I’ve always tried to be encouraging when I can in this space. We all have dreams, and plenty of people that discourage us from that dream. You don’t need someone else telling you you can’t do it, especially if your passion is like mine, to work in the football business.
However, last week, I saw this short video, and it made me think I need to make myself a little clearer.
If you want to be an NFL player, or a scout, or an agent, or a member of a football team’s administration, that’s great. But I urge you to understand when it’s time to maybe deviate a little from your goal. Follow your passion, but don’t be stubborn about it.
In the video, TV personality Mike Rowe discusses a septic tank cleaner he once profiled for his show, ‘Dirty Jobs.’ This wealthy owner of a sanitation business — literally, a dirty job — told Rowe that he looked to see which direction everyone else was going, and he went in the opposite direction. That’s pretty much my story, too.
When my buddy, Troy, and I launched our draft service, Lone Star Football, back in ’98, it’s fair to say that our unspoken agendas were to be recognized by an NFL team and hired as scouts. After four years, that didn’t happen, so I retooled. I basically went in the direction that was opposite everyone else. Even today, when I try to describe what I do, the person I’m speaking with kind of squints his eyes, then asks, ‘so you’re an agent?’ My job doesn’t fit neatly into a traditional role like scouting, or recruiting, or negotiating contracts. But that’s OK, because enough people get it that I’ve been able to make it into my business and support my family with it, and by God’s grace, we continue to grow.
This message is true even if you reach your one true passion, be it scouting or working as an agent or whatever. In my business, I work with several ex-scouts. One, in particular, got let go by a team a few years ago, and really struggled for a while before coming to the realization that he couldn’t sulk about not finding work. He had to find another way to make money, at least in the short run, realizing that scouting isn’t an entitlement. He got rehired by a team, but when the end came (again), he was ready, and already had an alternate profession. He’s thriving now because he was willing to face facts and live in the real world.
Today’s message is not meant to dissuade you from joining me in the football business (and I want to help you!). However, I want you to remember that if you go too far down a road that’s clearly too heavily trafficked, find a different path that gets you where you ultimately want to be. If that one gets too busy, try another one. Keep on looking until you find the one that best suits you and that people will pay you to do. That’s where your passion will really be rewarded.