The world we live in is changing rapidly as it pertains to how we will experience politics, culture, sports, and, equally as important, our work and professions. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and now COVID-19, to name a few, are all driving what the future of work will look like for athletes after they transition to a profession after sports.

Athletes cannot, regardless of their chosen sport, hide from the technological innovation that is happening in the industries that are waiting for them when their career ends. This technological change not only shapes how athletes will work after sports, but when combined with political, social, and global demands, will impact where they work, how they will be compensated, and their ability to succeed within their desired profession. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, McKinsey Global Institute estimated that between 400 million to 800 million individuals would be displaced by automation by the year 2030 and would need to find new jobs. These shifts in technology all contribute to what has been called Industry 4.0, or rather The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which was first introduced by Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The Challenge

The major disadvantage many athletes face when it comes to achievement planning is using old-world methodologies and frameworks of thinking without considering the threats that may prevent them from reaching their desired outcomes. As the pace of technology continues to change professions, the approach to crafting a successful life after sports within the new world economy also needs to change if athletes want to reach their professional potential.

Understanding The Future

One thing that is essential for every athlete, regardless of your level of competition, is being aware of the thought leaders within the industries you have an interest in participating within on any level. If you are an athlete planning to enter the eSports sector after your sports career, what are thought leaders saying about the trends you need to follow that are impacting eSports?

If you are planning to build a real estate business, what are the future needs of buyers and sellers as it relates to the real estate transaction or real estate assets? What shifts are happening within the market surrounding your collegiate or professional team?

If you are planning to work in the restaurant or hospitality sector, what will the future demand of the hospitality sector? What emerging technologies, driven by the pandemic, can you invest in to be part of shaping the future of hospitality?

Each of these sectors has thought leaders that forecast the direction of these industries.

To position yourself as a leading candidate for the role of your dreams, or as a leading entrepreneur in your chosen sector after sports, it is important to understand who the leading thought leaders are in your current and desired sector, what they are thinking, and what leadership are they providing your potential clients, business partners, or employers.

Personal Innovation

As you seek opportunities that are in alignment with your personal and professional goals, you must consider ways to differentiate yourself as a candidate or entrepreneur. Being a former athlete can be a differentiator in certain respects, but doesn’t always translate to being an advantage. This differentiation, I believe, cannot rely exclusively upon traditional education or your previous experience as an athlete, but should also include your ability to build human capital, understand technological change, and operate within a philosophy of work that enables you to thrive in Industry 4.0.

To begin your journey of personal innovation, here are a few questions to consider as you determine the direction you want to go personally and professionally:

What are your values?

How will you integrate your values with your work?

Who do you want your work or values to impact the most from a professional perspective?

What industry or industries will you pursue, and what direction is that industry going?

How will you integrate the people you want to have an impact on into your work?

What skills do you need to strengthen to prepare for technological change?

What type of professionals do you need to add to your network?

What former athletes do you respect and what industries are they operating in after sports?

Answering these questions will help you not only gain clarity on why you’re pursuing your chosen profession, but will allow you to gain the knowledge, skills, and differentiation needed to thrive while also achieving your most important outcomes and goals beyond sports.

If you are an athlete that has questions about designing your Philosophy of Work, let’s talk!