January 2023 AOTM: Jonathan JonesJan 02, 2023
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 January Athlete of the Month is Jonathan Jones!
Jonathan played basketball at Dallas College and the University of Texas at Tyler where he also received his Bachelors of Science in Psychology. Now a podcast host and public speaker, he focuses on helping individuals prepare for the transition in their lives holistically. Jonathan partners with athletic departments and teams all across the country to speak about the life skills athletes need to thrive. He hosts workshops and facilitates training to help student-athletes focus on what truly matters most, such as: identity beyond their sport, personal and professional development, coping strategies and awareness of mental health, and being a student of life and literacy.
Jonathan’s desire is to use his own adversities and life experiences to influence the holistic development of young professionals and emerging leaders. He focuses on addressing three main pillars: Mental Health, Personal Development, and Professional Development, and how they can help each individual he supports prepare for the next transition.
He’s also the host of the Beyond the Ball podcast, where he interviews industry leaders, former athletes, and a variety of other guests twice a week. Jonathan and his guests share stories, strategies, and successes to further cultivate the mind of the listener and equip them with strategies for lifelong success.
As a speaker and student-athlete development consultant, Jonathan partners with athletic departments and teams all across the country to share the life skills athletes need to thrive. He hosts workshops and facilitates trainings to help student-athletes focus on what matters most, like identity beyond their sport, personal and professional development, coping strategies and awareness of mental health, and being a student of life and literacy.
Jonathan’s desire is to use his own adversities and life experiences to influence the holistic development of young professionals and emerging leaders. He focuses on addressing three main pillars: Mental Health, Personal Development, and Professional Development, and how they can help each individual he supports prepare for the next transition. Learn more about Jonathan's public speaking work at his website here.
JONATHAN x TACKLE WHAT'S NEXT
Jonathan came on Timeout with TWN back in June of 2022 and spent some time with us sharing his journey. He talked about the importance of having persistence in sports and life, thinking big and believing in yourself and what you can accomplish. He also talked about the key to finding your gift and using that to create impact. Jonathan shared his advice for how to start to figure out what’s next for you after sports.
“Get a piece of paper and write down 3 areas you're currently interested in. Then take a little bit of time for research, so you can learn more about the industry or the field. And then find other people in that space. Now you’re in a spot to begin to connect with these people.”
On our “Branding You and Your Business” panel at the 2021 Athlete Entrepreneurship Summit, Jonathan talked about the importance of knowing your own brand and being aware of what you have put into it.
“I want you to ask yourself, have you invested as much as you are looking to charge someone. Sometimes we have to take a cold look in the mirror, we have to be real and say ‘I can’t charge somebody $4,000 because I never paid it’.”
OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN JONES:
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
“Entrepreneurship was a world that I was exposed to through my parents who both had their own businesses. At a young age, my parents had a lawn mowing business. Then later on, my mother helped others with their taxes and financial business consulting. My father is a book coach who helps clients start businesses from their best selling books. Being in that environment and around my parents as they built businesses really helped prepare me for the journey.”
What did being an athlete teach you about the work you are doing now?
“Athletics taught me discipline and determination. It helped me create that muscle to want to compete and to always want to work to become a better version of myself. At times, if I'm not careful, it can put me in a tough spot mentally, but I wouldn't trade my athletic past for anything. The ups, the downs and everything in between.”
What is the most important thing you did for yourself to start planning for life outside of sports?
“Honestly, I wish I did a better job of planning for it. I did the complete opposite - I dove right in after having a failed attempt at graduate school to be a counselor. The few things that I did towards planning was hire my dad (Dr. Fred Jones) to help me write my first best-selling book, Process. And then a few years later, I made the decision to invest into a business coach to help me begin to put my thoughts into action.”
When and how did you decide you were ready to make the transition out of sports?
“I'll never forget it. I was in the middle of playing a semi-pro basketball game. My knees were constantly aching from the wear and tear I was putting on them from working out 2-3 times a day. As I stretched out to grab a rebound that bounced out, I was held back by two opposing defenders. This made me lose it - I kicked the ball into the chairs on the bench. Just like Drake said, "The moment I stop havin' fun with it, I'll be done with it' - that's when I knew it was my time to walk away from the game.”
What advice do you have for athletes around moving on from sports to their next chapter?
“Explore your interests. Don't think about it as something that you can have a career in. Just find three areas that you're interested in learning more about. Then you can begin to find some of the people who you admire in those specific focuses. Reach out to them and see if you can take 10-15 minutes to interview them and learn more about their journey. Make sure you have your questions ready and make sure to record the call to be able to refer back to it. If it doesn't work with the first 1,2 or 5, keep at it. All it takes is one conversation that'll change your life.”
Why should athletes consider having a podcast?
“A podcast is the best way to create an intimate connection with your supporters. Additionally, listeners are more likely to make purchases from people they know, respect and admire. By having a podcast, you're giving people a look into your world and allowing them the chance to see the human side of you. This all creates a deeper connection. And, it furthers your soft skills in communication, and can position you for a brighter career path post athletics.”
Thank you Jonathan for the insights you shared and the help you have given to entrepreneurs on building their brand and their business. And thank you for your work to support the athlete community. We are proud to highlight you as our January Athlete of the Month.