Photo Post #3: Talking To The Next Generation

Every successful person has had to experience a life of hell before he or she “made” it. I’ve had my own share of ups and down. But today I did something that allowed me to be open about the career I choose.

A friend of mine read my eBook (which you can check out by clicking the link in the upper hand corner, shameless plug) and sent it over to one of the professors to his school’s sports management department. After a series of emails, I was extended the opportunity to be a speaker in front of the one of the marketing courses. Although sports management has become a popular major to study in the last decade, Syracuse University is 1 of the few top universities that has a comprehensive program. What I also learned upon further research is that David Falk, a Syracuse alum, is the benefactor to the program.

Who is David Falk? He was Michael Jordan’s agent. There would be no Jordan brand if it weren’t for David Falk. So to put it bluntly, this was a huge freaking opportunity for me!

I spent about 2 weeks debating on what I should cover. Sports marketing is a vast field. Every sport is different in its integration. For example, franchise football players seldom get their own signature shoe yet that’s a given for marquee NBA players. After consulting with the professor, my homey, and others whose knowledge I trust, I decided to develop my presentation strictly around basketball. I’ve been observing and studying marketing trends in the NBA for years. Even my knowledge of the field didn’t curb the anxiety I had around speaking in front of a group of students. I’ve done marketing pitches and sat in on meetings with NBA executives. That was my comfort zone. This? A different beast! When I asked more experienced speakers for tips, they all said the same thing — when you speak about your passion, people will walk away inspired.

And that’s pretty much what happened.

The students had a lot of great questions about everything from how marketing pitches are put together to how social media and technology has helped evolve earlier models. I felt like the students learned things from me that they wouldn’t be able to fully grasp in a classroom setting. More importantly, I learned that when it comes to your career, you shouldn’t be apprehensive to try something new.

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The last time I was in Syracuse, it was in the middle of a snowstorm. This time around it was raining off and on, but the sun was out at least. I did have a chance to walk the campus with my boy. I even got to hit up this waffle spot he’s mentioned far too often for me to count. [After this visit, SU is now on my short list of schools I’d be happy with my son or daughter attending.]

Being able to recap this experience has given me more appreciation for what I do. There’s much more I’d like to do and be a part of professionally. Talking to a room full of students who share my excitement about sports marketing is one of them.

No matter what you do or how high you go, appreciate your journey for what it is. Your success is meaningless without sharing the story behind it.

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