When I was a junior at Lehigh I had breakfast with Bill Griffin. Bill was a rockstar basketball alumnus that was doing well in the business world and would offer his time to help mentor guys like me who sometimes had trouble getting out of their own way.
Over breakfast, Bill and I talked about the balance of academics, basketball and beginning to think about careers. He used this vivid metaphor that always stuck with me. He talked about the work of an emergency room doctor. When you are in a busy emergency room, doctors fly from patient to patient. Things are busy. Things are noisy. There are countless distractions. And the stakes are high. People don’t go to the ER because they are having a good day. Yet, the best ER doctor blocks it all out. When they are with that patient, there is simply nothing more important. They are focused.
With GTG, we have the opportunity to work with thousands of student-athletes. One thing that amazes me is how busy their schedules have become. They manage class, studying, study table, meals, strength and conditioning, practice, travel, games, meetings, coaches, advisors, professors, fans, friends, – they have a lot on their plate. And oh by the way, they are 18-23 years old.
I have been lucky to get to know some these individuals personally and I always admire how much they accomplish given all that is on their plate. They manage themselves and their days like ER docs – they live in the moment with great intensity and focus. When they lift weights, they are 100 percent immersed in lifting weights. When they study, they are 100 percent immersed in studying.
When people ask me what allows student-athletes to transition to the workforce so well, I always say there is no silver bullet but there are countless lead ones. That said, if I had to quantify those things that help condition the student-athlete for real-world success, I would start with how the student-athlete manages their day.
Student-athletes are very impressive with all that is asked of them, all they accomplish and how well they perform. My personal belief is it is an amazing training ground to become world ready.
“Concentrate all of your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Alexander Graham Bell – the inventor of the telephone.