Having A Plan B and Taking The Side Door to Your Dream

* This cool thing about writing for yourself is you can always take an inventory and go back to check on your progress. I do blog about sports, but a lot of my writing here is therapeutic. And if my experiences resonate with my supporters, then we all win! *

When I was preparing for my move, I sat down to write a specific set of goals that I wanted to accomplish in the next 3 years. For me, they were realistic and timely. When you get in the habit of planning too far ahead, it leaves so much room for distractions and manipulation of time.

1 of the goals in my 3-year plan was to get certified as a Player-Agent in the NBA. I went to school and studied marketing, while minoring in an online sports management program. Whenever I did an internship or had the opportunity to shadow someone who was where I wanted to be, I made sure to always obtain their contact information to follow-up later on. By the time I graduated, corporate branding was beginning to shift into cross promotions; athletes were now household names aligned with entertainment and lifestyle brands. Though, it wasn’t until I worked for the Lakers that my passion to become an agent was solidified.

I saw the endless hours he worked and how he championed for his client. Though he was only a few years older than me, he commanded respect anytime he came to team meetings and practices. When I asked him what would it take to be certified by the league as an agent, his answer stunned me – “Fill out the application, make sure you have a friend in a high place, and hope for the best.”

Not quite the response I was looking for. Nonetheless, I filled out the rigorous application and sent it in accompanied by stellar letters of recommendation. Suddenly at 28 years old, I felt like that anxious 17 year old awaiting the mailbox to be overflowing. Weeks turned into months. The seasons changed and I still hadn’t heard anything. Then a few days before the NBA season was to start, I got a big white envelope. Giddy with anticipation, I tore through the paper. Only to be met with “you’re not ready” (that’s the paraphrased version)

Fast forward to 8 months ago. I had more experience. I had some international wheeling and dealing under my belt. I had developed genuine partnerships with a few of the younger, more innovative agents in the association. I had to be accepted into the brotherhood now! There was no way I’d get rejected again. But I did.

“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.”

I can’t say I was angry or sad. I was thankful that my plan B had always sustained me. No matter how much effort and money I had put into my plan A of becoming an agent, my plan B of having a job in my field never failed me. In fact, my last 2 jobs have been at sports agencies in their marketing departments. That’s a pretty good consolation career. Having that knowledge and being diligent at the craft of networking has lead me to this point in my career.

I forgot who originally said it (because people stay stealing quotes), but there’s a ideology that basically says if you have a plan B, you’ll never be able to put enough time into your plan A. Well, there’s plenty of people who’ve had to take the side-door to get to their ultimate goal. You can go to the right school, know the right people, do the right things and still fail at reaching your plan A. The 1 thing I’ve learned working in this industry is that many times when you keep hearing “no”, it’s because you’re not asking the right person. Sure in business, there’s a hierarchy that you’re supposed to follow. You don’t just walk up to a senior agent and pitch him while he’s waiting for the elevator. However, if you really want to reach a goal that’s surrounded by red tape, you have to consider a unique approach. Sometimes the recipe for your success has to be the perfect marriage of opportunity, preparation, and fearlessness.

How do you handle rejection or delayed progress when it comes to something you’re worked so hard for? Any advice on how to keep persevering?

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