How Graduating College Athletes Can Find Their New Passion
What happens when you graduate college and your entire life changes?
You are now transitioning into an entirely new stage of life without a huge part of yourself… competing in college athletics. Myself and most of my friends had a hard time without our identity attached to sport, that’s why many of my teammates chose their careers in a sport related field.
As athletes we are programmed and conditioned to have one major identity. To be the best at our sport, and there isn’t much room for hobbies and other passions. When we exit the competitive realm, many athletes take this approach to their life and feel this overwhelming need to find a new passion and purpose, to fill the hole. I know I did, and it makes complete sense.
As college athletes, we previously had known exactly who we were. When that athletic identity disappears… it’s f*cking hard. Many times it’s because we can develop a one dimensional mentality with our interests and attention. I mean, how else were we supposed to succeed, we didn’t have time for anything else.
But the flipside is when we stop competing, whether it be due to injury or eligibility, we became somewhat lost… or at least I did.
When I exited college I found myself trying to put the same passion and determination into the things that were occupying most of my time now, my career.
I found myself stumbling around, unsatisfied with my life. I felt like I had to find a NEW passion, because I was no longer a competing athlete. I didn’t have the same passion for my finance job as I did for competing in sports. I felt like I needed my job to give me as much purpose as sports once did, except there wasn’t a national championship to win.
I felt like I fell into this trap that I needed to find my “calling.” And this calling had to come from my career. I felt this need to pour my heart and soul into my job. As an athlete this makes sense because I had been trained to be focused on one goal. This is where I made my first mistake. As I exited my elite competitive career I was trying to fill this void with finance. Here is the thing, I like finance, that’s why I got my degree in it, but it’s only a piece of who I am. It’s not my life.
And that was my problem. I was looking for my NEW passion through my career. I was trying to fill a void and not paying attention to a huge piece of my life, fitness.
Society adds so much pressure to find a job, especially one you LOVE. I made the mistake of thinking that my career needed to be who I was. I thought it needed to be all of me, like sports once were.
But something I learned is, it’s healthier if it’s not your entire world. We should enjoy our jobs, but it probably shouldn't be ours lives, like sports were. That was the problem when we stopped playing sports. We lost our lives…. We lost who we were. Wouldn’t the same thing happen when we stop working?
For me, the easiest way to transition into this new chapter of my life, was to embrace my passion for sports and fitness. It’s still who I am, and me not competing shouldn’t dictate my ability to connect with that part of me.
Focusing on fitness, and understanding my own body gave my purpose again. The best part was I found happiness, through myself and I didn’t become a fitness fanatic.
For the first time, I worked out at my pace, did strength training because I liked it and didn’t do cardio because I hated it. I built myself up rep by rep, I lost fat, and I built my body how I wanted to. For the first time my passion was completely internal. It was 100% about me and no one could take that away from me.
I couldn't get fired, or graduate, or get injured or run out of eligibility. I got to be who I truly am without the need of outside pressures. It is the most rewarding, passionate thing I have ever done.
That is how I found my passion, again.