What about the athletes in the middle

As I started putting this post together it scared the crap out of me because I was planning on sharing some of my biggest failures and regrets… I’m still going to, but I’m not scared anymore because I truly believe that each of our stories can be a light to someone else. So, if you are out there reading this hopefully you won’t feel alone.

who i'm here for

 

I’m going to cut to the chase. I may lose some people with this, but if it reaches the people that need it that’s cool.  

When I graduated I went into a good job, making decent money, with good hours. The problem was, it wasn’t the life that I thought I would have. I thought that I would be traveling and learning things about investing and business (because those were things that were on my radar) while being able to have time to pursue things that made me come alive. Had I gone pro,  I thought the vision would have come true. This was the plan… I would play professionally, in the off season and in the down time I had, I would study and learn about running a business and investing (stocks, VC, stuff like that) and also do things like sing, personal traveling, and spend time with my family as often as I wanted. That was the rough draft at least. Basketball was my ticket to that life. I hadn't even considered the process of going about it differently.

Let’s rewind for a second. In an earlier post the hidden meaning behind sports, I ask the question why did you begin or continue sports in the first place. I was trying to understand the psychology behind going all in with sports vs not going all in and k. After conducting a few interviews 10% said they were trying to spend time with family members (brothers, fathers, mothers), 40% said they were trying to escape personal traumas (issues at home, dealing with death in family, other emotional situations), 30% said that they liked the attention they received as a result of them excelling in sports, and the other 20% said they liked challenge. They liked the idea of competing and having to make adjustments to be better. They wanted to work hard to get the most out of themselves.

After doing my own self-reflection, I fall into the 20/30% categories. I loved the attention from people whether it was saying “you crossed the mess out of that girl” or a little girl coming up to me to say “I want to be like you”. It was thrilling, and very few things compare to the high you get from literally being “on stage” as a player or impacting someone’s life in a positive way. Also, after looking at my patterns of behavior, when I’m really interested in something I want to be the best I can be at it. I want to learn all the things and push myself to be better even if it requires extra hours or additional learning. These things I may have been born with, but I know sports had a way of bringing them to the surface.

It was thrilling, and very few things compare to the high you get from literally being “on stage” as a player or impacting someone’s life in a positive way

Back to who I’m here for. There are those that know they want to be coaches and then there are others that have their sights set on their dream job. What about those people in the middle though. The ones that focused so much on the sport that they didn’t see the forest for the trees (that’s how the saying goes right? lol) The ones that didn’t think there would be anything for them when they stopped playing so they started engaging in self-destructive behavior, hanging out with the wrong people, became apathetic about life in general as to just exist. I’m not saying everyone is like this, but a fair amount that I’ve spoken with use phrases like “I’m just going through the motions” or “I don’t really want to work here, but I don’t know what else I can do” and the one I most relate with “I know I’m capable of more, but I don’t know what my purpose is”.

I’m here for those people. The hard part about getting honest answers from people is creating a space for them to be genuine and sincere. Nobody wants to admit that they aren’t happy and wish they could find some source of joy whether it’s a new career, a hobby, or find their purpose in life. Sometimes people are scared of existential questions. You get crazy looks when you utter what am I even doing here.

The hard part about getting honest answers from people is creating a space for them to be genuine and sincere.

So, if you are content and happy with the way life is that is fantastic! Please stop reading. It would be a waste of your time. However, if you are constantly complaining about how life sucks, how you wish you could be doing something else, or if you are just wondering what your purpose is, then consider this a safe space to explore those emotions and thoughts. Build confidence. And execute whatever path you decide for yourself.

The short version of my story is this

I’d put all my eggs in one basket with basketball without figuring out who I am as a person. I didn’t think about what was important to me or consider what I wanted to contribute to society. I didn’t know (now I know I just didn’t recognize) what my core message was. This season of unself-aware (yes I made that up) led to me “coasting”. During a time shortly after graduation I volunteered at a retirement home and I got to talk to a lot of the residents. One of the main things they expressed were feelings of regret. Some were about missed opportunities, others were for not traveling more, and the one that stuck out to me was an older woman saying she didn’t live life to it’s fullest. She always wanted to do things and for one reason or another she just didn’t do it. That got me to thinking. I didn’t want to be like that. To not do all that i’m capable of is frightening to me( I will go into detail another time or you can email me any questions)
Fast forward I decided to as Brene’ Brown would say “step into the arena and be seen”. There were all kinds of emotions with that. I expressed that I feel my purpose is to encourage others to take responsibility for the life they want to have, not by telling them, but living my life to the fullest and experiencing the joy that comes from that.

In retrospect, I see where I made big mistakes that set me back and I can’t change them, but I can move forward with the knowledge and skills I have now.  I’m still on this journey and don’t claim to have all the answers. All I have are my experiences and the willingness to engage in the conversation of life with honesty and humility. In the next few posts I'm going to talk about the process starting with how I "found my purpose". 

 

Don’t be shy, like this share it, print it out and give it to someone. If you want to converse you can email me.