You’ve probably heard the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This sentiment has proved true over and over again for us here at Tackle What’s Next. We could not provide the resources, connections and opportunities that we do without our team. There is nothing wrong with individual success and independence. But just like in sports, those that succeed are usually those with the best teams.
Have you thought about who’s on your team? If you are still playing sports, you likely have a lot of people on your team beyond those teammates on the field. If you are in college, you probably have an academic advisor, career development support team, a trainer, a head coach, a position coach, and maybe a tutor or upperclassman mentor. If you’re in the pros, your team probably includes a head coach, a position coach, a trainer, a player development rep, a nutritionist, an agent, a marketing rep, and a financial advisor. Some of you might have even more team members committed to your success.
Just as your team on the field changes each offseason, your team off the field changes as you leave your athletic career. You need new team members to support you in the journey of life after the game. So how do you create that team?
Create Strategic Relationships Before You Need Them
We talk about this a lot, and for good reason. It’s so important to create genuine and intentional relationships before you need them. These relationships can become part of your life after sports team. Whether it’s helping you find job opportunities after you transition, supporting an aspect of your brand or connecting you with others who can support you, building a team takes time. You have to build relationships with people to know if they are a good fit for what you want to accomplish. You also have to put in the time to maintain these relationships and offer value before you can receive value in turn.
Surround Yourself with People Smarter than You
You’ve probably heard another saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” This is true with your team as well. You want a team that includes experts in the areas you aren’t as well versed in so they can help you get better. For example, your marketing team members should know more about digital platforms, content, branding and social media than you.
Have a Vision and a Plan to Reach it
Without a vision and direction on how to achieve it, you don’t have a team. You need to have a good idea of where you want to go and how you want to get there. Just like in sports, a team unites around a common goal. In life after sports, that goal could be making an impact in your community, building your brand, getting a new job, etc. Whatever it is, you need to be able to communicate your vision to your team and explain how they can help you reach it. Your team should know the role you expect them to play and have deliverables to support their success. They need the game plan to know what position they are playing.
Knowing and communicating your vision and building the right relationships take time. It’s also important to understand that your goals and your team will continue to shift as life goes on. But, as we’ve come to know all too well this year, with the right team, you can navigate whatever life throws your way.