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05.23

What’s in your next chapter?!

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annika-sorenstam-pregnantHave you ever thought about changing gears?   We continually strive for more – playing at the top of our game, being the best we can be, striving to get to the top.    We want to sell more, make more,  do more, be more.   And not just in our careers.   We go out  and break 90 on the golf course,  and return the next day to try to break 85.    We had $10M in Sales in 2009 — and shoot for $15M in 2010.

It’s contagious.  The more we achieve, the more we want to achieve.

So how do you define ‘retirement’?   I call it ‘betterment’.    Changing gears allowing  us to do something that perhaps we hadn’t before considered.  Along the lines of the ‘Blue Ocean’ theory.   Retirement doesn’t have to mean stopping.   In fact, I like to think of it as starting.   Bettering.  Growing in a new direction.   Creating new opportunities.

Forbes Magazine put together this list of pro-athletes who retired in their prime.     Each still a legend and each taking the opportunity to grow in a new direction.    Works for me.

What’s in your next chapter?   Worth thinking about.  Have a look …

Bobby Jones: Five time winner of the US Amateur,  4- time winner of the US Open and winner of 3 British Opens, Bobby retired at age 28.   He remains the only golfer ever to win all four major championships in the same year, the famous “Grand Slam of Golf.”   Bobby went on to design the Augusta National Course with Alistair MacKensie.

Jim Brown: Best known for his record setting nine-year football career as a running back for the Cleveland Browns.  He was named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever.  He later went on to become a successful actor.

Barry Sanders:   Hall of famer Barry Sanders was Detroit’s first round draft pick in 1989.  He had an electrifying running style and was the first player to rush for 1000 yards his first ten seasons with the Lions.  He was the first or second team All-NFL each of his ten seasons.

Sandy Koufax:  Hall of famer Sandy Koufax was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball and was often  referred to as ‘the man with the golden arm’.    Breaking many records, he was also famous for refusing to pitch on Yom Kippur.   Sandy retired young as he was plagued with arthritis but went on to broadcast baseball games and sell real estate.

Michael Jordan:  Michael Jordon is thought of as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  A phenomenal athlete combining grace, speed, power, artistry and improvisational ability, Jordan redefined what is thought of as the NBA superstar.  His accomplishments would fill this entire blog.  Post-basketball,  Jordan is an active businessman and major owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Justine Hennin:  Justine is a professional Belgian tennis player.  She won 42 WTA singles titles and 7 Grand Slam titles.  She also won the singles gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics.  Retiring in 2008 at age 26,  she opened her own tennis academy and became involved in two Belgian reality shows.

Pat Tillman:  Pat Tillman was an NFL  football player for the Arizona Cardinals.   In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks,  Tillman left his professional sports career and enlisted in the army.    He was killed by friendly fire in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Annika Sorenstam:  A Swedish professional golfer whose achievements rank her as one of the most successful golfers in history.   Annika won 90 international tournaments as a professional, making her the female golfer with the most wins to her name.   She made history in 2003 as the first woman to play in a men’s PGA tour event since 1945, the Bank of America Colonial Tour event.   Retiring in 2008, Annika went on to do golf course design, ANNIKA branded products, ANNIKA golf academy and charitable events.

Bobby Fischer:  Bobby Fisher won the World Chess Championship in 1972.  He is considered to be one of the most gifted chess players of all time.  Starting at age 14, he played 8 US Championships, winning each by at least a point.  At ge 15 1/2,  he was the youngest grand master.   Fisher slid into obscurity after he refused to defend his title in 1975 at age 32, and didn’t play a competitive match for 20 years.  He lived in Japan and took asylum in Iceland before his death in 2008.

Ned Jarrett:  Ned was known as ‘Gentleman Ned Jarret’.   Known for his calm demeanor and intense NASCAR competitiveness,  he is a 2-time NASCAR champion.    Following retirement at age 34, Ned became a racecar announcer with a broad radio career and later a television announcer.

Rocky Marcianno:   Rocky was  an Italian-American boxer and the heavyweight champion of the world from September 23, 1952, to April 27, 1956, when he retired as one of the few boxers in history never to lose a fight in his professional career.  After boxing, Rocky entered the world of television, hosting a weekly boxing show and appearing as guest star on  episodes of well-known shows.

Bjorn Borg:   Bjorn holds a record 5-consecutive Wimbledon singles titles and a record 4-consecutive French Open singles titles.  He is the only player in the Open area to win Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year more than once and  is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all times.  In his retirement, he is the owner of the Bjorn Borg fashion label, second only to Calvin Klein in Sweden.

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