In April of 2006, I finished my college basketball career and embarked on my first job as a loan officer. By the end of August, I was already searching for another job and found myself selling gym memberships for 24 Hour Fitness. I initially thought, because of my athletic background, that selling gym memberships would be a great fit and I was completely wrong. I quickly found myself upside down financially and sleeping in my friends’ attic for several months. I finally applied for a job as an insurance agent and was hired, but never started because I failed the insurance exams. The next job was cold-calling realtors and selling them ads over the phone. That job lasted 4 months and ended with me getting fired. As you can tell, my transition from college athletics and education to the professional world was quite rocky. It would continue to be rocky for almost a decade.
In 2017, in the midst of what appeared to be another failed attempt in trying to build my own business, I sat in a parking lot frustrated with the results I was having in my first few months of entrepreneurship. Instead of getting out of the car to make my cold calls, I decided to call one of my mentors to get his perspective on what I should be doing with my career. With tears streaming down my face, I listened to him explain all the challenges he faced when building his business. This conversation spurred me back into confident action as I realized that the frustration I was experiencing wasn’t uncommon, and is the story for many young entrepreneurs trying to get their business off the ground.
In March of 2021, I celebrated my 4th year in business. I’ve had the opportunity to work with extremely successful entrepreneurs and organizations in my local market, while also continuing to grow my network of clients and partners across and outside of the United States, something that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t make that call as I considered quitting on myself.
As I reflect on the obstacles I faced in discovering my strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities as a former athlete turned entrepreneur, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the clients that believed enough in me to give me a chance to earn their business and the close friends and personal advisors that have been there for me during the difficult times. I also recognize the decisions I made that led to tremendous amounts of pain and frustration.
The #1 Path To Success
As hard as I’ve worked over the years to figure out what my strengths were and where I should apply them, nothing I’ve personally done has been the key to me finding success after sports. Every breakthrough I’ve had personally and professionally can be tied to a specific relationship I had with someone who I trusted that had an answer to the challenge I was facing at the time.
Yes, I had to be humble enough to seek out help and advice. Yes, I had to build the relationship to have the opportunity to ask for advice. But, if I didn’t have the right relationship to call at that time of crisis in 2017 to seek guidance, I easily would’ve made the wrong decision as I did dozens of times prior. One of the best decisions you can make as you look to find success is to build quality relationships with peers and advisors that can help you break through to higher levels of success in your personal and professional life.
When I sit down with successful entrepreneurs in various sectors, they always attribute relationships as being their #1 secret to success. If you’re looking to reach a new level of success, maybe you don’t need any new skills or talents, perhaps you’re only one relationship away from a major breakthrough.
If you’re ready to build a strategy to attract the right quality relationships to your network, let’s talk!