Become Someone's Favorite

Become Someone's Favorite

Allen Iverson was a brand before personal branding was a buzzword. In the past the focus was to build your resume and gain experience. Times have changed. That way of thinking isn’t obsolete but in order to stay ahead of the game and dominate life after sports you need to recognize the trends.

You have the ability to become someone’s favorite something!

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Feel The Rush

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,

Coach J

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Athletes As Investors

If you ever sit down with a financial advisor the first piece of advice they will give you is that you need to diversify. They will warn you that putting all of your eggs in one basket is extremely risky. It is risky because if something goes wrong you will lose everything. I seriously doubt that a seasoned advisor would tell you to bet your life savings on one thing. Imagine putting all of your retirement savings into Toys R Us stock. That would not yield the benefits you want.

It would be much wiser to spread your money out over growth stock mutual funds, precious metals, real estate, or a ton of other options. I believe athletes are terrible investors! We literally put all of our eggs in one basket. It is foolish to risk everything on the success of one venture especially when you know that you can’t play sports forever. Even your favorite players have to retire at some point. It’s going to end so you have to prepare for when that day comes.

The sooner you start to diversify the better. You are more than just an athlete. Start the process of spreading your eggs around. At some point you have to train more that just your body. You need to obtain other skills. Imagine if you went to the weight room week after week and the only muscles you focused on were your biceps. Imagine how crazy that would be. Instead of working your shoulders, quadriceps, hamstrings, triceps, core, and a ton of other areas you only worked your biceps. A great strength and conditioning coach is going to give you a full body workout. A great college experience prepares you for more than just game day.

Your footwork is insane and the speed ladder drill you uploaded to YouTube went viral. Congrats! Someone recorded you making 42 three pointers in a row and SportsCenter featured the video on their Instagram. That’s awesome! My question is what’s next?

Getting your degree isn’t enough. Simply having your degree does not make you completive. You need a specialized set of skills. You need some specialized knowledge. You need to diversify. You need to make a shift from focusing on nothing but the physical to developing the mental.

Being a college athlete is pretty sweet. Your athletic scholarship covers everything from your housing to your meal plan. You literally don’t have to worry about a thing. Part of transitioning into life after sports is identifying what you can bring to the marketplace that will allow you to provide for yourself. At some point you will have to move out of the dorm. At some point your card won’t work when you try to swipe it in the café. This is where diversifying comes into play.

The better you are the more you will be rewarded. It’s similar to sports. They more talented you were the more options you have. The sweet thing about life after sports is that the playing field is even. In sports being taller or quicker could give you an advantage. In the job market you decide what you bring to the table and companies will reward you and compensate you based on the value that you add. Your value has nothing to do with your natural abilities. Your value has to do with the skills you provide and your level of performance.

You can’t just focus on your sport and expect to dominate life after sports. It doesn’t work that way. You have to prepare on your own. You need to build relationships, find mentors, network, intern, and find unique things to add to your resume. You have to diversify. You have to broaden your horizons. Yes your have a crazy schedule and limited downtime but your coach is not going to foot the bill for your expenses for the rest of your life. After four years it’s over. The time will come when you will have to figure it out. Diversify now and thank yourself later.

Until next time,

Coach J

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The 98%

"Women lie. Men lie. Numbers don’t lie. "

-Yo Gotti

Welcome to the majority. First time for everything. On campus athletes represent a small fraction of the student body. Only a small fraction of high school athletes gain athletic scholarships. Up until this point you have been a member of an elite class. You’re still a member of an elite class. The only difference is that now you are a part of the 98%. 

We have all seen those NCAA commercials that state only 2% of collegiate athletes go pro. It isn’t just some cute commercial. That commercial should freeze you in your tracks and cause you to revaluate some things. That means that the other 98% need to prepare for life after sports with a sense of urgency. As athletes we get caught up. We only visualize ourselves holding up the trophy or cutting down the net. We focus all of our energy on one thing. A great philosopher by the name of Yo Gotti once said that numbers don’t lie. Well if that’s true that means that athletes who fall within that 98% need to start to focus on other things. 

It’s ok to get a new set of dreams outside of the world of sports. Sometimes it’s that simple. Get a new dream. Get a new picture for your life. Having a vision is more than half the battle. When you know where you want to go you can find a path that will get you there. Maybe you could be named to Forbes 40 under 40 list. Maybe your startup could be named one of the fastest growing businesses by Inc. Maybe your first book will be a NY Times Best Seller. Maybe your life’s work will win you a Nobel Peace Prize. You’ll never know if you don’t try. You’ll never know if you get stuck. 

A lot of players overestimate the probability or chance of them playing professional sports. Look at the WNBA. There are 12 teams. Each team has approximately 12 players. That’s 144 spots. You literally have to be one of the top 150 women’s basketball players in the WORLD to secure a spot on one of those rosters.

 Even if your goal was never to play professionally, you still spent well over a decade dedicated to the sport you love. When your playing days end you are going to feel a sense of loss. There will be days when you struggle to figure out your new identity. However, it’s never too early to start to figure out how you are going to leverage your skills and chase your new dreams.

Welcome to the majority. Now what are you going to do to separate yourself from the crowd?

Until next time,

Coach J

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Built For This

When we walk away from sports we walk away with an incredible skill set. We often hear about how those skills will cause us to be an asset in the workplace. That is definitely true! However, the skills that we gain will benefit us outside of our career. As an athlete you gain what you need to weather the storms life will throw your way.

Seasons have their ups and downs. There are big victories followed by disappointing losses. There are injuries and setbacks followed by triumph. There are disagreements. You may even shed a tear or blood.

During the first preseason workout there was no way that you could anticipate everything that would unfold throughout the season. Life is the same way. You won’t always know what is around the corner but you find a way get through it.

A lot of times life will require that you “play hurt”. There’s a good chance that at some point you had to play through something. Maybe you had to play with a jammed thumb. Maybe you had to perform on an ankle that wasn’t quite at one hundred percent. Life is going to require you to do the same thing. No worries. You have been preparing for this your entire life. When others consider throwing in the towel you keep pushing because perseverance is in your DNA.

Life will require you to bounce back from failure. It just so happens that you’ve been doing that for years. You have missed free throws. You have missed field goals. You’ve struck out more than you’d like to remember. In spite of failing, you get up wipe yourself off and try again. You low-key prefer adversity. Your coaches put you in tough situations time and time again. They did it so much that you are totally comfortable with your back being against the wall.

You’re wired differently. Things that cause other people to freeze up and quit don’t phase you. Part of it has to do with the fact that athletes are super confident. The other part has to do with the fact that you are battle tested. You’ve been there, done that, and you aren’t afraid to face challenges head on. Use that same tenacity, that same go getter mentality to annihilate any challenge life throws your way.

You got this,

Coach J

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