How to Talk to Your Family About Your Aspiring Sports Career

thanksgiving and your sports careerThanksgiving is upon us and while there is the promise of a full slate of football games and some tryptophan-induced naps, you may also have some anxiety about facing a gaggle of family members who feel it is their right to pry into the inner workings of your life.

Most of your family lives vicariously through your facebook feed – keeping up with you through your myriad of memes, hot sports takes and what’s for dinner posts.

Now is their chance to look you in the eyes and put you on the spot.

They’ll boldly ask about your relationships. They’ll inquire about your thoughts on the election. They’ll push for information about your career. (Jeez, I’m making myself anxious just thinking about it.)

The time is now to prepare yourself for what will surely come.

Step 1: Be Prepared to Give Them Something Juicy

The turkey may be dry and overcooked (like mine is most years) so the burden is on you to provide the family something juicy. Stay away from politics, there is no winning that game. Instead, lean into something everyone can think positively about – your career progress.

Be ready with a story of success from work or school.

Happy career stories make family members feel warmer on the inside than the Blackberry Brandy Aunt Kate’s been doubling up on all afternoon. They care about you and want to know you aren’t on the path to homelessness.

But what do you do if you don’t like your current job and can’t find anything positive to say about it? Instead of making something up that sounds ridiculous like, I just remodeled my cubicle and it feels much more spacious, give them a sneak peek of where you are headed.

Here’s the dialogue you need to master:

“Well, I’m not overly satisfied with my job right now, it neither challenges or excites me. In fact, I recognized a few months back that I needed to make a change and pursue something I love. I love sports, it energizes me, I can read about it, think about it and study it all day without getting tired. It’s my true calling, so I’ve decided to take some sports business related courses through Sports Management Worldwide starting in December”

Now that’s juicy.  

Step 2: Explain Why This Isn’t Crazy

Now comes the tricky part – you just woke up Uncle Fred, who has always loved sports but didn’t have the guts to pursue it as a career. He slogged through his non-descript career for a few decades, watching sports at night and on the weekends, always assuming it was just for fun while work was work.

Uncle Fred and others will question how real a career in sports can be – you’ve got their attention, now you need to crush them with data!

  • The sports industry is a trillion-dollar global industry, generating more revenue than the restaurant, auto and real estate industries combined.
  • There are thousands of different sports careers available, ranging from scouting to operations to event management and sales.
  • The sports industry is recession-proof, in 2008 during the great recession The Economist stated, “Sports are, by and large, standing up to recession better than most other industries.”

Throw data at them like this and you’re going to have a crowd hanging on your every word.

You also need to be specific about what you are going to learn. We offer 25 different 8-week online courses in subjects like Sports Analytics, Athlete Management, Basketball Scouting and Soccer Management. We have Masters and Doctorate degree courses. We have career conferences 8-times per year with the leading sports industry minds.

We can teach you what you need to know and we can help convince your family you are (finally) on a career path that excites you.

Step 3: Help them Help You

Your family wants to help so let them, they just might have the connection you need. Your instincts may tell you that your family hasn’t worked in sports so they couldn’t possibly help, but what you are missing is the fact traditional businesses interact in the sports world daily.

Your cousin Mark may work for a boring old accounting firm, but if this company bought ad space or naming rights at the local minor league baseball park he may be connected to people on staff.

Or maybe your Uncle Buck’s college roommate is now an executive with an NBA team – you don’t know who your family is friends with until you ask. So don’ be shy, ask for help, ask them to think about who they know and how they are connected to the industry you love. You’re getting the right education now, so you’ll be prepared to make them proud.

Step 4: When All Else Fails…

Pretend to be asleep…for a long, long time.  (And dream of the sports career you’ve always wanted)

dr. Lynn LashbrookAbout the Author: Dr. Lynn Lashbrook is the President and Founder of Sports Management Worldwide, the first ever online sports management school with a mission to educate future sports business executives.

Dr. Lashbrook has been involved in the sports industry for over 40 years and is a respected voice in the industry, having contributed to ESPN, Comcast SportsNet, Forbes, SiriusXM, CNBC, Rugby World, The New York Times, the London Free Press, Yahoo Sports and many more. 

As a certified NFL agent, Dr. Lashbrook has represented over 100 NFL clients, including former 1st rounder Mark Fields, 9-time Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins and Miami Dolphins Quarterback Matt Moore. He is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher, known for helping students strategize ways to reach their career goals in the world of sports.