Once an athlete, always an athlete.
From the time I was a child, I loved competition — playing basketball, volleyball, tennis, and running track in middle and high school. Sometimes I was the best (in middle school I would beat girls and boys in the 800 meter run) and sometimes there was plenty of room for improvement (as a point guard, I would frequently get stuck in the right corner of the court because I couldn’t dribble left-handed).
I peaked as a runner as a freshman in high school, gaining weight and subsequently slowing down my sophomore year. I have since resurrected my love of running as an adult, running 3-5 miles daily at a 7:15-minute-mile pace.
Hey, it allows me to feel like I’m still a “real” athlete.
As someone who has worked with professional athletes, however, I recognize the shortcomings of my athletic ability. Sure, I can pretend I’m an Olympic star, but the truth is that I avoid structured races because I know my competitive spirit would attempt to win and I may keel over while attempting to keep pace with the top runners.
At least that’s what I tell myself. Maybe I avoid them because I don’t see the point in competing if I can’t win.
That’s why I love business. I’ve transferred my relentless desire to compete to another medium … and it’s one I win frequently.
An Athlete in Business
Leaving a professional sport (I was a digital media coordinator for the Detroit Lions) in early 2014 to be an entrepreneur presented an unexpected zing of feeling like the underdog. Engaging in business as an entrepreneur is one of the most intense competitions there is, and I felt it 100-percent.
I experienced a two-year journey of uncovering my strengths, ultimately learning that what fueled my love of athletics also drove me in business: strategy, competition, and the thrill of the win.
Whether it’s closing a new client or closing a lead for my clients, that feeling of winning is everything. Putting together a plan for myself or a client and seeing it come to fruition reminds me of how it felt to pass the boys’ exhibition team on the final lap of the 4×800 in high school. I relished it.
I clearly remember the look of fear on the face of my competition at the thought of being beat by a girl (God forbid) and swiftly passing him on the straightaway.
Don’t mess with me. I’m strong and I possess a relentless hunger to beat you.
My Perfect Clientele
This is why I love working with professional athletes — I speak their language. I get that they want to win and be the best at everything, but I also recognize that they must see the parallel between sports and business to realize that success.
The truth is that some don’t.
The ones that do — and see how they can leverage sports to be even better in business — do amazing things. It’s a combination of confidence and humility; understanding they aren’tthe best at everything, but knowing a certain amount of natural ability and hard work can result in greatness.
The Non-Athlete Athlete
Not all of my clients are athletes in the traditional sense.
I also work with entrepreneurs out who — like me — carry the mentality of a professional athlete. Those who love the thrill of the chase and passing competition on the final straightaway.
Sometimes that comes in the form of winning business deals. Other times that comes in the form of helping others. Achieving a “win” through seeing a client get physically healthy, build his or her own successful business, or develop a business strategy, all embody the clients I work with.
It’s about setting and achieving goals.
Whether you’ve competed at the highest level of professional athletics or simply carry a business swag reminiscent of Steph Curry shooting a three at the buzzer, I want to hear from you. Reach out to talk business strategy, sports, setting goals, or getting wins.
There is always room to get to the next level.