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Playing for Keeps: Your Successful Future Begins Now

By Troy Vincent
NFL Player Engagement

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” - Doug Firebaugh

As you begin to assess future professions you might pursue after your NFL playing experience has ended, you may find yourself becoming intrigued, even fascinated with those who are extraordinarily successful in fields outside of the game of football.

As you start to consider what your life might be like after you have transitioned out of football, certain people may begin to surface as personal role models for your “next” life. Just as you might have looked up to particular NFL football players while growing up, you are now likely to be interested in knowing how your new role models made it, and even more than that, you will want to know what it is (or was) that propelled them to such great professional heights within their own fields.

Successful individuals who stand out as leaders in their profession or those who have created entrepreneurial empires pique our interest. In fact, the select group of current and past players who recently attended our Business of Music Boot Camp will tell you how privileged they were to have the exceptional opportunity to meet and speak with one of their role models, the legendary music mogul Clive Davis. Former and current NFL players were able to explore their own future in the music business with the assistance and guidance of one of the biggest icons in the history of music.

In football we know that talent, ability, and performance skills – being good at what we do – are major aspects of a player’s overall success. But we also know that other factors contribute to good players becoming great. It’s no different in the outside working world. Whether you are playing football, running a business, working for a Fortune 500 company, teaching high school, or coaching a team, that special “something else,” that extends beyond talent is often where the secret to phenomenal success lies.

If we actually do take a minute to look further into the notable success stories of others, at first blush their impressive “bios” might read as though they had done everything right earlier in their lives. Perhaps they went to the right schools, got the right advanced degrees, had the right mentors, or went to work for the right organizations at the right time.

But more likely, those right seeds of success were planted quietly, properly watered, and tended to with great attention so that ultimately they would reach a mature season. Although a result of diligent, deliberate, and daily “reps” of hard work and intention, that bountiful harvest is what others see as a remarkable success story. The professionals we admire most don’t work toward success; they work at it every single day.

The definition of a true professional goes beyond talent and skill. Yes, performance in any position is important; but how we conduct ourselves and our ability to relate to others is also essential to success. Mastering the power of connecting and communicating well to those around you is part of the fabric of those we most admire.

Successful professionals know that they are making a statement about who they are with every text, letter, email, in-person conversation, action, gesture, and telephone call. They know that being a good communicator is less about what they say and more about how they say it. They also know that being a good listener is the key to great communication with co-workers. Without exception, they are fully aware that their commitment to their success and the success of those around them shows in everything they do.

Despite the extreme intensity associated with the NFL playing experience and the obvious fact that when you play in the NFL your daily focus must be on the game, there are always weekly opportunities to grow as a professional and to develop, sharpen, and improve essential personal skills that will definitely boost your chances of finding a fulfilling and dynamic profession after your experience in the NFL.

As an active player, you can begin preparing for your future profession today by planting your own seeds of success in the way you relate, interact, and conduct yourself with everyone you come in contact with both on and off the field.

Your success in your future career is already in the making.

As players in the NFL, the opportunities presented to you far exceed playing football. You have a wide opening to showcase the type of professional you are – and will always be – regardless of where you are or what you are doing.

When it comes to being known as a true professional, you are already playing for keeps.

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