YNS Live with NFL Thread PIVOT Jelani Jenkins

yns live with nfl thread Feb 04, 2024

Listen to a new episode of YNS Live with NFL Thread recorded live on Fireside with hosts Juliet Hahn and Cynthia Zordich featuring special guest Jelani Jenkins.


Jelani Jenkins, a five-year NFL veteran turned renowned speaker and Certified Mental Performance Coach, is an expert in the field of personal transformation. Known for his dynamic, engaging talks, he inspires his audiences to unlock their potential, break down barriers, and realize their highest vision.


Beyond his successful NFL career as a starting linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, and Houston Texans, Jelani has made waves in the entrepreneurial world as the founder and CEO of Postseason, a social learning app that empowers athletes to continue their growth, success and fulfillment beyond sports. His innovative approach and commitment to supporting others in their post-athletic journey was recognized by Forbes in 2021. It also led to Postseason winning first place in Founder's Live's pitch competition and being selected as a finalist at the LA Sports and Innovation Conference's Start Up Showdown.


A coach at heart, Jelani continues to lead his clients to self-discovery and self-mastery. However, as a speaker, he is not only inspiring teams and audiences, but also reshaping the narrative of success in sports, corporate settings, and life itself.


Remarkable Quotes


“I want athletes to recognize that they don't have to give up their identity after sports, but that their identity is their strength.”



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Created live on Fireside. So I'm going to welcome everyone to YNS Live with NFL thread here live on Fireside. This is a pivot show. We are so excited for Jelani Jenkins, former linebacker, bagger linebacker, yeah. And founder and CEO of postseason social learning app, which we are so excited to have.

So welcome to YNS Live with of health, Red. I'm happy to be here. Thank you for having me. Sorry I'm running a little bit late. I had to put my boys down and the youngest one is giving me a run for my money.

But we're here. I love having you on because I feel like in a sense, we're kindred spirits in that we are thinking about the well being and growth of players and spouses on my end after the game. And I can't wait to hear about your journey into the game, through the game, and what provoked you, what inspired you to start postseason. So awesome. Yeah, yeah.

I'm excited. I'm full of stories. So I'm happy to be here. Good. Happy to connect us.

Yes, for sure. Juliet, I can't see Delaney that great. Like it's all the way over. Is there something weird going on that can you guys. Is it a three screen for you guys?

Yeah, it's a three screen. You said you can't see me. Yeah, I can see you. Perfect. You know what, because you're on your phone, I bet on the computer you.

Could see for the video because right now you're cropped in for me, Jelani. Okay. No. Does this do anything, Cynthia? Does that make it better?

No, it's okay, though.

Just a heads up. No big deal. But it's pronounced.

No, that is a big deal. When people call me Juliet and my name is Juliett, that drives me crazy. Jelani, my Starbucks. Yeah. People spell it crazy.

They say it crazy, but it's all good. It's all. No. So it's actually, Cynthia and I talk about this because names are. It's important how you pronounce people's names, but everyone know different spellings.

I'm dyslexic. I'm just going to throw it out there. So I mispronounce everyone's name. It's like a big, funny joke because it doesn't matter if it's spelled how it is. I still seem to always mess that up.

So I so appreciate you correcting us because. Sure, no problem. No problem. No problem. I know we got.

We're early on in the show, so I just wanted to set it off early. Yeah, I appreciate her. Dyslexia makes me laugh a lot because she has such a good humor, and she's amazing. But when we were reviewing everything about you, she's like, yes, Jelani started the app in 2001. And I'm like, oh, I didn't even.

Wait, how old is Jelani? And she's like, right. Wait, I'm reading that. That's cricket. That's 2021.

I was staring right at it, and I took it there. This is exciting. So, Cynthia, you might have to mute yourself, because there is a little bum when you're not talking, just so we don't get that feedback. So just thank you for doing what you're doing. I mean, I love that you started with, I put my two boys down.

Right? I mean, family is what's important. And I know looking into you and seeing what you're about, that comes across. It screams from everything that I looked at. And so the fact that you came on, it's just so authentic that that's where your heart is.

So if you can kind of take us through a little bit of your know, when did you decide or fall in love with football and where you kind of grew up? And where was that in your life? Yeah. So I'm currently in Maryland. This is where I grew up, Montgomery County, Maryland.

My family was. I was very blessed to have a family that was still very supportive in all of my endeavors. They had me taking academics really seriously, surrounding me with the right support systems. I fell in love with football. My brother, he's seven years older than me, and he played football, and I was on the sideline.

Not the sideline, but running around underneath the bleachers with the other kids, just having fun. And I wanted to be like him, so I kind of went that route. Yeah. And just got really good fast. I had, like, a really good coach, and I think what really helped me, actually, my mom and dad put me in karate at a young age, and that really helped me with discipline.

It helped me also, and I didn't realize this until much later, but as a linebacker, when you go to hit somebody, it's really, like an explosive kind of technique. Like, at the point of contact, you kind of, like, kind of unleash at them. And it was really natural for me because in karate, we had to break pieces of wood and explode on contact. And so I was able to really move into that role quickly. Just with the right coaching and just working out training, I was able to really make a name for myself.

And my journey kind of started there with that right support system, started getting recruited by a lot of colleges when I went to good council high school, ended up choosing the University of Florida. Went there the year after they won the national championship. So Tebow and Urban Meyer was still there. It was a championship environment. I'm not sure if y'all saw the swamp Kings documentary or docuseries, but I was there kind of that last year when we were undefeated, but it was so much tension and stress because there was so much to live up to, and there were cameras everywhere.

And so, yeah, that was just an amazing experience because I was able to really understand what a championship locker room felt like, understand what it takes, understand the sacrifices, and just learn from the best. I'm going to pause you for 1 second, because I do want to ask, so I love that you said your parents put you in karate. You have no brother. Was sports something that you said academics was important, but was sports also important, or was it kind of like an outlet for you guys? Was it like, let's get these active boys, girls?

I'd say girls, because my parents were like, we need to get her out there, get her running, because she's crazy. So was that something that was important to your family that was just very well rounded? They kind of wanted you to do a bunch of things, if you can touch on that a little bit. Yeah, I mean, my mom and dad were both athletes. My mom played college basketball at Howard.

My father, he didn't play college sports, but he's an athlete. And, yeah, we were always outside throwing football. It was just always a part of my life. We were big on athletics. I see karate as athletic as well.

My mom was very much one who did karate, so we were just always active. I got into it at a young age. I don't remember a time when I wasn't running around and they weren't at my game supporting everything that I did. So, yeah, it was definitely along with academics, it was super important. I'd like to touch upon the karate as well, because fortunately for me, my neighborhood was pretty tough, too, growing up.

And for some reason, the older kids decided that they would take place with the YMCA's Ishinu karate. And we had a great sensei, Mike Masco, who really. It's crazy, but the mental aspect of karate, the meditation that we did after every single class, is something that sticks with me most. The way he just could calm us all down and get us to focus and breathe and think and be positive. And did that have an impact on you as well, mentally?

Absolutely. It gave me an opportunity to learn respect for the space. I remember we had to bow before we walked onto the floor. We had to bow at the flags, but also it was respect for the elders, the teachers, the sensei. So it really taught me respect.

And again, that mental approach, breathing was such a big aspect of what we did. And on that point of contact, you kind of let out that breath, but the whole time you're like in a flow, meditative sort of state. It's like moving meditation when you do it correctly. And that's kind of how they presented it to us, even at a young age. I did that up until I was like eleven years old.

So I didn't fully, fully grasp what I was learning, like the full concept of it, but I practiced it and it definitely helped me. I think it helped me, within the speed of football, be able to still think and not get overwhelmed by the fast movement. I was able to really be in the flow state. So, yeah, I love that. Cynthia, did you want to go?

I mean, I love all that. And the reason, as you said, stories. Stories connect us. I mean, they really, truly do. And so when people can hear, they can kind of take themselves back to their childhood and remember it, it just kind of puts us in a calmer state, I feel, when people share a little bit about themselves.

So I appreciate that. So we're going now to college. So you're in this atmosphere. Did you always. Because I know talking to some other players, which I always find fascinating, I have three kids that are athletic.

I played college sports, and I know when positions are changed, right, when there's things that you have to go through mentally, like you've always done something. Was there any pivotal part in your career that you had to go through that? Really tough mental, kind of. More than the athletic, more than the physical, there was more mental behind, definitely. I mean, I think the earliest going into my junior year, that's when my head coach left, that's when Urban Meyer had the heart situation and he left.

So bringing in a whole new staff. I remember there were questions of what's going to happen, what's happening next. My fourth season, going into the season, I was highly touted to go high in the draft. And the first game I broke my hand and was in a cast and missed the next four games. And then the first game back, I pulled my hamstring.

And then the next three or four games I was wobbling. I was still trying to play, but I was wobbling, leaving the game early. And then there were like two to three games when I started playing well, I had like three consecutive good games, and then going into my last game against Florida State, I had a great game. And then the last quarter, I broke my foot. I had like a Jones fracture.

It was just random. It was so random. And, yeah, I remember the coaching staff at the time, we had will Muschamp as a coach, and I love will Muschamp and I love the coaching staff, and they want to make the team better. And I was a red shirt junior, so I had an opportunity to come back and they were really trying to paint this picture to me that if I do go into the draft, that is not going to be what I want, that my best option is to come back and play another year. But I really believed in myself that I could take that leap and I was ready to do it.

And that was a big mental thing for me going into that combine that next spring, like the season ended in November, I'm on crutches going into January, February, trying to get my foot right so that I can be good for the combine and show these coaches that I'm good to go. Knowing that my draft stock went down a little bit. But that was a lot of pressure that I put on myself, believing in myself, yes, but there was a real reality and a real fear that I had deep down that did I take that leap too early? Should I have gone back? Am I risking not getting drafted at all because my foot's not going to get better?

It ended up turning out well for me, but that was a mental battle for sure. And I think it's so important to talk. Cynthia, you're muted, so go ahead. No, it did work out. You went to the higher mean.

That's probably was really exciting for that. But it is frightening, isn't it, when others are giving you advice, coaches are giving you that advice, and you just have to believe inside that, you know, like what's best and follow that path. But it is frightening, isn't it, for a young? It is. I was grateful to have my family in my corner.

I didn't mention this, but my mean, he was like my unofficial mindset coach growing up in little league football. He was big on affirmations and used to always be in my ear, like, you can't be stopped, Jelani. You can't be stopped. Every time you touch the ball, you're supposed to score every time. You're a man among know all of these things.

He's just in my ear all the time. And we used to watch stay up late and watch Muhammad Ali videos and hall of fame videos, and he's an architect and an artist. And so, in my room growing up, he painted this larger than life picture of me running the football on my bed and then has pictures of these hall of fame athletes all around me. It's like a hall of fame room. So I grew up kind of just knowing what I was capable of and believing in that.

And so when I was going through that challenge, my family, my dad, he was right there in my corner.

We were speaking it into existence. Like, it's. It's gonna happen. You take this leap, it's gonna happen. Believe in yourself.

So, yeah, I mean, that's what's. It's so, you know, that just gave me chills, because those are the kind of things, you know, for others to hear right now, because that's what's so important. Because a lot of times, the mental part of being an athlete is just as important as the physical part. Sometimes a little bit more, because if you have that natural athletic ability, but you don't have that mindset, it doesn't matter. And I talk to my kids about this all the time.

My son fractured both sides of his pelvis his junior year. He's a soccer player, and he always thought, I'm going to be recruited. This is my journey. He's also dyslexic, so it was kind of like what he thought. And I just remember going through that with him.

It's tough. And then thinking. We talked about it. Think about athletes at this next level, like, what you have to think about where you are and what you want to put into it, but then also what you can take. And so to have your dad in your corner doing that, it's so important.

So I love how it's kind of. And we'll get to this, but where you are in your life right now and what you're doing for others, just having, I'm sure your dad right there, he's really built you to be the man doing that with the support of your family. But having those affirmations are so important, and people don't think of them as that important. It's kind of like, oh, it's silly. It's words.

Words can affect you. That's why words. You tell yourself a story, and it's going to happen. You tell yourself a different story, but you have to truly believe it by putting that work in. So I love that.

I love how you painted that. Yeah, super important.

I didn't realize it growing up, because, again, this is, like my life. Of course I'm hearing this all the time, I didn't realize how rare that was. I didn't realize the mental training that I had naturally, organically, every day of my life and how that impacted. And I saw people more athletic than me, probably more athletically gifted than I was, that just wasn't able to win the mental game. And so, yeah, it is huge.

So I would imagine because this is just innate for you that your boys are that's being passed down, that gift. Oh, yeah, for sure. And that has to be really exciting for you to have everything in your head and in your heart and just coming out to your voice. Yeah. I mean, every night I tell them affirmations like, you're a champion, you're abundant, you're blessed, you're grateful.

It was so beneficial for me. So it's so purposeful in this phase of my life to be able to pass that along at a very early age and make sure that they know that they're loved and that they can accomplish anything that they put their mind to. I mean, their names represent that we named them. My oldest son, his name is Ashe, which means. And so it is.

It means like, so be it. It's really like a spiritual commandment. So as what you say, what you think, it is done, so be it. And so it is like you're covered, you're protected. So, yeah, it's definitely a part of that fatherhood, passing down, of the legacy.

Beautiful. It's interesting not to get personal, but we can get personal and that. I wear my dad's medal from the Golden Gloves. He was 118 pounds, but along with it, he told stories to us when we were younger. That one time when he was boxing, he could hear somebody yelling out, he's a bum.

He's a bum. The Robinson. Get him, get him. And it was just in his ear and it just sounded really familiar and it just was bugging him. So he finally had to look and it was his dad.

And it was like, it really affected my father all of his life because he became successful to fight what he felt, his father felt about him. So that crippled him emotionally. I feel for us. He was building us up all the time. You're walk in the room like you own the joint.

Don't let it. He's just like, building because he knew what it did to him. And so when I wear it, I just think of him as a 118 year old pound kid. Hearing that, it just makes me so emotional. Wow.

Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for sharing that. That's powerful. That's super powerful. I'm happy to hear he was able to take that and choose a different pattern because it's very easy to keep that same pattern and pass it down.

And generational trauma is like, real. So I'm happy that he was able to be aware enough to know that's not what I want to do for my children. Thank you for sharing that. I'm happy, too. And it's such a nice segue because you say generational trauma, and here you are just realizing the gift you were given, and now you're not only sharing it with your sons, but tell us about what you're doing in terms of sharing it with postseason.

You're sharing it with NFL players. Yeah. It's a journey that's very personal to my story of transitioning out of the sports. When I first left the NFL, I was excited about the opportunity because I was being opened up to a brand new world. I was tapping back into my creative side, a part of me that I put away to focus on football.

And it was exciting at first, but I was really approaching it from a lens of I'm hashtag more than an athlete. I can be successful without that. I kind of felt myself like holding a middle finger to sports and football and being like the same mindset that my father taught me, you can't be stopped. I'm like, I'm going to be fine. I'm going to be fine.

And it was some good in that, but it was also a lot of ego in that. And I was really shunning a real part of myself, which is that inner athlete. So a year into it, I'm feeling terrible because my body is transforming. Like my mind is transforming. I'm not really incorporating so much of who I am from my identity.

And I really went through a tough time, and I ended up connecting with a mentor of mine who he ended up taking me to, like a Tony Robbins event. And that was the first time I ever heard of Tony Robbins. But that event really opened my mind to so much, and it reinforced some new passions in my life. One of those being mindset, coaching. The one thing that helped me do was it helped me to heal from that limiting belief that I had around sports.

It helped me to have gratitude for that experience. And when I was able to have gratitude for it, it unlocked the door for me to examine what was it about my life that helped me be successful. And I went back to. It was that mental part. It was that mental training that my father taught me.

So I originally went into just like I'm going to be a mental performance coach. I'm going to really help individuals through affirmations, through all these different things. And specifically, I'm a target athletes. And when I started going down that journey, ended up running a couple of marathons to really train myself because I thought that it was impossible for me to run a marathon. I thought I was only fast twitching muscles.

And so that experience really led me down a path. And then I ended up interviewing a bunch of different athletes. I wanted to create a course, and it was called the athlete purpose playbook. And I found myself at a space where I went through my self discovery journey. I found passion again.

I was reignited with my inner athlete. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew the impact I wanted to create. So I wanted to create a course. But to do it, I had to speak to athletes.

So I interviewed 55 former collegiate and professional athletes within a month and a half range. And I learned so much in that process. What I learned was all of us were going through something. These are all sports, collegiate, professional, we're all struggling. And all of us are surprised when I say that we're not the only ones going through it, that we're not talking to one another, essentially.

So I realize there's this demand that is under the current that nobody's talking about. And the one thing we all missed is that community and that camaraderie. And I feel like no one else outside of sports can relate to us. So that was really like the seed that birthed the idea of postseason. And my goal was for athletes to recognize that they don't have to give up their identity after sports, that that's their strength.

And I wanted to help them understand that. So postseason is an ed tech platform that caters to elite athletes in transition. You could think of a platform like masterclass. It's pretty comparable to our business model, but 100 and thousands of athletes worldwide leave their sport and have trouble navigating life after. So we give them access to a new locker room.

They can connect with other athletes around the globe. They can purchase our online courses, and we call these our playbooks. But these are courses that are produced by athletes who've made successful transitions. There's a lot of examples of athletes who've made successful transitions. So we work with them to pretty much take their keys to victory, their experience, the things that they've learned to transition in that particular industry.

And we form an online course from those interviews. And so that's our vision. We're still very early. We're actually about to start our family and friends round going into January. We're excited about what's to come in 2024.

But yeah, it all started with my personal story and wanting other athletes to really find passion, purpose and fulfillment. I love that. And it's so important because it is not talked about enough. And I mean, we talk about it on here. I have connections with other athletes in other sports and it makes me so sad and then angry because I say the laypeople, right, that are not in it, you guys leave the sport and it's like you forgot about, and you have to think about the person that was giving everything in their life.

They woke up. They wake up the same as us, but they are so dedicated to something. And then when it's taken away, whether it's a choice, whether it's age, whether it's injury, whether it's not a choice, we need to have places because the mental health that goes in, and I say this every single time, it doesn't matter how strong you are, it doesn't matter how much your head are on your shoulders. When that is done, when your professional athlete life is done, you're going to go through something and there's not enough support out there, there's not enough talking about it. And you guys are these big, strong men, whatever professional athlete you are, but big, strong men, big women that exceed at this thing.

And it's like you're still people and you still have feelings and you still have a heart. And when all of a sudden your structure, when you're told to where to be for almost your whole life until the end of it, and you're training at this level because you have all the support and it's like, okay, you're off to yourself. It just breaks my heart because there's too much mental health that happens afterwards and it really doesn't need to happen if there's support behind it. So I really commend you what you're doing. Can you take us through a little bit of those interviews?

Oh, Cynthia, go ahead. Before you do that, I just wanted to kind of jump in to say that your angle is really interesting and that you're getting inside of the hat and the emotions. Because I feel that with all the work that I've done with players in transition and spouses in transition, it's like I no longer do this. So now I am nobody. I'm no longer a football player, so now I have no talent, I have nothing.

And it's not true. It's like, whatever took you to get there is the same. You are the same. And you have that inside of you. So what is next?

And so I think the biggest obstacle is how they're feeling about themselves, because that identity is whitewashed, but yet you're there to remind them. You empower them, remind them of who. They are and what they are. So it's still.

Yes, no, I appreciate that. I appreciate that. It is super important. And to your point, Juliet, no matter how much support that you, I mean, you all heard my story. My father, my parents, they're still alive.

They're still just as supportive. And I struggled big time. I have 4.0 GPA in college. I was in academic honor roll, and mindset was solid, like karate, all of that. And I still had a really tough time.

Really tough time. I know people, there's so many players who I've been around who have way less support. So that's to your point. And then, yeah, for me, it all starts with that self discovery process of like, who am I, what do I want and who must I become in developing a practice of awareness of where am I at now and who do I want to become, where do I want to go and start to really do the steps, the self mastery steps to train your mind to believe that you're a certain way or to believe you're somebody and to really get idea of what those limiting beliefs are that are holding you back and start to really take them off one by one, just through the proper training and visualization and all of that. So that's what I'm super passionate about when it comes to the interviews.

I learned so much. I have an excel document that's like a long document. Can I call you for. Yeah, because I want to say, because I know you have meaning through all of them, but when I said the interview, did one person pop into your mind or one scenario or one situation? Was it like an initial kind of thought?

Everyone had something. I'm trying to think if there was. One that, and if there's not, you go down the path that you were going. I always love to do that because sometimes when you think of something, it's like one thing pops out, but sometimes it doesn't. It's the whole collaboration that pops out and it's hard to pick a specific.

So just take us down the route that you were going to. It was probably like three years ago when I did those interviews, and what I've been going back to are the responses I asked. What were their biggest fears with their transition? What were their biggest frustrations. If they had a magic wand and could have a program that gave them everything they needed, what would that program include?

And I don't have the responses really connected to any particular person. I just have a list of, like, what if I don't succeed? I didn't make it pro, so how can I succeed in this realm? Will my family judge me? I mean, there were just so many different fears and thoughts.

I was like, wow, that's interesting. I had those same fears. And how do I eat in this next phase when I'm not eating for performance? What does success mean to me now? How do I measure success when I don't have other athletes around me playing the same role and I can see their stats?

How do I measure my success now? It's so many different elements and thoughts that people don't necessarily consider, but that's what I remember about those interviews and the excel sheet that I have is just like so many thoughts, so many questions, and just not enough support. Powerful. I remember my husband had a really hard time. When it came time to work out, he was like, for what?

I'm not training for anything. And it was just, what am I going to do? What is the training? And I remember being like, yeah, that has to be so weird because you're not going to train the way you do when you're playing. So he went through a kind of weirdness with that.

Yeah, it's a real thing. I mean, I remember training for the marathon. I messed around and twisted my ankle and I had no idea where to go. I had no idea what to do. I'm used to people sprinting on the field and picking me up, literally.

I've never had that experience. I had no idea what to do next to get my ankle fixed. I just remembered my treatments. I'll just go home and treat it myself. But I don't know what the person who never played sports, I don't know how they get their ankle taken care of necessarily.

Right? No. And it's so true. And the other things that I think are so important is like, as you said, you academically, you finished college, you had a 4.0. What about the people in sports world?

I know in football, you start, from what I understand, in the realm, like, right, you have a couple of years of college, but say you have dyslexia or learning disabilities or you don't have a skill set after your sport, what does that do? And you're like the man that's supposed to be taking care of the family. And there's so much stuff. And as I said, I could go on and on and on because I love what you're doing so much because it is so important. And that's what we need in this world.

We need to build each other up. We need to not put people on pedestals. We need to take the egos out of everything because the egos are what kills. Egos kill so much. When people can't say, you know what?

I'm actually really scared. I don't know what to do. I have no skill set. Where can I go to help? And the fact that you're doing this, where it's like, hey, we have a community.

Because when people understand, right, it's the understanding I've gone through. When you're first a mother, when you're first unemployed, when you're first all these different things that we go through as humans, and people just sometimes just go through it and they don't have to. If we can look to our neighbor, look to a friend, look to someone to say, I need a little help, we could really help so much mental health issues that are happening, and it just keeps getting worse every year. It's like, it's got to change. How can this keep going?

And so what you're doing for the segment of people that you're doing is really remarkable. And I'm sure you have any person that you talk to that you say, right, that is an athlete, that you say, this is what I'm doing. I'm sure they're like, oh, my gosh, I either wish I had it or tell me more about this. I want to know more about this. It's so interesting.

I have conversations with individuals who, because they didn't make it professional or even some that didn't make it to the highest level collegiately, like division three players, they have completely denied that they're athlete. So when I call them an athlete, I see them light up again because they stopped calling themselves an athlete. It's so interesting. And then what's also interesting that I learned through those interviews is it's not just a transition and an identity shift for the athlete. My mother was the mother of an athlete.

She had a lifestyle. She had people speaking to her certain ways, people asking for tickets. That all changed for her. She had an identity shift. My father, my brother, my wife, they all have identity shifts.

So everyone is shifting. A lot of relationships crumble as a result. People who you realize were kind of with you for the lifestyle all of a sudden may not be in your circle, and that just contributes to some of that. And then I also want to add that my point where I was kind of at my lowest state real quick, I was playing call of duty. I had my headphones on, and my wife, she had just gotten this Polaroid camera, and the first picture she took, she just opened up the box and took it of me.

And I was on the couch, and I had, like, this bong in front of me, and I had weed in front of me. I had these empty plates around me. I was, like, sitting in my own stench. Kind of just disheveled, really. And she took the picture, and I hated it.

When I saw the picture, I didn't like what I saw. But that was the moment where I actually was able to have a real conversation with myself of like, yo, you're not as good as you think you are right now. You're escaping your feelings. You're escaping your stuff. Yeah, you're just stuffing.

You can't watch football or even sports on television. And I brought that up because that was when I was able to step past my ego and reach out to the head of player development for the Miami Dolphins and tell him, I need help. Once I said, I need help, that's when my life transformed. No, that's very important. What you just.

Cynthia, I know you're going to jump in because I do want to talk about your wife, because that is something I want to know a little bit about that. Because, again, for the players that don't have that support. Right. You had that support. The wife is your family.

As you said, that's so important. Everyone's going through something, and if you guys are not in some sort of unison, if you have some sort of respect for each other, what each are going through and help a little bit and have the understanding of this is what I'm going through. That's when you can get to the other side, but when it's like there's shut down, no understanding, that's when things crumble. And that's when divorce happens. That's when drug addicts.

So many different things. So I think it's so important that you shared that, and I really, really appreciate that. Cynthia, go ahead. Yeah. Well, it is so interesting to me how many times you hear that a player was able to see themselves because their wife showed them.

It's crazy. It's like. Remember Ricky Waters? Yeah. Remember that.

She lied to him and said, actually, it's karate. She said they were taking Ricky Waters Jr. To karate. Or Shane, and it was Ricky that was actually going to karate because she just felt that he needed something in his life. And she introduced him to know just a lot of people that I want to name names, but they'll say, I didn't know I was doing that until my wife showed me.

Shout out to the queens. Shout out to the queens. I don't want to cut you off, but I remember we went to go see this family friend, doctor, and she does this stress test where you hold some metal device and it kind of lets you know where your stress levels are. And I promise you, I was in my meditation. I felt like I was a very Zen, like, peaceful space.

And I thought my wife, I thought she was the most stressed out one in the house. I just thought she was the most stressed out one in the house. And my levels were like three times hers. And I remember being so. I was like, that's weird.

That's interesting. So you don't even know that you're stressed, but it comes out in how I'm eating, I'm drinking, I'm smoking, I'm playing video games. I'm just escaping from what I'm feeling and trying to feel good.

My bad. Continue. No. Yeah. You had mentioned early on the friends and family, so this is so much a family situation.

Mental health is all about the family. So when you said you're excited to introduce friends and family, what is that coming to be about? The capital raise. So we're doing a fundraising round for postseason. So we're going to be raising money and we're doing like a family and friends round.

Is that what you're referring to?

Yeah. We have a lot of great plans going into this next year. One of them being we're going to be taking my course, the athlete purpose playbook, and hosting a lot of cohorts with different colleges and universities. So being able to tap into my immediate network and let them know what it is that we're building. I mean, I have a lot of, obviously, friends who play professionally who are excited about what we're building.

A lot of investor people in my investor network that I've met over the years, we have a lot of people that are interested. A lot of people are already committed to funding it. So, yeah, we're excited about it. We're excited about it. People feel the purpose.

People feel the purpose mean my. So I love it that it isn't just know for the NFL, because look at how many athletes there are from all levels. Like, you.

Want these kids, everybody wants to play on Sundays, and these kids are at a loss. And they need that mental boost of, what are you going to do next? And let us there. I love that you're doing college, too. Yeah.

Where do you get your dopamine? So I played field hockey and lacrosse, and I stopped during school because this is a whole journey. It's a whole story. But I wasn't good in school until I went to college and sports got me into college. I was getting recruited to vision one, but my sats and grades weren't there.

So I went to vision three, played two sports and found my whole journey. I started studying communications and that world. I was like, wait, I am smart. This is crazy. Yeah, you're great at it.

You're great at it. I so appreciate it. But it was something that I learned in the classroom at a young age, having to get out of things. How do I communicate with teachers? How do I do this?

But so I remember being like, when am I going? When I decided to stop, it was really hard. And then I didn't work out for a while because I was so now engulfed in, like, okay, I can learn. And this is. I mean, it was insane.

I did, like, this whole career. I became really academic and got on the honor roll and did all these really amazing things. But even after college, I didn't work out for a little while. But I remember the day that it was like, oh, you need it for your brain. Just stop.

Like, you need to get back into doing something. And that's when I really started my, then as an adult athlete, as you said. And so I think that's so awesome that you're doing it not just for professionals, because, again, when you're an athlete, when you're used to training at a certain level, even at a young age, and then it stops. There are stuff that happens in your body that you can't help. Right.

And it's the dopamine. Right. There's different adrenaline, these different things that it happens when you do it and then when it's taken away or you're injured or whatever, that whole mindset. So the fact that you're bringing it all the way there, I think is such a. It's really making it so much more well rounded, too.

Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. It's so important to me.

I call it the Rocky moment. I help my clients and the individuals that I work with to find their own rocky moment in their day to day life. Like that moment when you run up those stairs and you're celebrating, you feel like a champion. You can do that. You can have a nice workout and celebrate that rocky moment.

I mean, you can push yourself, run a marathon, really train and experience yourself as an athlete and use that energy to catapult you, whatever you want to do. So one of the things that I'm doing now that I find so much joy and fulfillment doing it, and I never thought this would be my path or one of my paths, but I'm a cycling instructor now on the side. But that experience brings me so much joy. It reinvigorates that inner athlete in me. It allows me to be able to pour into a community of individuals.

And when I'm on that stage, when I'm in the front of that room, I feel that champion like identity. And when I come home and I go right into my meetings, I go into my postseason work, that's showing what I'm doing. But every day now, I feel just as much as an athlete as I did when I played professional sports. So I want athletes to live that life where they still incorporate their superpowers as athletes and just change their focus a little bit. Right.

You have to find something. Yeah. You have to find something that works for you at the time of your life. And I think that's what. Yeah, well, I just was curious, is adult athlete a term?

Because I thought that sounded so cool. It did sound cool. I haven't used it that way. I call it lifestyle athlete. I love adult athlete.

Say, there I go, adult athlete. You know what I did? I played man. I'm not an adult athlete, but I love the idea. For those that can really say I am, that's what I am.

I did my first headstand in yoga yesterday, but seven months into hot yoga, I was like, I'm never doing yoga. I need to run. I need to lift heavy weights. I need to do, like, the hard stuff. I'm going to be 50 in a couple of weeks.

And my body was like, hey, why don't you just take a break? Why don't you just take a little break? And I was like, fine. I kept hearing it from God, universe, whatever you believe in. And I was like, all right, I'm going to do this.

Got into hot yoga, and I am there six days a week most of the time. I walk my dogs every day. I am an adult athlete. I know. That gives me such joy.

That's cool. I can see, like, an a. You feel most like yourself now, right? Yeah. You feel a lot like yourself now, right?

We're doing this. I love that. I can see the brand for you. Jelani with the a, with the a squared adult. Yeah, a squared adult athlete.

I love it. I love it because so many athletes, they believe they're done being athletes as kids. So just saying you're an adult athlete really signifies that you're still there, you're still doing it. I want to share another story because it's fresh on my mind. My mother, who I told you played college basketball, she also, during her younger days, used to skate, and she used to love to skate.

And a couple of weekends ago, she went to this skating party with her friends, and she fell down, and she had pretty messed up knees, and her knees swell up, and her friends were like, girl, why are you still skating? Why are you still doing all of that? I kind of felt it starting to weigh on her. I kind of felt her when she was telling me the story, start to question for the first time, do I have to give this up? Am I at that age yet?

And we just had, like, a really good conversation, because I was just like, mom, never stop skating. Never stop skating. Just get back up and keep skating, doing your thing. But it's a real thing because she really felt that identity starting to take a hit. But she feels so much like herself when she's doing it.

So that's my biggest purpose in life, is for athletes to really embrace being an athlete, just for the game of life, just a different game. Oh, I love that. Well, your dad just came out again on you right there. Your mother never stopped, and that could be never stop skating, never stop believing in yourself. It's just never stop.

It's so awesome. And that came from something you learned early on. God bless you. Yeah. Thank you.

I know, coming to an end. But we have to talk about your wife, because, again, looking through your stuff, I see what an amazing connection you guys have. I mean, it really comes across, and I know you don't always get from social media what it is, and so I would just love you to give a little your love story. How did you guys. My best friend.

That's my best friend. Yeah. You could tell him that I smiled. I was like, oh, my God, I love them. It's good.

Yeah, we connect really well. Yeah. She went to college with my cousin. She was always kind of in my circle, my radius, going into the draft, when I was hurt, that was actually when I first started talking to her and my cousin. I straight up asked.

I was like, you got any friends? What's up? Because she went to Hampton University, and a lot of my family went to Hampton University. It's an HBCU and I visited the school a bunch of times, and there are just some beautiful women walking around that kind of, I had the mindset of, like, I'm about to make a lot of me. Let me start to establish something before it turns into for the wrong reasons.

And that was really my, I was kind of just playing. I was like, you got any friends? And then she's like, I got one right here. She happened to be sitting right next to my cousin when I sent that text, and she happened to have just been in a space where she's not entertaining anybody. It was like a two week window where she wasn't entertaining anybody, and it just happened like that.

And, yeah, we started talking, we started dating, and we were just really good friends. Every conversation that we had always went deep. It wasn't surface level. That's what I always love about our experience together. She's super spiritual.

I'm super spiritual. We both like astrology. I'm a pisces. She's a scorpio. We're like a love water trying.

And, yeah, she's just been super supportive of me and my journey. And then what else is interesting is draft day comes, and I can be at any team in the world. And we weren't, like, fully dating by the time the draft came. So we started talking like, that February draft was, like, the April, and I ended up getting drafted to the Miami Dolphins. And it turns out that her parents had, like, a condo in Fort Lauderdale, which is, like, 15 minutes from where I work every day, where she spends most of her time.

And so we're just like, oh, wow, we're supposed to. You're supposed to be together. Yeah. I love that we were at a space at that point where if I were to go to California or something, it would have been long distance. And we didn't build that full foundation yet, but once that happened, it was like, oh, yeah, let's see.

Let's see what happens. And then, yeah, we kept it moving. Got two little butter biscuits now. Two babies, that they're our world. Yeah.

And I have to say, one of the things that I love talking about, really, on any of my podcasts and really with friends and anyone that's in, when you're in flow is what I call it. When you're in just a flow in life, and it is such an amazing feeling. First of all, it is a high, right? It's a high when you're in flow. And something that, what you just said, it just reminded me of that because it's like, okay.

And whether you believe in universe, God, whatever it is, I believe in God that we have this path. Right. It's kind of there and let's see. But I believe the universe also has a lot to do with it. And it's like when things just line up and those puzzle pieces go into that puzzle, it's like, okay, I'm just going to keep continuing.

And not everyone does. Right. Some people hit that wall and then it's like, oh, they're dead. They can't do it. But people that have experienced hard times in life, I find sometimes know how to maneuver that puzzle.

Right. Okay, let me just shift it over here to the left a little. It's not fitting, but let me see if it goes to the right. And it's okay. It went because I stayed curious, I kept my mind opened.

I continued to walk forward and not sit back and just stay there out of fear and all these different things. So I think it's beautiful that you guys have that connection and that you both can do that and raise these two beautiful boys just with all the love, but all the knowledge and all of the experiences and all the things that you can bring to other people. And what you're doing with your app is inspirational, but it's life changing. It actually can change someone's life. And if you really think about that, someone that is down and out just left the league, maybe their wife left them because they were like, I can't deal with this.

And they really have no one else. And your app comes about it and they find this community that's like, we're here for you. It really is. You're doing really important work. I really appreciate that.

The thing that's great about what you're doing is that it doesn't matter if it's one person that you help or thousands, because that is just as gratifying to help that one person through. And when you're talking about helping somebody through mental health issues, that's big. So what you're doing. But I would love for you to help as many as you can. So we will be sharing everything and anything that you send us, even.

It means a lot. Family to help you get more investors, get more people involved, but just, we want to share what you're doing. I love what you're doing. That means a lot. I appreciate it.

Yeah. One of Cynthia's nice superpower that we both have was we love connecting. We love connecting people. Because as you were talking, I was like, oh, I'm running a list in my head of people that I know I'm going to connect you with that is one of our superpowers. That's a big blessing.

I'm really grateful for you all. I'm grateful for the platform. I'm grateful for your mission and the stories that you all are bringing to the masses because they're super important and they need to be heard, they need to be felt. And I just appreciate y'all's energy. It's a beautiful space that you're cultivating.

So thank you for all of it. Thank you. Thank you for joining Yns live with NFL thread. Pivot here live on Fireside. And again, thank you so much.

And going into holiday seasons, I mean, this made my Friday. Happy holidays, y'all. Yes. Okay. And we'll send you all the stuff, and I will connect with Cynthia on.

I know we connected on IG, but I do have one person in particular, Cynthia, I'll tell you, on the side that I think I want to put you in touch with, because they're just a good person. All right, well, thank you again, and we will see you guys for next episode of YNS Live with NFL Thread. Thank you. Have a great weekend. Bye, everyone.

My focus is entirely on helping you follow your passion, even when you feel like you've got stuck in crazy town. There is a way out, its me helping you. You don't have to ditch everything in your life that is making you feel overwhelmed and stuck, you just need some help to navigate it.


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