It’s no secret why athletes struggle in the transition to life after sports, but one of the most important elements is getting clarity and understanding on these five components. Because without them, you are going to continue to feel stuck, struggling, and unfulfilled.
The Five P’s of Your Success in Life After Sports
What’s up my former athlete family? It’s Cletus Coffey, the founder of recovering athlete coaching and training. This article is about the five P’s of your success in life after sports. After you read this you’re going to think: “ah, goodness, how did I not remember this? How did I not understand this?”
See, in my journey, I didn’t have someone that understood me specifically. I did a ton of personal development work, coaching and training, I read the books, and I followed the experts.
Without a doubt, it helped me over a decade to process and better understand myself to figure out how I can improve, how I can become elite, and how I can follow my dreams. The challenge was, they didn’t understand me as a former athlete.
So you’re lucky that you’re in the right spot, because I understand you.
It wasn’t until I was able to take this information and process it through the language of sports to really being understanding what was next for me. For almost 85% of my life, I had been an athlete.
Once I had put that information into the language of sports, I finally understood… I’m going do my best to do that for you here. Understanding these five components and why you have all five as an athlete. I’m willing to bet, you only have one, maybe two, of them in your life after sports.
No wonder why we’re stuck and struggling.
You will continue to, until you get clarity on how these five elements you once had as an athlete apply to life after sports. Most of us want to go pro in our particular sport, not realizing that we can create a ton more success, money, fulfillment, and impact in going pro outside of sports. So let’s do that. Let’s grasp these five elements to help you go pro in life after sports.
First things first, I’m going to communicate to you through you as being an athlete, and then we’ll transition over into life after sports.
Number one, the first P, Passion. We were passionate about our sport or sports, we were passionate about our craft. It may have taken you through the high school level, collegiate, or beyond. You’ve probably thought, “this is fulfilling, this is fun, I’m passionate about this.”
Some of you would have said (talking professional athletes here): “The fact that they pay me is just a bonus.” I love what I do. You felt passionate about it. That’s number one.
Number two, a Purpose. You had a purpose that would have been either to make yourself better or maybe it was to make your team or your teammates better. Maybe it was to represent your community or your family, or to reach your highest potential. As an athlete in your sport, you had purpose.
It maybe was to make the starting lineup or to reach a certain level, there was a purpose behind you that drove you and created that fire in you. That’s what purpose does. It’s incredibly powerful.
Performance was a big thing. Really one of the biggest points of measurement for us in our athletic days. That’s how we measured ourselves. Am I getting bigger, faster, stronger? We would look at our stats, wins, and losses and be able to answer the question, “how am I performing?”
Performance was a big piece because that’s where the fun is, right? We get to go out there and we get to perform.
Next is Points. Now this was a big one in sport because a lot of us measured our self-worth, level of confidence, and view of ourselves based on the points which are important in sports. When I say points, I’m talking about the scoreboard.
Did we win or did we lose? What type of stats are you putting up? What type of weight are you lifting if you lifted weights, or what type of races are you competing in? Those types of things. We measured ourselves based on results or the scoreboard.
Those results gave us feedback so that we know how to improve, get better, and continue to grow. Points were the biggest component of us as athletes.
Lastly, Play. This is what we did, we love playing. That’s what, oftentimes, athletes forget. That we love to play. That’s what we did. Even when it got into a business, meaning if you became a professional athlete that sometimes the business muddied the play, but at the end of the day, you’d like to play even with business in it!
So Passion, Purpose, Performance, Points, and Play are the five key elements.
You most likely have had all five firing during sports but when transitioning into life after sports, you only have one or two.
Life After Sports
Let’s transition over to now. It doesn’t matter if you just retired from sports, or it’s been 20 years, all of this applies to you. Whether you played high school sports, or you’re a professional athlete, you’re an athlete, you got in there, you played that down, you got on a team, you competed and trained, you know what it means to be an athlete, you’ve got that DNA inside you.
Let’s take these five P’s and apply them to life after sports. Which one of these have you activated as part of your day to day life?
Are you passionate about what you do for work? For example? Are you passionate about something in particular that just gets you fired up, and is a part of your everyday life? I’m not talking about just going to the office, working your butt off everyday and only pursuing passions when you come home. This is fine, however, we get in this mindset of thinking that our passion only happens when we have extra time.
As an athlete, you didn’t just compete in sports, and then do passion stuff on the side. It was part of you as an athlete. It was what you did, everyday. You thrived in that and were fulfilled in that work. Passion has got to be a part of your everyday life, not just a side thing, or when you have extra time.
Purpose, what is your purpose? Where is the fight in you, the drive to make an impact, to do something meaningful, to do something that is going to impact and serve the lives of others, like you once did for your teammates, community, family? Where is the purpose in your life now? This is straight to the heart here. When you are purpose driven?
You made some incredible things happen in your life, on some level. Where is that drive today? If you don’t have it, now’s the time to start finding that purpose.
Now we’re going to get into the two key elements that most people have activated. The first one is performance. You’re probably performing in some form or fashion. Maybe you have a job or you’ve started a business and you’re performing to make sure you maintain your job, or your business is growing and you are performing to reach your goals and benchmarks. Performance is usually a big tracking point for us in life, just like we tracked points in sports.
Now I’m going to make a quick shift here, instead of points, I’m going to call it profits, when it comes to life after sports. Because many people are focused on how much money they are making or what type of revenue they have. It becomes more about profit, which is essentially the same thing, an end result. I don’t want to make this all about money by saying profit but I’m hoping you get my point here. A main driver for most people in our society is money.
Now is money the end all? No. Is that what you should be chasing? No. Is it important and necessary? Absolutely. So we want to make sure that’s part of this process.
The last thing is Play. What we need to remember is that our brains are wired for play. I’m not just talking about weekends or vacations. Where is play in your day to day life right now? Where is it in your work? Where is it in your lifestyle? Play needs to be a part of your life, because that’s what you are wired for.
Looking at all five of these elements, passion, purpose, performance, profit, and play, most people are simply focusing on performance and profit. My friend, you need to remember that you are an athlete, you have an athlete’s DNA. You know what it’s like to be in a place of passion, that is purposeful, and you’re driven to make a difference and make an impact. You know that play is a part of your life, you’re wired for it. What is holding you back from incorporating those necessary things, and in some cases, for many of us, continuing to improve performance, and profit.
It’s important to recognize that you were not built for mediocrity, you weren’t. You wouldn’t have gotten into sports. Think about it. Did you join a team with the intention of hanging out on the bench? No, you did not. What is the reason now? Why would you, a former athlete, want to sit on the bench after sports?
Let’s get off the sidelines and into the game and these five P’s are an integral piece to make sure you have them aligned, just like you did in sport. If you’re out of sync with any of them, it’s time to invest time into it. Doing the work to identify your passion, getting clear on purpose, and really dialing in your performance metrics.
How are you measuring your success? And what does success even look like? If you’re still measuring your success off of profit, my friend, you have to reframe that. That doesn’t work anymore. Are those things important? Yes. You can’t control it.
However, you can’t control what the scoreboard says. You can control your effort, and your attitude, and how you respond when the scoreboard or profits isn’t what you want. You can control those things, but you can’t control the scoreboard. Lastly, where is play incorporated into day to day life. Because when you have all of these firing, it will bring you back to your former athletic days, and how you felt. Maybe not all the time, I understand, but the vast majority of time you performed at your peak, you did it because you had all of these five components firing. It’s time to get them set up in your own life after sports.
If I can help support you do that, go to Cletuscoffey.com/playbook to get started on your journey with us. Get you involved in our community, start learning how we can help support you with our coaching, training, masterminds, and in our groups of former athletes. Entrepreneurs are coming together to make a greater positive impact in their life than they ever did in sports. So let’s go pro. Now that sports is over, let’s really go pro and let’s make a greater impact together.
For a Better Long-Term Content Strategy, Find a Purple Audience
When the stock market is up, it doesn’t always follow that the economy is great. When the stock market crashes, it doesn’t always mean the economy is bad.
That’s as true today as it was 25 years ago when I first got into marketing. And it’s a great reminder to avoid basing business decisions on faulty connections.
Over the years, I’ve learned an adjacent lesson about content and audiences: Popularity isn’t a sign of differentiation. People don’t necessarily regard what is popular among online audiences or the media as high quality – or even true.
If you successfully chase trends and feed popular content to audiences, you have not necessarily differentiated your content. On the other hand, differentiating by taking a contrarian or highly niche view of what’s popular doesn’t always work either. How do you blend popularity and differentiation?
Red and blue ocean strategies
In their 2004 book, Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne explain red and blue ocean strategies for marketing. Red oceans are crowded markets where popular products abound and cutthroat sales and marketing strategies rule. Blue oceans are undiscovered markets with little or no competition, where businesses can create new customers or die alone.
In strategic content marketing, most businesses focus on the red oceans – offering short-term, hyper-focus feeding. They look to drive traffic, engagement, and conversions by getting the most people to consume the content. So a red-ocean strategy focuses on topics and content that have proven popular with audiences.
But this strategy makes it difficult to differentiate the content from everyone else’s.
This myopic view of content often prohibits testing the other side – investing in a blue-ocean mindset to find and create new audiences with less-popular content.
Finding a blue niche in a red world
I recently worked with a financial technology company that provides short-term loans to small businesses experiencing a cash-flow crunch. It’s as sales-driven as any team I’ve seen.
When they started, they put much of their marketing and content efforts into a blue-ocean strategy, targeting small businesses that will need a loan within a month.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Five years ago, this company wasn’t the only one to recognize the massive opportunity in fast, easily accessible, short-term lending. A red ocean of new customers who needed these loans grew in a relatively robust economy (and historically low interest rates).
The value of these loans grew from $121 million in 2013 to just over $2 billion in 2018. And competition for this audience’s attention grew, too. As short-term, low-funnel content on accessible lending saturated the market, this strategy became less and less successful because so many fintech companies pursued it.
My client’s team knew they couldn’t only count on this red-ocean audience for new business. They recognized the need to invest time in building a new audience – larger, more established, long-term borrowers.
This audience wouldn’t produce immediate lead generation. But the company wanted to diversify its product line and better support the new audience’s loan-related needs.
The genius of this strategy was teaching, targeting, and building demand for new ideas from a niche within the red audience. Put simply: They created a purple audience by targeting a blue audience within the red one.
The blue audience the team targeted consisted of fast-growing smaller businesses that would soon evolve into established, long-term borrowers. These businesses might want to know the benefits of the short-term availability of cash. The team focused the new learning content platform on teaching companies that don’t need a loan now about the benefits of having a solution at the ready when they do.
The purple audiences took time to develop. But when those audience members entered the red ocean, my client company stayed top of mind because it had bucked the popular trends and offered completely different content.
3 triggers for targeting purple audiences
Deciding to invest in cultivating a purple audience requires some thought. These three considerations can prompt the move to a different audience hue.
1. You’re ready to hedge bets on current efforts
So many companies double down on their content to the point where their strategy incorporates the same content at every stage of the customer’s journey. Why? Because everybody is talking about it.
I see some B2B marketing organizations deliver the same “why change” thought leadership content to prospects as they do their customers. Shouldn’t your customers’ needs and wants change after they purchase your solution?
Developing thought leadership you believe is important but current audiences aren’t yet thinking about can be an excellent hedge.
You shouldn’t deliver the same thought leadership to prospects AND customers. After all, your customers’ needs and wants should change after they buy.
2. You believe the consensus is wrong
Many companies fold their content marketing like a lawn chair because their content goes against the consensus. Last week, a chief marketing officer told me, “Our CEO says we can’t go out with that thought leadership message because people will disagree with us.”
You don’t have to invest the entire budget in a contrarian idea. But if you genuinely believe the world will eventually come to your point of view, build the content infrastructure that supports that opinion and experience a multiplier on the investment.
3. You see an opportunity to steal audience
Look at the most popular content, and you see all your competitors fighting over the eyeballs seeking that topic, trying to outrank everyone on search, and fighting a red ocean of potential audience members. Then, look up and ask, “What’s next?”
You might see a slight trend. Or, as my fintech client did, you may notice a niche blue audience in the red audience. Investing in that content can pull audiences from the popular content into your fledgling purple audience.
SAP’s content site The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience illustrates this concept. During the pandemic, the team, led by Jenn Vande Zande, adjusted its editorial focus to steal a segment of the red-ocean audience seeking COVID-19 coverage. Jenn and team designed the content to appeal to people looking not just for lockdown news but also for the most up-to-date practices and industry information for businesses on customer experience in the COVID-19 era.
SAP created a purple audience.
As a marketer, you should think about new audiences. How can you address them with content that may not be widely popular now but can help them better prepare for what you believe is coming tomorrow?
That’s a better question to answer for long-term content marketing success.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute