At some point we have to stop asking athletes what they are passionate about. If we are trying to help them transition into life after sports that question is ineffective. That question will not yield the type of answer they are in search of. That question will lead them right back to their sport.
I want to pose a different question. I want you to ask yourself where you can add value. In life we are all on a search for significance. Athletes struggle to transition because they have added value at a high level on the court or on the field for a long time.
Athletes struggle to see themselves adding value outside of sports. It’s so much bigger than just finding a job after college. A job might put a couple of dollars in your pocket and pay your bills but there is so much more to life.
Athletes are low-key adrenaline junkies. If we aren’t passionate about what we’re doing we will be extremely unhappy. We will always be in search of that “rush” we got from our sport.
As adults we will spend the majority of our waking hours working. So why waste precious time doing work that doesn’t mean anything to you? Begin to ask yourself what problem you can solve.
As a recruit you were brought in to fit a need of a particular team. Maybe the team you ended up signing with already had a post player who was great at scoring around the basket but Coach really needed an athletic forward who could rebound well and get the team extra possessions. That is why they recruited you. You fit a need. You had the potential to add value to the team.
Business works the same way. You have to pay attention to the gaps. Look within your industry and see where you can make an improvement. Where can you provide a service? What is missing from the marketplace that you can create?
This takes things a step beyond simply looking for a job within the field you majored in. Again, athletes are passionate people. We don’t settle for the bare minimum. We didn’t just want to make the team. We wanted to start. We didn’t just want to make the conference tournament. We wanted to win it. We don’t just want to land a job. We want to add value and make a positive impact.
There is no real world equivalent to high fives from your teammates and your coaches presenting you with the game ball. However as athletes we are always in search of that. Not because we desire praise but simply because that is how we are wired.
Something in us requires us to go above and beyond what is necessary. We want to add value to every organization we have the pleasure of serving.
Maybe you are a gifted interior designer and you can add value to new home owners.
Maybe you are a gifted speaker and you can add value by providing inspiration to those in need.
Maybe you are a gifted cook and you can add value by providing meal prep services to working moms.
There are so many possibilities but you have to start exploring. There are people waiting on you. How long are you going to keep them waiting?
Your life is not over just because you are out of eligibility. Start to explore where you can add value and soon you will once again feel the rush you desperately desire.
Until next time,