HAVING A PLAN B
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
Oh yes, Plan B. Ironically, Plan B is one step, but it’s a very important step. It’s to be used in case of an emergency, so you would think more people would have one.
I can tell you why many collegiate athletes don’t have them. It’s because it takes a certain level of confidence to make it to that elite level, and I know that one must blindly believe in themselves, and that makes it a double edged sword. It’s true, no one should believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself.
“No one should believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself”
This is especially true about boxers. You cannot enter the ring with any doubt if you plan on exiting that ring as a winner. Confidence will plant a garden of more confidence and start to feed off of confidence. When you must believe in yourself to become successful, it’s hard to conceive the thought of making a plan in case you aren’t successful. This is an issue that athletes rarely confront.
I knew I was going to be successful in boxing and make it to the Olympics. Nothing was going to stop me. In 2008, I dropped out of college and dedicated every moment to boxing. For the next 4 years, I traveled the world boxing, and I became more and more confident. My goal was to go to the London Olympics in 2012, AND NO ONE WAS GOING TO STOP ME. I marched my way to the 2012 Olympic Trials and dominated.
I was right, a ‘someone’ wouldn’t stop me… but a ‘something’ did.
USADA was that something that stopped me. I failed to turn in paperwork on 3 separate occasions in 18 months and was suspended for a year.
During that year is when I realized that I didn’t have a Plan B. I had not worked on any skill, trade, education, personal development, or any other aspects of my life. All I was capable of doing was boxing, and I couldn’t box for a whole year due to my suspension. What was worse, I probably didn’t want to box, but didn’t have any other options. I sat idly for a year as my suspension slowly passed. I reluctantly started boxing again, but I told myself I would not repeat this mistake.
I then legally changed my name and for the next 4 years I began to read, build a social media following, network, and explore other possible career opportunities. I took a liking to stand up comedy, which then lead me to keynote speaking. I continued my reign of national championships and international travel, but was also building a career in speaking and comedy.
In 2016, I won the Olympic Trials, but lost in international competition and didn’t secure my spot in Rio.
A part of my Plan B, ironically enough, is speaking to collegiate athletes about developing a Plan B.
In my keynote titled “Be More Than Just an Athlete,” I discuss the importance of having a career vision for after sports while still competing in the sport. Athletes don’t realize how influential they are until they don’t make it. I go in depth discussing the power of sports and remind athletes how influential they actually are. I illustrate to athletes how to leverage their fan base as a resource for building a fruitful life after sports.
“Athletes don’t realize how influential they are until they don’t make it”
The best time for athletes to plan their future is while they are still active athletes. The relevancy of an athlete quickly diminishes once they have retired from their sport. I now relay that in a keynote to collegiate athletes.