Life after sports can be a tough transition for most athletes. Trying to figure out how you can use these skills you have acquired through your years of competition in the job market. In this article former professional tennis player, Klaudia Malenovska talks about how she using her skills to step into entrepreneurship.
What’s Next After Sports
So let’s say you want to end your career as a hockey, soccer or a basketball player and you want to
focus on something else. But you have doubts, a lot of them. Sports environment also usually
fuels these doubts. People start telling you “Oh that’s cute, but do you know how much work that is?”
And you might know or not know how much work goes into that dream of yours, but the truth is that
you already once worked hard. You woke up at 5:45 most of the mornings during the week to lift
weights, run sprints, ate super healthy to be fit for your next game, or just poured your sweat, blood,
and tears into your practices.
But could that hard work be applied to something else or is it going to be lost forever? Then if so what can this work ethic be applied to? How many athletes have experience in traveling, hotel management, food industry, organizational skills, project management, or even social media marketing and PR? Those skills that are naturally being used in every athlete’s daily life. During my conversation with Wladimir Klitschko at Web Summit 2017, he talked about his book called Challenge Management. The book is one of the top ten selling books in German-speaking markets and talks about challenges that always be there.
People asked Wladimir how he could be the expert on Challenge Management, in intellectual property if he’s an athlete. You are a boxer, it does not work together. Wladimir response was “people need to realize that being active for 30 years in a sport, inside the ring and outside, made me an expert in challenges.” Problem-solving in other words. His opinion about failing in life is that we cannot achieve anything if we do not fail.
Failure is not an option, well failure with obsession is an option.” says a deep thinker Wladimir.
I find this very relevant and on point. Now imagine if you as an athlete could really master those skills you already collected during your career. As Gary V says “Having an Instagram account does not really makes you a social media guru” However, taking an extra effort to put those skills into tangible assets, like taking a free Google course or getting some extra education on Lynda.com, would certainly make a difference.
It is definitely more difficult if you want to become a lawyer, a doctor or some other professional where your career can span decades. In addition, there is no Youtube video on how to perform a DIY knee reconstruction surgery and we would not want that, would we?
Think About Your Moves
The more you wait with planning for your career after sports, you’ll have less of a chance to get those specific careers where you need credibility. It takes time and money.
I would like to use a simple analogy. Let’s look at the example of Michael former athlete who would like to switch his career from being a sales guy to marketing manager. I will use two versions of Michael. Smart Michael and Unprepared Michael. Both Michaels are totally done with rigorous daily routine and want to try something else. The long working hours are crazy and they want to spend more time with their families. Smart Michael starts to slowly look at job postings on different websites like LinkedIn, recruiting agencies and brands official websites. He starts networking at events that he attends and via Facebook groups. Unprepared Michael slams his resignation letter at his boss’s desk on Monday morning with these words: “Bob, I’m done. This place sucks and I have a better future ahead of me.” Smart Michael keeps his boring but safe job and keeps his ears open. He keeps getting a steady income while broadening his horizons. Unprepared Michael, after quitting his job, quickly falls into the trap of being home all the time and loses his motivation. He binge watches all unwatched episodes of Rick and Morty and is undoubtedly losing his wife and kids. OKAY!
I’m being a bit dramatic but you get the point right? Meanwhile, smart Michael finished an online course “Digital Garage” and met his future boss at the event called “Google Today” that has been posted on Facebook by American Marketing Association. He sought to broaden his expertise in online marketing via different channels, made an effort to meet new people and planned ahead.
Be like smart Michael! Plan ahead, come up with some goals, convert your little expertise in whatever you collected during those playing and traveling years into something tangible. Let’s see where that would get you. I think it will take you much further than selling your racquets and waiting for an answer, sitting in pajamas in a living room.
In my case, I am still on my journey to build my own business. I think that most athletes would make great entrepreneurs because we already have all the necessary skills like leadership, discipline, motivation, competitiveness, teamwork and more. Our real question is how to convert these skills into a different field.
Personally, I converted my skills into my job in a media agency but I am on my way to start my own business. My vision is to help former athletes integrate into life behind the fences. Once you are done with sports, it can be pretty tough to get back on your feet, especially if you lack the professional expertise. Some athletes could benefit from consultancy, counseling, asset management, mental help, community and more. My vision is strong but I do realize that I can’t just quit my job because that would put me in a lot of unnecessary stress and that transition has to be smooth, like the transition from sport to real life. It has to be planned and well thought.
Good luck with your visions and plans