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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A Blueprint for Progression: Will Baggett’s Illustration

By: Will Baggett, @W_Baggs

Will Baggett, Lead Author of The Blueprint

On September 9, 2015, following a normal day of work, I walked into my apartment and randomly checked my Twitter timeline as I was unloading my backpack. After a few flicks of my trusty opposable thumb, deftly bypassing some promoted offers, I came across an open call for guest contributors courtesy of the Front Office Sports (FOS) account. Although I had no blogging experience, Tai M. Brown and I had been actively working on a collaborative guide centered on entry-level professional development and organizational leadership for the past six months. It bears the name, “The Blueprint for a Successful Career: A Foundation for Entry-Level Development.”

I thought to myself, “What better way to establish a personal brand and expand on my dual-wielded affinity for writing and professional development?” I even voiced this question aloud, and when no audible rebuttal came from my sparsely-populated apartment (just me); I assumed it was in fact the best course of action to follow. Ten months later, while the guesswork and fruitless rhetorical inquiries have long since abated, I am proud to confirm it was indeed one of the best decisions I have ever made — primarily for reasons unbeknownst to me at the time.

Referencing my Georgia residency, let’s just say things did not begin as “peachy” as I would have hoped. After submitting a writing sample and ultimately being approved by Founder & CEO Adam White, there remained one small problem. I had no idea what I was going to write about. Nada. While I am familiar with “writer’s block”, Dikembe Mutombo may as well been standing in front of me when I set out to craft my first article. The blinking cursor began to take on the likeness of Mutombo’s notorious wagging finger, incessantly whispering, “No. no. no.”

Make no mistake; we are confident in the time-tested principles you will find in The Blueprint. However, knowing that pennies come at a premium for young professionals, I could not bring myself to try and resell freeform material that had already been offered in free form. After staring at the blank canvas in front of me for quite some time, I suddenly became intrigued with the numeral uno in “Document 1” (the default file name Microsoft Word gifts you upon opening a new document). Before I knew it, I had an original piece staring back at me aptly titled, Assuming the I-1 Mental1ty. From that point forward, I experienced steady, incremental growth as a writer and still do to this day.

Tai began to take notice of the marked improvement. Quick to brush it off, I did not think much of it at the time. Gradually, Tai began intimating that my involvement with Front Office Sports had catapulted our book-writing approach to an uncharted realm of creative insights. Slow to “read between the lines”, even within my own writings, I charged on until I was one day brought to a screeching halt when Tai declared, “You know what we have to do, right? [insert my infamous blank stare]. We have to rewrite it. The whole thing.” Surely he was referring to my most recent article, so I quickly obliged, but I had agreed prematurely. Once I got wind of the fact he was referring to rewriting The Blueprint, I gave him the side-eye and simply replied, “Nope. Not happening.”

He solemnly replied, “If we fail to share the best we have to offer, we violate the very principles this project was founded upon.” Dejected, I knew he was right, and this resounding statement all but sealed it. To this day, it still rings in my ears with each new keystroke. Before long, I was back in front of my computer screen reengaging in a stare-off with that vanishing vertical line. The blinking cursor. I figured, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So, in response, I opted to share in a blink with it, albeit elongated.

Upon reopening my eyes, I came to find that this limbless stick-figure no longer represented a daunting caricature of impediment, but rather a symbol of opportunity. In like fashion, I firmly believe others will begin to see vast improvement in their lives by simply choosing to see opportunity, even when it takes on the likeness of its evil twin…opposition. More often than not, the hardest part is getting started, but I have come to find that when you commit your works unto the Lord, as Proverbs 16:3 advises, thy thoughts shall be established. And as the release date of my first book nears, I can certainly attest to this principle.

In the practical sense, Front Office Sports has afforded me opportunities to connect with, learn from, and reach individuals I otherwise would not have encountered. From becoming a founding host committee member of Atlanta’s Executive Sports Mixer council, to co-moderating my first panel at NACDA one month ago, I am humbled by the opportunities this platform has afforded me. As I type this article, I now view that once-pesky blinking cursor as a sort of vehicle and no longer as an apparatus designed to prevent forward progress. This newfound visual acuity is due in large part to the personal and professional growth I have enjoyed as a member of the Front Office Sports team.

To effectively capture all I have learned, I penned a mantra encompassing my new outlook on life as it relates to personal accountability. Quite frankly, the underpinnings of this quote have powered me along for quite some time, but it was not until I joined this team that I realized I have to move the cursor in order to progressively move the needle.

“If I am to be, all I can be, then I owe it to myself, to be the best version of me.” –Will Baggett

“The Blueprint for a Successful Career: A Foundation for Entry-Level Development” is scheduled for release in early August right here on Front Office Sports. We would appreciate your support!

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