“The minute you get drafted you are closer to the end of your career than the start of it”, I can’t remember where I heard that quote but I do know that it stuck with me. I never really thought about it when I got drafted but at the end of the day why would I, I just got drafted in the first round and had been playing soccer my whole life. If it was going to stop it would be on my terms. That’s not always the case was what I would soon find out.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a professional athlete for 8 years. As I’m currently a free agent I can’t help but think, “where did the time go.” My shelf life according to Jeremy Darlow’s book, "Athletes are Brands Too", was supposed to end 5 years ago. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like or what I would be doing if my career ended when I was 22-23 years old after 4 years in the league. Some athletes however have to deal with this scenario.
So what is shelf life exactly…..shelf life means the length of time for which an item or in this case an athlete remains usable or on a team.
As an athlete matter fact as someone in your current position now, what would you do if your career were to end in 3.5 years? That is why it is so important for athletes to think about their passions outside their current sport and also make smarter financial decisions during their playing careers. They say no one ever retires like they planned but it’s inevitable. As an athlete, in order to prolong your shelf life you need to make the most of your career while you are active. I hate to break it to you but people love the athlete they can look forward to watching or hearing about rather than the retired athlete that use to play.
Let's try this exercise for the new year and season….Write down three things you are passionate about outside your sport or current career and then find two possible ways you can increase your background in that particular passion.
For example, if I was passionate about video, I would ask to work with our marketing staff to understand how to edit videos and different apps that could help me in my skills.
If I was passionate about business development, I would try to shadow someone in the front office in exchange for an appearance.
There are many ways to increase your knowledge...it’s all about taking action!!