From my experience in the professional space, I find that although people LOVE professional athletes and admire us, it is always hard to be taken seriously beyond the sport. I've always said sports is the universal language of empowerment, unless you are actually an athlete then somehow your voice and experiences seem to matter less.
In my pursuit to compete professionally on both the world stage and in the corporate setting, I have had to consistently work twice as hard as my counterparts (non-athletes) to prove I deserve to be in that space—even with an Ivy league education and impressive resume of accomplishments. Don't get me wrong, there are many people in these spaces who clearly see my work ethic and value my ability to transfer my skill set but for most people it is impossible to see me as equally capable at both—and at the highest level. I experienced this as a student-athlete at Columbia as well, despite my academic accomplishments (Capital One Academic All-American) the moment someone found out I was also one of the top athletes in the NCAA for my event (4-time NCAA All-American), I somehow became less capable of being a great student in their eyes.
Over the years however, I have learned that not everyone will see my value and or appreciate my talent. That said, that shouldn't affect how big I dream and my drive to do more and do it well. There are people out there like myself who are multi-talented and able to succeed at the highest level in various things simultaneously and we should not be faulted for that simply because of someone else's inability to see that it is in fact possible. Thoughts?
@Imani Oliver @Akua Obeng-Akrofi @Ashley Kelly