Dr. Mark: What advice can you give athletes in preparation for the transition?
Mr. Trucks: 1) SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE! You are NOT too good to work. I don’t care how may touchdowns you scored, or who has your jersey. If you don’t learn the ability to swallow your pride and drop your ego to get a real career like every other hard working individual in this world, then you are going to die a slow financial death. So many people get out of sports and have a chip on their shoulder, which becomes the biggest hindrance to their post sport success. I had to train and serve 9 years old for 6 years to earn my right to be successful in this world because I needed to make a living and feed my family. I could have easily tried to ride the “NFL” tag, but no one cares what you did if you’re no longer doing it on the field.
That would be like a CEO walking into another company and saying, “I Built that company to greatness so I can definitely do it here, but I’m not going to work as hard because I don’t want to look like a low level person.” If he wants to make his new company just as big he’s going to have to work HARDER because its necessary to achieve the same level of success.
2) REDEFINE AND USE YOUR SKILLS. Sports taught you amazing tools that you need to redefine for the working world. The athletes who don’t tap into the strengths that ALLOWED them to have success in their sport always perplex me. Things like punctuality, problem solving, working as a team to succeed, determination, communication skills, etc. These are qualities that employers LOVE, yet we get to a place in our minds where we assume others don’t “get us”, so we shut people out and/or shut down and eventually make it harder to succeed. Next time you are in a hard spot think back to what you did in a game when things got hard and redirect that energy and focus to your current task. You’ll be amazed at how fast you succeed and even get the same rush you did when you were playing.
3) FIND OUT WHO YOU ARE WITHOUT THE GAME. When I got done playing it was a HUGE shock to my system because I didn’t know who I was without football anymore. Everyone knew me as the NFL player, as did I. So when I finished I was internally struggling to find out who I was without it. I felt like I wasn’t whole. Then I started to realize that the person I was inside allowed me to do what I did, not just the body I had. The great part was that this person was still there. I still had all the tools that made me the “football player”. I was no less of a person, I just had finished my first career. I started to write down things that I enjoyed doing and what made me happy from the “game”. I liked training, sports, and people so I decided to open a gym and train others to become the best version of themselves. I in fact got a better sense of fulfillment helping others than I did when playing. I was still the “football player”, but I was also now a man helping others to do what I had done. So dig deep and find out who that person is and what that person enjoyed about the game they played. Then find something that afford you the ability to get those same things from the non sports world.