July 2022 AOTM: Taj Dashaun, Athlete Transition Coach

athlete of the month Jul 05, 2022

Welcome back to TWN’s Athlete of the Month! Each month we are highlighting athletes in our network to share what they have accomplished outside of sports, their contribution to the athletic community and more. Make sure to check out our weekly newsletter to learn more about the athlete, what motivates them, and how to contribute to their cause.

Our July Athlete of the Month is Taj Dashaun - Athlete Transition Coach, Author, and Former NCAA Football Player!

Taj Dashaun is the Founder of Thrive After Sports and Vice President of Self Publish -N- 30 Days. He is also a former Division-1 college football player for Stony Brook University. He works every day to ensure fellow athletes are able to thrive after their sports career ends.

After playing his last game of football, Taj struggled heavily with depression because he had never fully developed a clear vision for his life after the game. After Taj started to take his eyes off himself and focus on serving others, he was able to find some clarity. He now runs an intensive program for retired athletes who, like he once was, are struggling to adapt to life after sports. Not only does Taj help retired athletes land jobs and start businesses, he helps them find fulfillment in every single area of their lives.

It's become his personal mission and passion to reach out and help others overcome the fear, frustration, and uncertainty associated with life post-athletics. Taj is the author of Thrive After Sports and Athlete to Entrepreneur, and the host of the Thrive After Sports podcast.

Taj is a great supporter of Tackle What's Next. He was on Episode 24 of our Timeout with TWN series. In the episode, Taj shared his thoughts on how playing football has impacted him in his life after sports, what he learned from his journey and how he began helping others with his experience.  

“Go find somebody to help. You can refine it along the way. As long as you are acting with clarity and looking to serve the sky’s the limit for you.”

Here's our full interview with Taj Dashaun!

1.Why did you create Thrive After Sports?

I created Thrive After Sports to help athletes avoid some of the challenges and pitfalls I faced when I finished my football career. I believe that what drove us in the athletic arena, still drives us now. All it takes is guidance and a push in the right direction.

2. What did being an athlete teach you about the work you are doing now?

Being an athlete taught me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, as long as I'm willing to dedicate myself to my craft, the same way I dedicated myself to football. When we learn to apply our athletic mindsets to the process of creating a new chapter in life, we become unstoppable.

3. What is the most important thing you did for yourself to start planning for life outside of sports?

I started thinking about how I wanted to live my life, instead of what I wanted to do for a living. I learned to build my occupation into my lifestyle, instead of trying to fit my lifestyle into my occupation. When I started being intentional about who I wanted to be, how I wanted to show up, and how I wanted to be remembered, everything changed for me.

4. When and how did you decide you were ready to make the transition out of sports?

I didn't have a good enough college career to play at the professional level. The fact that I was forced to hang up the jersey before I was ready ultimately made my transition even more difficult than it already was. I still felt like I had more to give, but my time was over. If I would have had some guidance around figuring out who I was outside of the jersey at that time, it would have made a world of difference for me.

5. What advice do you have for athletes around moving on from sports to their next chapter? 

Celebrate your accomplishments as an athlete. Honor your career, and be proud of the fact that you played at an elite level. Once you find closure around that chapter of your life, it gives you the freedom to create your next chapter(s). You will find true fulfillment by going through the process of cultivating clarity in your life. Once you're clear on your direction, stay consistent, work on your craft, and always look for ways to improve. Lastly, make sure you find great mentors and "teammates" who can run with you as you set out to play (and win) in the game of life!

Thank you Taj for your incredible impact on the world of sports and entertainment! It has been a pleasure to highlight Taj throughout the month of July. Be sure to check out his podcast, Thrive After Sportsand support his work!