How To Handle Your Career Transition
One of the hardest things to do as a professional athlete or student athlete is to transition into the next phase of your life after you're done playing the sport you love and gave your whole life to. Your sense of identity is gone and clouds of anxiety, depression, and insecurity may surface in your mind. The reason why so many professional athletes struggle financially after their career is done is because they fail to acknowledge what's next, don't prepare for the next phase of their life, spend like they are still professional athletes, and fail to build a solid financial foundation that allows for some leeway.
Here are some ways professional athletes can change the narrative and get a jump start on their life after sports:
Hit The Ground Running
"An idle mind is the devil's playground"...it may not be that serious but as an athlete you are so use to having a schedule of your day to day activities from training to games to offseason. When you are done playing, you are now on your own schedule. It's important to have an idea of what you want to do when you are finished so you can easily move forward and make inroads into the next career that you have in mind. If you wait until your career is over that is time being wasted that could have been put to use acclimating to your new situation.
You are no longer the big dog on campus anymore. Yes, you played professional sports but now that's over and you are back down on the totem pole. Don't expect any handouts. Now if you were smart, than you may have leveraged your time as a professional athlete to catapult your new life. Otherwise, know that some of the perks that you may have been use to as a professional athlete will be much harder to come by. Understanding how to navigate in the corporate world will take some time so humble yourself and get to work. Luckily a lot of the skills you learned by playing sports will translate to whatever you plan on doing next.
Be Patient & Confident
As we just touched on above, your skills will help translate to your new line of work in whatever sector that may be. Trust your ability, studies have shown your sports background will help you more on average professionally than be a hinderance. Some reasons why you will succeed as an athlete in your next phase include:
The ability to achieve goals
- Determination when completing a task
- Ability to handle adversity under pressure situations or change of circumstances
- Know how to put strategy into action
- Understand how to work with a team to get results
- Willingness to Sacrifice
- Never give up attitude until the job is done
Play To Your Strengths
As a professional athlete it's important to play to your strengths. Just as if you were on the field or court, you do what you need to do to be as effective as you can. Would it be smart for Steph Curry to start posting up players or Tom Brady to change into a run first QB. Know what you are good at and find a passion based off that. It should be a combination of what you want to do vs what you are good at and build a pathway to accomplish that.
Have A Mentor
Having someone that has been there and understands what you are going through can help you when you need to vent and bounce questions off of. It's all about making your transition easier so finding someone you can learn from in relation to your current transition can speed up your own process.