus; it comes from massive action and figuring out how to execute and do things effectively; and it comes from grace. I never forget that that's a part of the formula for where my life is today."

This story first appeared on Business Insider