Have you ever noticed how many former athletes end up working as financial advisers, recruiters, and sales associates? Don’t get me wrong, these are all potentially great careers, but I suspect that some of us may be drawn to them for all the wrong reasons. Let’s first acknowledge that all three of the career paths mentioned above are essentially sales roles at the core, with other duties sprinkled in. Athletes are often drawn to, and encouraged to apply for these roles due to their “competitive nature”. After retiring from their sport, many athletes feel lost when entering the job market for the first time. They seek out roles with “competitive” and “teamwork” in the job description, hoping to land in an environment that will give them the thrill of being back in the action (I'm speaking from experience). These roles give former athletes the opportunity to compete against others, and more importantly, against themselves. When competing against oneself, it’s important to check in from time to time and ask, “What is it that I’m trying to accomplish? What am I really competing for? What’s the grand prize at the end?”. Chances are that if you find yourself waking up everyday, trying to motivate yourself to keep doing things that you hate doing; you’re not competing with yourself, you’re wearing yourself out. What’s likely missing from your daily grind is passion and alignment. Alignment means making a contribution to the world using your unique gifts. Words like “passion” and “alignment” have been overused in recent years, but they still matter. Day after day without passion, purpose and alignment will lead you to a passionless, joyless and unfulfilled existence. This is not to diminish the many financial advisers, recruiters, and sales people who absolutely love what they do, and are killing it in their careers (you know who you are). But not every former athlete enjoys competing just for the sake of competition itself. Not every former athlete enjoys competing just for a bonus or a higher paycheck. Some of us simply enjoy competing for the things that we love to do, and for the lives that we truly want to live. So I ask you, what did you compete for today?
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