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You are more than your job

Hi friends,

It's Sam! Meghan and I were recently asked to speak at the Drexel Sports Business Conference to share about the importance of mental health. The day focused on mental health not just for athletes, but also for professionals within the industry so I wanted to take this blog post to dive deeper into the day because I've noticed an increasing trend in our member meetings. We're frequently asked about work-life balance in sports, pivotal moments of stress, the importance of a support system, shifts in the industry, and finding the right fit. Prioritizing mental health of professionals is becoming increasingly relevant, especially for the younger generation entering the industry. 

The conference featured Tim Massaquoi, a licensed therapist and former NFL player, as the keynote speaker. In this remarks, Tim shared his journey, focusing on how his own personal struggles shaped his work with athletes. He recounted how a career-ending injury left him feeling lost and disconnected. It was only after this setback that he realized he had wrapped his entire identity around being an NFL player. Beyond athletics, he struggled to define himself, his values, and his purpose. Reflecting on Tim's story, I found parallels in my professional journey and thought If I've experienced these feelings, surely others in the industry have faced similar challenges.

Reflecting on my time with the Red Sox, and even before that, I realized how consumed I was by my career. Since college, I've been driven to work in sports, fully aware of the challenges ahead. Whether it was attending classes, working for College GameDay, covering UNC men's basketball, or constantly networking, I let the pursuit of my career consume me entirely. When I finally landed a dream job with the Red Sox, history repeated itself—I allowed work to dominate every aspect of my life. I had no personal time outside of work, and even on rare days off, I stayed in bed all day due to sheer exhaustion. My routine became a monotonous cycle of work, sleep, and repeat. Of course, I know my experience is different from those of NFL players like Tim, but I can empathize with their sense of being wholly absorbed by your profession. Just like Tim and countless others, my job became not just a part of my life but my entire identity. Beyond sports, I lacked hobbies, a consistent routine, or any semblance of balance. It's part of the reason I was so worried about leaving.

I’ve previously shared about my time at the Red Sox, so you know how the story goes. However, as the conversation around prioritizing mental health in the professional world becomes increasingly prevalent, I felt compelled to write this blog. I want to assure anyone else who may be feeling this way that they aren't alone. While working in sports can offer incredible experiences, it's crucial to remember that you are more than your job. Your well-being should never be sacrificed for your career. Regardless of where you are in your professional journey, it's essential to carve out time each day to prioritize yourself and seek balance in your life. Be patient with yourself; finding this balance won't happen overnight, and that's perfectly okay! Surround yourself with a supportive network and identify values outside of work. You are worth more than your job title! And always remember, you are awesome and you belong here. 

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