The Biggest Skill I've Mastered Since Becoming an [Amateur] Post-Collegiate Athlete
October 8, 2015
Resourcefulness. No, I’m still not a professional athlete, but I now consider myself a professional at utilizing resources and skilfully dealing with new challenges. To be blunt, I’ve resourcefullnessed (not a word, but I like it) the sh*t out of my life lately, and I know that the use of this skill is the only way I will be able to continue to do what I love to do.
I knew this journey would get harder once I graduated university, but I don’t think knew how hard. I thought the hardest part would be missing the collegiate experience. To be honest, that’s been the easy part. This isn’t saying that I don’t miss my teammates and all the exciting (or even mundane) aspects of university life, but I’m enjoying the change of routine that my new journey brings. It helps of course that I have closure. I got absolutely everything I could have ever dreamed out of my university experience, so I’m happy to say that it’s been relatively easy for me to forge ahead with this new chapter.
The hardest part has been figuring out how I’m going to make this work financially. The first few weeks were hard. I would frantically search for jobs all day every day, frustrated to the point of tears and feeling bitter knowing that I’m stuck between two worlds: not in a position to have a full-time job in my field of study, but also not at a point in my athletic career to have the funding that would allow me to simply train full time. Those weeks were tough. A lot of tears, a lot of doubts, a lot of “it’s going to be fine”‘s from my loved ones.
One day I came across this quote: “The universe is so well balanced that the mere fact that you have a problem also serves as a sign that there is a solution.” Solutions exist, in fact they always do. I just needed to work hard to find them. Cue: resourcefulness!
It started with small decisions. This included going through my apartment and deciding what items I didn’t need anymore, and then selling them. Simple enough, right? I could let my DVD collection from high school sit on my TV stand collecting dust or, I could sell them and make enough money for a weeks’ worth of groceries – done!
Midway through September I was still having a hard time finding a job that would be right for me. I’ll admit that I was being picky, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Having a job that makes me miserable would not be conducive to me being the best athlete I could be, so I knew that I had to hold out for the right position. It was excruciatingly stressful. Time is money, and the longer I waited to find the right job, the more money I wasn’t making. I did a lot of research on job hunting and landing the perfect job. I polished up my resume. I sent, probably, over 100 emails in the course of 2 weeks, desperately trying to put myself out there to companies that weren’t even necessarily hiring. I made sure every person I knew was aware that I was looking for a job. I knew that the process could be long. I decided I needed to stick it out with temporary positions that I wasn’t exactly passionate about until finding something long-term. As if the universe was rewarding me for doing whatever it took to stay afloat, I found the right long term job just a few days into a temporary week-long stint making corndogs at a local fair. The corn-dog gig was great, by the way. I was a natural.
Once I had the job situation figured out, I started searching for ways I can save money. A pass to park at the facility that I train would run me over $400 for the year. I knew I needed to find a way around it. I started contacting businesses that are near the facility to see if they would let me park on their premise for free (“Seeking sponsorship in the form of a parking space” is probably the strangest email subject line I will ever type). Eventually, I was put in contact with the right person and my parking woes were gone. I have learned that sometimes all you have to do is ask, because there’s always kind-hearted people out there who are willing to help you out.
Another thing that I have been doing is honing in on my strengths and using them to my advantage. I sold a few canvas paintings. I’m going to be a vendor at an upcoming craft sale selling homemade greeting cards (wish me luck). I emailed over 50 different sports clubs in London advertising myself as a guest speaker to attend their banquets or functions.
There are solutions to all challenges, but you can’t always expect those solutions to present themselves. Some challenges require you to get outside of your comfort zone and think outside the box. I know that challenges will continue to arise as I move forwards – this is inevitable. I know this journey will continue to stress the hell out of me, but at the end of the day it is extremely rewarding knowing that I’m doing all that I can to fund the chance to pursue my dreams. What better investment could I ever make?
Wouldn’t. Change. A. Thing.
Your corn-doggin’, guest speakin’, card makin’ curlin’ instructor,