On the surface at least, being a professional athlete is a pretty decent life-style – making money doing what you’re good at, being surrounded by a strong support organization and playing to the appreciation of loyal fans.
Of course there’s all shades to that reality – and for many athletes – even the great ones – life at center ice can be short. The average career lifespan in pro sports is only 3 years!
Few CEO’s launch into the prime-time spotlight in their teens or young twenties the way many athletes do. But when they get there – the life of the CEO can be a pretty good one too.
So, is it much different for an athlete or CEO when their high profile role comes to an end? The answer is yes – and no.
Key difference – CEO’s tend to be older with broader experience, including business. For many athletes, their focus from a very young age has been their sport. They lack the experiential well-roundedness of a successful business person.
Key similarity – few CEO’s or athletes simply want to fade into a life of cottaging and golf. Most want and frequently require the stimulation and income that comes from a post-career gig.
So how to succeed post sports, post CEO? This is where athletes – and CEO’s will relate on the same level – as successful athletes and successful business people: 1) by defining a game plan 2) getting coaching 3) joining a team 4) learning from mistakes and 5) keeping score.
The post-corporate, post-athlete life is all part of the game.