I try to be encouraging in this space. On Monday, when I talked about knowing when to quit, though I was honest, maybe I wasn’t so encouraging. Today, here’s a bit more encouragement.

I work with four AFL teams. I help them locate players, find their contact info, identify their agents, etc. Finding players is not so hard, but finding good players can be quite challenging. So, one of the teams I work with is an expansion team going into Las Vegas next spring, and I have a friend who will not only be running personnel for the team (the Outlaws) but also helping coach, along with a number of other things. Pretty much, on the AFL side of football, “a number of other things” is always part of your job responsibilities.

So here’s his story. For the last three years, he was with an AFL team, handling personnel and working on the offensive side of the ball. However, his goal was to have a greater role in personnel and, best-case scenario, scout for an NFL team. Given his desire to reach his goals, he saved a bunch of money, then left the team he was working for after last season in an effort to ‘burn his ships’ and sink or swim. I helped him get his name in with a couple NFL teams this spring, but we both knew it wouldn’t be easy finding the right opportunity. Sometime this summer I lost track of him.

Anyway, this week, he contacted me to tell me of his new venture. Obviously, I was excited for him, and I can tell he’s really pumped up by this opportunity. I mean, the chance to launch something, to really put your imprint on a new team, is not only rare but super-cool. I’m psyched that (a) he’s back in the game, (b) we’re back in touch, and (c) he’s got a new, awesome opportunity.

So here’s my point. My friend knew he wanted a new opportunity, so he socked away his money and went for it. He didn’t get his No. 1 pick (working as an NFL scout) this time, but he did get something almost as good: the chance to have a foundation role with a new team.

First, pay your dues. Then, follow your dreams. Be smart about it, but do it. You won’t be sorry. It might not always happen the way you want it to, and you might not get the exact thing you want, but knowing you’re chasing the one thing you always wanted to do, well, there’s just nothing else like it.

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