The Branded Athlete
One thing I cannot stress enough is to have passion and have purpose. This has been a driving force in everything in my life and has allowed me to develop true confidence ( maybe to the point of insanity at times ) and pursue things I'm passionate about even if I didn't have all the answers.
Sports has always been my passion. The competition, the fans and most of all my teammates. For most athletes the most difficult thing in life is coming to the realization that at some point the game you've devoted your entire life to is going to come to an end. Unlike most careers however there is no "two weeks notice" in sports, nor does the HR team have to go through a process because in the world of sports, and more particularly football when the game stops it stops instantly.
For the majority of my career there were very few resources that allowed for a smooth transition into a career outside of football. When my playing days stopped I went through the same difficulties many players face. I had devoted my entire life to sports, and in the blink of an eye my career was done. I had limited money, no direction and very few people to consult with. What I did have however was an education, and an undeniable sense of responsibility to use this time to reinvent, and be a resource for others in my same situation on how to create a life outside of football.
Paying It Forward
I've build a career outside of football as a model, host and lifestyle influencer, but my goal has always been to educate others through my experience and actions. So when I was asked by RGA Ventures and The Athlete Transition University to speak to current players on the importance of building an authentic brand outside of football it was humbling to say the least.
What does the transition from athlete to entrepreneur look like?
How should you approach working with a brand in an authentic way?
Beyond follower count: what’s the best way to tell your story on social?
The overall session focused on helping players learn how to build their personal brand through engaging storytelling and utilization of social media platforms. In a digital age it's vital for athletes to understand how to connect with their audience and fan base. As a professional this tool can create endless opportunities and revenue streams that can extend far beyond your playing years. More importantly you have the ability to position yourself where you want to be when your playing days are done.
The biggest barrier we face as athletes is that we've been at the pinnacle of our careers physically, socially and even financially yet have had to adjust faster than Eddie Murphy in the movie Coming To America. In order to make the transition there is a level of empathy and understanding that very few people have which is why it is our responsibility as former, and even current players to speak about our concerns and support versatility within our organizations.
We are in a unique time where the younger players in the league can actually educate the veterans in a positive way that will benefit them for years to come and possibly even provide more job security.
I'll touch base on this and the influence of social media in professional sports later this week.
About The A.T.U.
Athlete Transition University was founded by the Miami Dolphins’ Director of Player Engagement to help pro football players transition from athlete to entrepreneur once their careers are over.