The Athlete Transition Cycle

When you try to gain momentum, one of the hardest parts is getting started. To help you get going, I came up with “The Athlete Transition Cycle,” a five-step process on how to move from a sports-centered life to a life-centered existence. 

Step One

For the past however many years you have been playing, your life has been dominated by your sport – workouts, two-a-days, practices, weight room, study hall, film sessions and traveling for games. The first thing you need to do is visualize your life after sports. I do not mean just thinking about having all the time in the world; rather, your idea of a “regular” day that will become your new norm. This should be a day that you would not mind waking up to every day because it is what you are going to be doing for the majority of your time.

The first step is to ask yourself some questions: Who are your friends? How do work and recreation fit into your life? Do you wake up early or sleep in? Are you traveling a lot or spend most of your time at home? Visualize what you want your life to look like after sports, just like you visualize making shots in the big game!

Step Two

The second step is to determine what is important to you. This is called your value system. Figuring this out keeps you from trying to live up to other people’s expectations. When you can articulate what is important to you,  it makes decision-making easier, faster and less stressful. Another valuable thing about determining your values is that when you are able to tell somebody what is important to you, they can tell you are being genuine. In other words, they will better understand how to help you instead of thinking that you are just going to take any opportunity thrown your way.

As you grow, you get different values from your parents, coaches or teachers that they deem important TO YOU than they once were. So, being able to understand what you want as a person allows you to actually take the steps that are necessary to move toward life fulfillment.

Step Three

Speaking of next steps, the third step is to align your planning and actions with your values. Does this career make sense for your desired lifestyle? Will you have to violate any part of your values by taking this opportunity? Will you have to compromise your integrity by being a part of this program or organization? Is this decision based on your value system or what somebody else thinks you should be doing?

For example, after my final college basketball game, I attended a conference called “So You Want To Be A Coach?” It is a fantastic program for recent grads that want to get into the college-level coaching field once they finish their competitions. My coach swore up and down that I was going to be a coach, but I knew that athletic coaching was not something that was important enough for me to dedicate my next steps towards. In retrospect, I went to the program because I was basing my next steps on my coach’s value system – not my own.

At the conference I felt obligated in some way to at least try to get a coaching position because I had been afforded the opportunity to attend. Had I been able to articulate what was important to me, I would have approached the conference much differently. I would have taken advantage of the time and access I had to coaches to promote my love of athlete personal/professional development. It would have produced a much different outcome years later.

Step Four

The fourth step is to create a strategy. I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast and it had a profound impact on me. He said, “Indiscriminate action is a sign of too little thinking and planning.” That is huge because different entrepreneurs and mentors you might have focus everything around a “do, do, do” mentality. This causes you to feel like you are constantly in motion and getting things accomplished, but these “indiscriminate actions,” as Ferriss said, will make you realize that you have wasted time, money, resources and potentially relationships completing unimportant things that have not produced results.

Achieving success (whatever that may be for you) means building and executing on a process, not an abstraction. Ask yourself these questions: Do you need to learn something new? Has someone already done what you want to do and is aligned with your value system AND willing to help you? Do you know how to contact them so they respond? How will you handle your mental blocks? What will you do when you run into obstacles and things get hard? These are all questions that will help you consider your strategy.

Step Five

The fifth, and final step in the Athlete Transition Cycle is to take action. A plan is nothing without execution. Once you have a plan that excites you (the key of planning) is to figure out how you are going to take action. Ask yourself the following: Who do you need to call? Where do you find the resources to go to the next level? Taking action is not always about being on the go. Sometimes it is more about finding the resources and people to help you get started. As a VIKTRE Influencer, I can attest that there is a fantastic career section on the website. As you are planning for your future, make jobs.viktre.com one of your resources.

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