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I Went Pro, But Not In Sports: Athletics The Ultimate Transition

Making it to the University of Tennessee in 2005 made me realize that my professional football dreams were only four years away. I needed to make every year count. So first I had to fall in love with the weight room so that my body could change physically from a boy to a man. I also had to become a student of the game. My mind needed to develop mentally to understand the game on collegiate level and beyond. Then I had to mature mentally to take responsibility for my workload as a student first and athlete second. It was a whole new world me and I had my work cut out. That’s when I knew I had a choice to make. Not just in college, but for the rest of my life! That choice altered everything!

It is something that is never really wanted, often need, and consistently happens. Some people pray for it and while some run from it but will never escape it. What is this consistent enviable that I refer to? It’s called change! Do you embrace change or do you resist it is the question you must ask yourself. I had to ask myself that question and here is what I gathered.

I did not like change due to the fact, I was afraid of the unknown. What exactly is the unknown? For me, in sports, it was the coaching staff getting fired, new coaches coming in, and having to learn a new playbook. In life, it was getting a job and getting a promotion, which change my role on my first job. In business it was taking that leap of faith and starting my company, Impact, Inspire, & Empower LLC. All of these areas of change had unknowns of what the future would hold. Fortunately this wouldn’t affect me because of that one choice I made in college that altered everything. I decided to go PRO, not in sports but at life! The choice to go PRO validated that “ I am a athlete, but I’m not a jock”. The simple choice helped me break the chains of the socially imposed stereotype that athletes are just good at sports. I was now free to be more, due more, achieve more.

That decision, changed the way I thought .I became free to attack everything in life with same tenacity that I attacked football. That thought process changed my attitude. It set my dreams of being an entrepreneur loose. That one critical change helped me realize this. The unknown of the future was only unknown because I had not created what I wanted my future to be. This thought process made the unknown a known, which kept me from being afraid of change; the change from conforming to the world’s view of me as a “jock” to being a successful human being outside of sports. There will always be change but instead of running and fighting it. Make the decision that I made. Start by changing your mind! Start to face it and embrace it. Once you change the way you think about yourself, it will change the way you view yourself, which will change the way you live your life.

From that day moving forward, I dressed for success. I no longer wore athletic clothing to class. I came fully dressed suit and tie. I begin to notice when I changed the way I dressed, it changed the way I was addressed. My peers begin to notice, “I am an athlete, but I’m not a jock”. Deciding to go PRO at life changed the way lived. I went from living that amateur get by, scared to take risk in other areas of life outside of sports. To living like a pro, I knew what I wanted; I knew what I needed to do to attain it. Attack life became my mantra. This is relentless, nothing can stop mentality that athletes I had in sports, is what CEO’s have in business but that was the missing piece I needed in my life. Realizing the “I am an athlete but not a jock” deciding to Go PRO at life, changed my world and the world of my peers who were athletes as well. It gave them no excuses, they couldn’t get by with just being “jocks” anymore. They were capable being more and giving more than society expected of them.

We tend to put our energy towards things that are temporal and of the less significance in the big picture and we often do not realize that until it’s too late. So for those who are reading these, I challenge you to break the social norms for which society has set for you. You can be more, due more, experience more than society has reserved for you. The way only for this to happen for you as it has happened for me is to get out of your box. Do not just get outside your box; destroy your box. Nothing in my life would have been accomplished if I didn’t decide to destroy my “jock” box that the world had put me in. Do not just go pro at your profession. Go PRO at life.




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