You are going to have your ups and downs, but it is okay.
Wow. That sounds incredibly formal, and you know us (you? me?), that’s not our jam. Anyways, hi, hello and bonjour.
You’re 17 and you’re at this weird spot in your life where you were just not-so-begrudgingly forced to relocate from sunny California to Iowa [pause for dramatic effect] and you have no idea what to do with your future. I get it — well, obviously.
I know right now you’re thinking that 1) Iowa was created by the mother nature as some kind of joke, 2) It’s 20 degrees outside in November and this is not what you signed up for and 3) Fashion school sounds like a great idea. Only one (and maybe a half) of those is correct. Spoiler alert, it’s not #3.
Even though you’re taking this horribly awkward tour around West High with eyeballs on you like you’re a Starbucks’ coffee jokingly put in front of people who only drink Caribou, I promise you’ll find your path.
While you pretend to pay attention to where your classrooms are located and the best route to your locker, I’ll let you in on a few secrets I’ve learned over time.
Your friendships, in a weird way, will help you discover your passion.
You’ll sort of stumble into your passion out of necessity. Your mom yelled at you for staying up late on the computer when you moved to Carlsbad. She didn’t understand that you HAD to get on Facebook to message your friends into the wee hours of the night just to make sure you were still up on all the drama at your old school. She didn’t get that you needed help from 1,000 miles away to pick out a first day of school outfit.
No one could have understood in 2010 that all the time spent using social media, finding out the best ways to stay connected and looking up new features to help you continuously improve relationships would lead to a career. I’m confident everyone thought it would lead to a life in your parents’ basement.
Starting over is scary, but it’s also fun.
You’ve probably got this one down already. You made the major transition in fourth grade. And junior year. And senior year. Moving is fun. Meeting new people and making new friends is one of the most rewarding things you’ll get to do, and experiencing life all over the country will make you stronger.
But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Late nights crying while everyone is celebrating homecoming, but you’re at home because you haven’t made friends yet; weekends spent with your parents because you don’t have any plans… It stinks, but it will strengthen relationships that you had taken for granted and it will prepare you for life, where you can’t always put down roots and expect to stay somewhere forever. It will grab your wrist and pull you outside of your comfort zone, then keep dragging you another 500 feet until you’re forced to adapt to a new way of life.
Know your worth, your strength and your ability.
“You can’t” is a phrase you’ll hear a lot in college. You can’t get your degree in three years. You can’t get a job in sports. You can’t be successful in this field.
Always remember how incredibly strong you are. You’ve been through some great times, but you’ve also dealt with huge loss and you’ve bounced back. You have and will continue to show that you can make big things happen when you put your mind to it.
Don’t let someone who has met you for five minutes tell you that you’re not good enough for something. Don’t let someone who knows nothing about your past act like they can sum up your future. Nobody can, and that’s the beauty of life. You get to forge your own path and you can decide whether you’ll let the negative words of a stranger keep you from becoming the person you’re meant to be, or if you’ll use their words as ammunition to become the best you can be.
Always be humble and kind.
It’s a Tim McGraw song, but it’s also a great life lesson. Especially in an industry where everyone is connected, your name will leave an impression on people. Make sure it’s a good one. Always be open to helping others out and never treat people like you’re better than them because of where you work or what your title is.
Lastly, enjoy your life. Don’t wrap yourself up in work so much that you forget to live.
This post is part of the #YPSportsChat Blog Series! This series will give young professionals an inside look at the intricacies of the sports business world and advice on how to navigate it.
Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.
Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.