This time of year is always bittersweet for me. On the one hand, lots of newly licensed NFLPA contract advisors are celebrating passing their exams and getting a chance to finally sink their teeth into their dreams. It’s fun to walk with them as they learn the ropes of a new business.

On the other hand, well, there’s this:

  • “I am . . . sitting here looking at the October insurance invoice for $1,400 due by October 1 praying for some guidance on which way to go. Decision time.”
  • “I don’t want to be a part of this culture/celebration of violence anymore. Thanks for all your help, I would have never made it as far as I did without you.”
  • “Just wanted to let you know that I have taken a job as an in-house lawyer with a company up here in Cleveland. They aren’t going to permit me to continue with the NFL stuff, which kinda sucks, but oh well.”
  • “It’s a bummer because we love it, but the opportunity cost is rough to ignore.”

It’s hard to hear this when you’ve worked alongside someone for a year or years, and they are closing the door on a chapter of their lives, however brief. However, I rarely if ever try to talk people out of this decision. Honestly, deep down, I’m often happy when I hear them say these things.

This business is hard, and it’s not for everyone. There are lots and lots of success stories, but there are far more that don’t end so well. If you’ve pursued a career as an NFL agent or tried to be an NFL scout, you’ve come to know and understand the sacrifices, financial and personal, that you’ll have to make. Anyone who takes an eyes-wide-open look at these sacrifices and decides it’s not for them is way better off than the ones who keep hoping for the best in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s not that I’m saying you shouldn’t take chances. Far from it, in fact. It’s just that the mere fact of taking that faith leap to chase your dreams is a pretty considerable risk in itself, and measuring risk is part of life. Part of success is knowing when to quit and move on to another venture. Who can argue with someone when they’ve determined that they’ve given all they can give?

I often say that people only leave this business feet first — on their shields, so to speak — but it doesn’t have to be that way. I guess that’s my pitch, as a consultant in this business. Give it your very best effort, and I humbly feel that using ITL maximizes your chances for success. But if it’s not happening, and you’ve counted the cost, understand that there are other dreams you can pursue. There’s no shame in laying one dream down to chase another.