The following is a guest post by Austin Cox.  Connect with Austin on twitter @alcox23.  Interested in writing a guest post?  Email me:  erika(at)erikabrennan(dot)com

When you began your journey through the world of college athletics, you were given a wonderful gift the day you were hired and walked through the front doors. A gift so powerful, that even some of the greatest in our industry have fumbled with the opportunity and never recovered. Somehow, they mistake what they truly have by confusing opportunity with entitlement. The gift, of course, is a platform.

black and white photo of an empty stage with a stool and a microphone drenched in a spotlight

Although our platform has become some of our colleagues’ biggest curse, it is still disheartening to see the cause behind it that brings many to their knees. It’s not the gift of the position, but rather the character and motives of those individuals who confuse entitlement with opportunity.

The root cause: It’s the illusion of this gift being a pedestal. Some make it to the main stage only to self-corrupt amidst the bright lights. Indeed, the crowd of people lining up to witness the spectacle gives the illusion that we’re on a pedestal high above things like human decency, fairness and values.

It’s not a pedestal though. It’s a platform.  

I believe we’ve lost the privilege to sit back and choose to use our platform only when we feel it is in our best interest. It’s no longer ok to only let our voices be heard when it is convenient and safe for us to do so. We no longer get to pick and choose.

As leaders, It is now our responsibility to stand on our platform and speak for what we believe in – even if that means standing up for a cause alone. In short, we must break down the illusion of the pedestal.

What you choose to use your platform for is individualized, but it’s time to begin thinking of your legacy. If you’ve had this opportunity for a while and still have no idea what the true purpose of your presence in the lives of so many is, then you haven’t properly used the gift of a lifetime.

Arena after arena. Stadiums every weekend. Events every weeknight. Your platform is right there is front of you, yet so many choose to sit back in the crowd with those they have become comfortable around – they’re content in the status quo.

Don’t fall victim to this trap. Discover your passion and dig in, right where you are.

Get in the zone and figure out how you are supposed to use the world’s greatest stage to positively impact people.

It’s all right here…and in a minute it could be gone.

Don’t wait another second to discover your purpose and your passion.

Many people in college athletics are talking about Coach Matt Deggs, Head Baseball Coach at Sam Houston State. He found his purpose. It only took him 430 days outside of the game to figure out how he was going to impact people for the better. I’m sure those were some of the toughest days of his life. The cost he paid for taking his opportunity for granted.

So figure it out… that’s what we always say, and somehow we always do. Right? We figure stuff out; we get things done. That’s why you’re here and the next person isn’t.

This task isn’t a job. Your livelihood isn’t at stake.  Your opportunity is!

You have a chance to make a difference, but the responsibility is all on you. Choose your words, actions and deeds wisely. Working in college athletics is not “life on a pedestal” so don’t mistake it for one.

Today, I challenge you to use your platform. Stand up for what it is you believe in, and quit finding excuses for why it’s not your time to be heard. Control the outcome by being the strong-willed leader that you are.

Get ready, you’re next.

 

 

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