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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Chasing New Championships

As athletes we have no problem hitting the weight room and waking up for 5am practice. We do these things with ease. Why? Simply because we have a clear vision.

We are chasing a championship. We want to cut down the nets in March. We want to win a bowl game. We want to hang a banner. We want rings. But what happens once there are no more championships on the line?

A few weeks ago I was able to visit my hometown. As I walked down the hallway to my old bedroom I saw tons of trophies, medals, pictures, and jerseys.

I saw a picture of the championship team I played on in college. I saw the “Chairman of the Boards” trophy I received at summer basketball camp for being the best rebounder when I was 9 years old. For years I was chasing more accolades to add to my collection. Once ball was over I thought the chase was over.

Last weekend I attended a volleyball conference championship game. The energy was high. Everyone was communicating. The benches were loud and engaged. The game was so intense that my palms were sweating and I wasn’t even playing!

There’s just something special about a championship game. It’s late in the season. Players are tired and everyone is banged up but one team finds a way to get it done.

Life operates the same way. There are championships on the line. Instead of working towards a conference championship with your teammates you may find yourself working with your business partners to pitch potential investors. Obtaining funding for your startup is definitely equivalent to winning a championship.

The thing to keep in mind is that you can’t win a championship during preseason. You can’t win a championship during game number three of the season. You have to endure to the end. Enduring is painful. It isn’t easy.

If you read the stories of many successful CEOs you hear about the number of times they were rejected by banks but the one thing that they all have in common is that they never gave up. Champions never quit. They don’t quit in the middle of a game and they don’t quit in life.

 The thing we have to keep in mind as we navigate life after sports is that we are trained for whatever comes our way. We are battle tested. It doesn’t matter if the new championship you are chasing is being named one of the top 30 under 30 business professionals in your home state or getting an acceptance letter from the medical school of your dreams. Keep a fresh goal in front of you and purse it wholeheartedly. Chase new championships!

Until next time,

Coach J

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Leave Your Cape On

What are you doing when no one is watching?

 What are you doing when there’s no crowd? When the crowd fills the arena and the lights are on it’s too late to prepare. You can’t run to the bench and read up on your scouting report during a timeout.

 Sports teach us that preparation must take place before the moment we are anticipating arrives. If you show up to a game unprepared your competition will embarrass you.

 I truly believe that athletes have a set of super powers. For some reason many of us volunteer to take our superhero cape off just because ball is over. We fail to realize that our skills will serve us in any arena.

 Our attention to detail and preparation are what allowed us to earn a college scholarship. In order to make it to this level you had to have more than just talent. You had to have some discipline behind it.

The same rules apply as we move forward. You could be a gifted teacher but you still have to prepare ahead of time when creating your lesson plans.

 As athletes we thrive under pressure. We love to compete. We are on the hunt for any and every opportunity to show what we’ve been working on. We never want to be viewed as average.

 The work we put in behind closed doors is what allows us to thrive. Take a minute to think about how empty and quiet the gym was during practice. Now compare that to game day when students and fans fill the stands, the band is there, cheerleaders are on the baseline, and photographers are trying to capture amazing action shots. There is almost no comparison. One environment is conducive to preparing. The other will simply expose those who thought they could just show up and dominate.

Separating yourself from your peers in your career field will take the same amount of effort. You have to prepare ahead of time for that big presentation when no one is watching. You have to shut off all distractions and work on that business plan before you pitch to potential investors. You have to know the laws pertaining to your client’s case before you step into the courtroom.

As athletes we have a head start. We have super powers. We understand that hours and hours of practice yield the type of results that we are looking for. So don’t take your cape off now. Leave it on. Prepare in the dark for the moment when the lights will shine.

 You lived through moments when the arena was full and you had the ball in your hands. The time will come when the boardroom is silent and all eyes are on you. Will your preparation time make you look average or super human? The choice is up to you.

 Take that same grind and apply it to a new arena.

 Go put that work in,

 Coach J

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Draft Night

60 basketball players had their dreams come true on draft night. There are over 4,500 NCAA division 1 men’s basketball players. Only SIXTY got drafted. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT PREPARING YOUNG PEOPLE FOR LIFE AFTER SPORTS?!? Athletes suffer from depression at 4x the rate of the rest of the population. I believe it’s because nobody ever stopped to tell us what to do once ball is over.

I can’t lie to you. As I watched the NBA draft earlier this week I experienced a wide range of emotions. I enjoyed watched young superstars celebrate as the commissioner called their name. Mothers shed tears. College coaches embraced their players with hugs. It was in that moment that life long dreams came true. I can’t even imagine how those young men felt. All of the years of hard work finally paid off.

I can’t help it but from time to time my inner accountant comes out. I love to crunch numbers. During one of the commercial breaks I decided to crunch the numbers. There are 347 Division 1 basketball programs. Each school is awarded approximately 13 scholarships. Sixty players got drafted. Let’s break this down.

347 schools (13 players per team)= 4,500 Division 1 men’s basketball players

Again SIXTY got drafted. Sixty. 60!

If 60 out of 4500 players got drafted that means that players who participated in last years season had a 0.013 chance of getting drafted.

60/4500= 0.013%

From the time we are kids we are told that if we work hard and stay committed we will have a chance to make it. For 98% of us that never happens. I was happy for the players who made it but I couldn’t help but think about the other 98%. The rest of us are lost. We spend so much time trying to get better strong and faster. We need to spend more time getting wiser and more skilled. We need to refine the skills that will equip us to build the lives we dream of and provide for our families. Putting a ball through a basket is not the only way to make a living. There are other options.

Maybe you knew you’d never play pro but let’s face it. The end of your playing days is never easy. I caught myself dribbling an imaginary basketball yesterday. I haven’t played organized basketball in 7 years but basketball is still engrained in me.

I’m not suggesting that you have to abandon your sport in order to move on but at some point you have to figure out how to translate those skills. You have to get a new set of goals. You have to get a new dream and chase it down. It’s in you. Go get it.

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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