Yesterday I was meeting with a gentleman in the financial industry. He’s super-wealthy and has been able to accomplish more than probably anyone I know when it comes to creating financial resources. I think that’s great and I have tremendous respect for that.
Given the choice, who wouldn’t want to be wealthy? And who knows? Maybe I’ll be wealthy one day, too. It would be a wonderful way to make a positive impact on the people I love and a whole lot more people, too.
On the other hand, great wealth is not a priority for me. Maybe it’s because of my middle-class upbringing. Maybe it’s because I care far more about changing people’s lifestyles and attitudes. I guess I’ve always felt that money would take care of itself if I succeeded.
I don’t travel in the corridors of power that lead to true wealth. To do that, I would have had to map a very different path for my life. Maybe you did that at a young age, but my guess is that if you are reading this blog, simply making big money as quickly as possible is not your primary goal. Anyway, I hope that’s the case.
Here’s the thing. If you get into this business, whether on the scouting side or the agent side (the two paths I write most about), you’re going to have to be satisfied with the things I really value, the things that attracted me to the business. No. 1, it’s the game. Football is special to me. It offers the violence, aggression, passion, athleticism and other qualities that I want in my life. No. 2, and it’s a pretty close second, is camaraderie. The shared sacrifice, the blood and sweat of the game, is just something people in the business understand. There’s a shared respect.
What’s more, I’ve never seen the gaps in racial harmony in sports that I’ve seen in the rest of my life. If I roll through the names in my phone, it’s probably close to 50-50 black to white. I can’t speak for others, obviously, but I can’t think of one time my black friends (agents, coaches, scouts, players) treated me differently, talked to me differently, or otherwise treated me with kid gloves because we were different races. Can you find that in other businesses? Maybe, but I think sports comes as close to crossing that chasm as any other business does. It’s just a brotherhood.
No. 3 would have to be the direct impact you can have on lives. So many young men and their families have expressed deep appreciation for what I would consider little things I’ve provided — tips, advice, counsel, introductions, whatever. I’m fortunate enough to be able to make a living doing this, but it’s awfully rewarding to be able to help others in a substantial way.
So this is my point: if you’re going to go the distance in this business, great wealth may not come your way. Getting rich quick doesn’t usually happen in this business. Be ready to accept this, and value the good things that do come with it. At the same time, don’t apologize if you don’t value what the world may greatly value.