Being an athlete is all I desired to be as a kid, sports were my outlet. Playing sports was the one place I felt most like myself, and could be distracted from many of life's challenges.
My dream was to become a professional athlete. It did not matter which sport, I was just completely driven to reach my highest potential as an athlete.
However, things don't always go according to plan.
After my parents divorced, and the death of my baby sister, I internalized my grief and pain, by channeling all my energy intro finding happiness and success in sports.
I was a three sport athlete throughout high school and when it was over, my success in sports had me wanting more.
After a successful four years in college as a two sport student-athlete, I walked away with my degree and a burning desire to continue my athletic career to see how far I could take myself.
FORMER PROFESSIONAL and WORLD CHAMPION ATHLETE
I don't know if it was my drive to reach my potential as a professional athlete, or my fear of not having a "next season," but two weeks after my college graduation I was on a plane to follow my dreams as a professional football player.
I was fearless, and determined to live out my dream.
For four years I grew and developed as a player and a professional, until the night it all came crashing down.
During a routine play, I fractured my leg and tore all the ligaments in my ankle.
What I never really understood, or most likely failed to believe, was that my life as an athlete would some day come to an end. I had been playing sports my entire life with fire in my belly to be great, and to reach my highest potential, whatever that looked like.
My rehab was long, and although I eventually came back to finish out the season, I was in pain and no longer able to perform at a high level.
I was officially done.
My entire life I had one dream, and when that dream was cut short, I was lost.
I began to wonder:
Who am I?
What is my purpose in this life if not an athlete?
How am I going to find another dream?
How am I ever going to find something I love doing as much as I loved being an athlete?
Over the next 15 years I found jobs, started businesses, and took on odd projects all in an attempt to find the same feeling, that same high, I once had as an athlete.
Nothing worked out.
In my attempts to find me, I failed over and over. I disappointed a lot of people with my inability to find stability and success in my life.
Most importantly I was disapointed in myself and doubting my existance.
Through my struggles, I gravitated once again to the one thing I knew. The one place I felt like myself, being in athlete.
I reconnected to United States Track & Field, and found running as a break from my pain. It made me feel whole again. I ended up winning a Masters World Championship as part of Team USA, and although I felt alive, it did not solve my lack of purpose and meaning in the grand picture of life.
I was lost, broke, depressed, and searching for help. Despite my search, I could not find any stories, insight, direction, or advise from other former athletes who had been struggling like me.
Athletes who found a way to overcome similar challenges to find greatness in life after sports.
What I did find were other athletes, just like me, who were going through the exact same things I had. They too were looking for help.
The light went off for me.
Far too often we get caught up defining ourselves by the scoreboard in life. Measuring ourselves by the wins and losses over others, rather than by the victories we have over our own fears, obstacles, and weaknesses.
I was humbled by the self-awareness process to create my own transformation.
Now I am committed to helping former athletes find that high they once had as a competitive athlete, and using it to reach their highest potential in life after sports.
However, I could see that in order to create change, I couldn't just help former athletes. There are millions of current athletes, who are sooner than later going to be facing many of the same challenges I faced.
Thus, to reduce the number of former athletes struggling with life's great challenges, I also focus on helping sports leaders, the coaches and the athletic departments infuse into their culture and philosophy, the preparation of their athletes for life after sports.
Through my keynote talks, experiential workshops, one on one coaching, videos, and my podcast, I am able to be part of the solution to help athletes transition from life as high performing athletes, to dynamic human beings making a bigger and even greater impact in the world after sports.
I am truly grateful for my path as an athlete. I have accomplished so much and met so many great people. I am also incredibly grateful for the mistakes I made, the lessons I've learned, and those who have helped support me in finding my way.
I know what you are going through. I know what it feels like to struggle trying to find purpose and passion. I know what it feels like to settle for mediocrity in life, when your former life as an athlete was all about striving for greatness.
If you want to reclaim that high you once had as an athlete to create the lifestyle you desire and deserve, I would love to help you get there.
We need more athletes learning how to unlock their own potential, in order to accomplish their dreams in life after sports.
Please join me on this journey, as I would be honored to support you in achieving far greater success in life then you ever did as an athlete.