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Honest Advice for Recently Retired Athletes

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 Advice from the Canadian Olympian herself, Karina LeBlanc. We love this tip because it's true. Just as with anything in sport, school, or life - PREPARATION IS KEY! And if you think ahead, and mentally prepare yourself for what's to come, it can make the transition so much easier for you.

Tip- Reach out to other recent graduates & pick their brain on their tips for transitioning into the working world! You will learn so much & it will help you prepare your next steps.

AMEN! We often label ourselves as "female athletes" or "soccer players" and pigeon hole ourselves into one identity. You can also be an artist, a businesswoman, a singer, a dancer, a poet, etc. There is so much more to YOU and your TALENTS that you may not have explored yet because of your life long dedication to the sport. So when you leave soccer (and graduate), that does not mean you're worthless. This means more doors are opening to you & there is more opportunity and *free time* to learn more about YOU and your passions. There is more to you than just being a "soccer girl"!

That being said...heck yes you can bring along those wonderful athletic attributes into the real world! Just because you stopped playing, doesn't mean your work ethic, hard work, time management & communication & team moral skills, that competitive edge and more just *POOF* DISAPPEAR!? Heck no. Playing soccer your whole life has prepared you for tackling a real job & the real world. Never lose those parts of you!

YES, YES, YES! You are moving into a new chapter in your life where you do not NEED to stay in tip top shape (unless you want to) It's important to really welcome this season of your life with open arms & find new ways of moving that you enjoy, like hiking, marathon running, walking, bowling, spikeball, whatever you love to do! 

YAAAAAS! Although you will notice drifting a part from some teammates, you don't have to! Make an effort to keep them in a group texting chat, share hilarious memories from time to time or schedule get-togethers or trips together! Your teammates are your friends for life - regardless if you see them daily or if you see them every few years - You will always pick up where you left off.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are hundreds of thousands of retired athletes who have been in your shoes and guess what...they GET it. Join support groups, communicate with others, never be afraid to connect with someone to chat about what you're going through. They might have some incredible advice for you that can help your transition into the real world that much easier!

Your WORTH is not defined by achieving something like wwMVP or even an All-American award. We need to stop defining our identity and self-worth by our educational and career achievements. You are so much more than that (a great person, supportive sister, loving girlfriend, selfless friend and more.) Perhaps you've made a monumental difference in someone's life..and just because you didn't get an award on paper doesn't take that away from you! 

Join a soccer league, or fan club, or work dodgeball team - Whatever you do, don't lose that competitive edge! You will quickly remember how much fun it is to be a part of a team & strive for a common goal... to win games! This also can help you get to know your coworkers so much better.

REMINDER ALERT - If you are still playing & you have games left...please savor every moment you have left of the game! It's truly something that we wish we never took for granted. You will even miss the hardest fitness tests & getting yelled at by coach. Trust us, take it all in and enjoy the ride!

This has got to be one of the hardest transitions for us. You go from being in the best shape of your life, to working 9-5 at a desk job with no time to spare for healthy eating or exercise. It's hard. We're not going to sugar coat that. However, it's also in your control to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF STILL! If you notice that you're gaining weight or you're not feeling like your old self - give yourself some compassion.

Look at how many changes you just went through in such a short amount of time!? Then reflect on what you CAN do from there. Can you meal-prep & eat healthier? Can you get more sleep? Can you wake up earlier to get a 30 min workout in before work?

The answer is yes! You can! We are living proof that you can still maintain a healthy balance of exercise to feel GOOD in your skin. 

IT'S EASY FOR US TO DISTRACT OURSELVES TO AVOID OUR PAIN! This comes in form of overexercising, constantly needing to be around friends, shopping for things we don't need, and more. You can SLOW DOWN and do....nothing. I know it sounds crazy because we've never had a single MINUTE to just do nothing while playing soccer but now we have time to do that. Practice doing nothing. Practice slowing down. Practice this like you would practice with a ball. This is a new mindset you need to teach yourself and with repetition it'll get easier & easier. 

 

LOVE THIS TIP! You can stay in your sport by simply coaching the sport. It's the best way to stay in the team atmosphere & share all the years of amazing information you've learned about the game with others. It's kinda like a dream job! If you don't coach, join a fan club! It is so much fun (check out American Outlaws)

YESSSSS! You'll know when you are working for a company that does not spark joy. It does not mean that you have to stay with that company. You can explore other avenues & try other roles or shop around for other companies until you find one that aligns with your passions, values and joys. You just have to keep looking! 

There is NO shame in hiring outside help! WE ALL DO! A professional can help make your transition from athlete to employee that much better. When you feel like you have someone you can talk to, it can make the world of a difference. 

 

You really are...don't ever forget it. Welcome to this new season of life. 

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