There are few moments in life that seem to simultaneously propel and humble you but this trip was one of those moments for me. Several months ago I was interviewed to be part of an upcoming book called Hustle Believe Receive, and I’m not sure I realized how profound it would be but then again, I think deep down I knew.
This book was created by Sarah Centrella. It is her baby and the fruit of much labor. She overcame a lot of obstacles to create the life for herself and her family that she always wanted. She wrote the book Hustle Believe Receive in the hopes that her story, combined with common themes found in other like-minded successful individuals, would help people.
In my interview, I gave insight into how I used the pain of fires and family traumatic events to fuel my success on the football field. It was a little scary to open up to someone who at that point was a Facebook acquaintance. I am a Capricorn and we hate being vulnerable in a public arena. However, I knew it was going to help people so I decided that the price was more than worth the success of others. For if I can succeed and bring others up with me then all the pain I have endured feels validated. Believe me when I say my heart has truly been tested.
I had a dream when I was 13. In the dream, my world was on a map. I knew where all the rivers, trees, and mountains were. It was sunny and happy. Then God turned the map upside down. I was lost. The terrain was completely different. It was dark and cold and I didn’t know where to go. He took my hand and led me over rivers and through woods and over mountains. Finally, we got to a clearing where the sun broke. He turned to me and told me that He had led me through and now it was my turn to lead others.
This has been the heartbeat to my purpose ever since. I know whatever my talents are, the purpose is to give them away to others. Being apart of this project has been a validation of that purpose.
Amazingly, reading the other stories in it also helped me as well. I believe this to be the true genius behind this book. All these strangers endured so that they might help each other and anyone who reads the book.
Sarah has also developed boot camps to help people in their individual journeys as well. I envision it being a pay it forward of success. I have always believed that you are who surround yourself with. Positive energy attracts positive energy. This book will become a movement.
Now to the fun stuff! The weekend events!!
Friday after work, I got dropped off at the airport from my coworker. I packed light this trip. When I travel for football I always have to check bags so when I get to travel without them I try to take advantage. I was able to get through security until of course I got picked for random search. Then I proceeded to try to recruit the TSA agent to play football because that is what I do.
When I got on the plane, I ended up in the middle seat of the very last row of the plane. I sat down and kind of laughed at it and the lady in the aisle seat, who was obviously grumpy at our seating assignment, told me I’m lucky I’m such a positive person that I can laugh at it.
We took off and it was evident to me quickly that the gentleman in the window seat, who looked to be around 75, with a thick German accent, had never flown before. I tried to answer all his questions and help him with his wifi.
The flight itself was around 5 and half hours but with the time change we were scheduled to arrive at 6am NY time. I tried to sleep. But the gentleman in the window was very antsy and got me and the other lady up 4 times during the flight to go to the bathroom, complain about how cold it was, and make himself tea.
Needless to say I had very choppy sleep.
When we landed at JFK,
I found the welcome center to have the shuttle pick me up. I have found that rideshare style shuttles at airports are much much cheaper than a taxi, Uber, or Lfyt. One of those options would have run 60-70 dollars one way. My shuttle option was 20. I have no problem sharing a van if I end up being able to use 80 more dollars on other things I’d rather buy.
Supershuttle for the win. No they are not a sponsor but they should be.
I got dropped off at my hotel, Club Quarters Midtown, around 730am. I was very tired and luckily they let me check in early. I found my room and passed out for a couple of hours.
I woke up and decided to go out and walk around. It turns out my hotel was right around the corner from Times Square
which was very convenient. I took some pictures and took in the city. I love big cities. I like being around people, cultures, events. I love that cities seem to have their own soul.
I went back to the hotel and took another short nap. Then I was hungry and walked around again to pick up lunch. I stumbled onto the Empire State Building.
I didn’t realize I was at it initially because at eye level, all the buildings are the same. I looked up, and up, and realized wow, this is it. I liked the EMPIRE STATE lettering on the front.
I picked up a hot dog at a hot dog stand because that is what you do in NYC. It was pretty good. Seattle hot dogs with cream cheese and onions after a night of drinking are right there with it.
I then went back to hotel to get ready. I ironed my clothes because despite how many youtube videos I watched to fold my outfit without wrinkles, there were still a few.
Once I was ready, I planed my attack. I originally was going to Lyft to the event. Then I decided, I’m in NYC, I should take the subway. Then I thought, no, it’s nice out. I’ll walk it.
You have to understand that New York is having unseasonably warmer weather and it was actually much colder in Seattle when I left. It felt nice so I walked. I turned down 7th Avenue and instantly felt like I was on the Vegas Strip. The lights and flashing TV screens are so bright, it might as well be day. They also have people dressed in character outfits much like Vegas.
I walked by Madison Square Garden which was a treat considering the huge basketball fan I am. To think of the great players that played in that building gave me goosebumps. I’m a sports nerd like that.
I got to the club called 1Oak and walked in. This was a very nice club. They hold high end events and many celebrities party here. You could tell from the atmosphere when you walked in that it had swagger.
I went to the bar and ordered a Corona. My goal at this event was to network and I wanted to be coherent. Lucky for me I ordered the Corona and saw how expensive it was and stuck with Coronas the rest of the night, scared what the price of an actual drink was. Toto, we aren’t in the NW anymore where you can get great microbrews on tap for 6 dollars and if you are really cool you can pick up a can of Rainer at bars for around 2. Nope. We are now in the land of 11 dollar Corona bottles. We have arrived.
It was worth every penny. The people there were amazing. I found Stephanie Bebe pretty quickly. As a fellow Seattle person we tried to make sure to meet up.
I then found Sarah to congratulate her. She looked gorgeous in her dress and I could tell it was her moment.
She then pointed out Kenjon Barner to me, an NFL player who played at Oregon who is also in the book. I introduced myself and told him how I loved watching him play at Oregon and Sarah made sure to tell him I play football too.
I then moved around and found a nice man from New York who’s son plays football and whose wife is involved in the Hustle Believe Receive boot camps. I have talked to the wife since I got back and they are very kind people and are in the middle of chasing their own dreams.
I then moved back towards the bar and stood next to and then started talking to a group of beautiful and well dressed women about what they do for work and they were all very intelligent and fun.
Upon getting another Corona I ran into a gentleman who does event planning and has worked a Kanye event. We had a great time talking about basketball and music.
I then found an interesting woman who is revamping her PR business that specializes in social media.
Pretty much every person I talked to in that room was dynamic and interesting and I loved it.
I met Kithe Brewster who styles people like Julianne Moore and I’ve decided that I adore him.
Rodney Foster runs his own wine company that people like Tyler Perry endorse. He showed up in a red suit that looked amazing and I kind of wish I had.
I ran into Nicole Frenchman who is also in the book and she invited me to breakfast.
There were so many cool people and I wish I had had more time to really talk to them all.
To anyone I could talk to, I let them know I play football. If I can bring a tiny bit more attention to my sport, I’m going to do it. If I have to Hustle around and be a catalyst so the little girls after me don’t have to, I’m going to do it. Men wake up and get paid millions to train. Attention is thrown at them whether asked for or not, whether deserved or not.
Female athletes have to work 30 times harder to get anything. Very few transcend to the point they are on the level of respect as the men, such as Rhonda, Serena and Venus, Britney Griner. The rest of us have to make our own way to get respect.
It has gotten gradually better, yes. But please tell me why corporations are willing to back lingerie football and not traditional women’s football? Sex sells? The problem is that by stating sex sells you are insinuating the only thing women are good for is as sexual objects.
Yes, there are male athletes that are sex symbols. But you know what they are 1st? An athlete. People talk about Tom Brady’s Super Bowls, MVP’s, and touchdowns. His annoyingly good looks are an afterthought. When you listen to media discuss female athletes, it’s always yeah she won titles, but is she hot?
With men the measuring stick has been performance 1st. With women it has been appearance. There is something wrong with that. There is something vastly sad that a young girl thinks the only way she can be validated as an athlete is if she looks good doing it. It is disturbing that that same girl thinks the only way she can be taken seriously is to take her clothes off for a league that treats them as disposable models and cares little for their safety or the football product.
I am determined to be a part of the shift in social conscious on the female athlete.
Check out this trailer that gives a visual to that sentiment:
Victorious, a movie that follows the DC Divas for a year.
The funny thing to me is that Sarah put the hastag Hustle in my section of her book. When I was growing up, I always got the Hustle awards. I was always the kid diving into the stands for a loose basketball or a volleyball no one else would try to get. It’s how I’m built. I have no 50 percent. My football coaches would tease me when telling the team to go 50 percent in practice for a drill we were learning. They would tell me that it was 20 percent for me.
Somewhere all my little league coaches are laughing their approval of the fact I’m in a book with the first word of Hustle. The very fact I was even in it and at this event with other people who also Hustle, is just too perfect.
I walked back to the hotel on kind of Hustle High.
I slept in the best I could the next morning and repacked my bags. The shuttle picked me up at 1130am. I checked in at the airport and my 1st flight was from NYC to Denver.
Much to my glee my flight got delayed 2 hours on the runway. My friends updated me on the NFL scores.
We landed in Denver at 6:34pm Denver time. My flight from Denver to Seattle was finishing boarding at 6:38. Lucky the gate was next door. I still had to sprint.
I was literally in Denver about 5 minutes. This same thing happened to me the last time I connected flights there. I mean I know I’m not rooting for the Broncos in the playoffs but I’m not sure why Denver is mad at me. I attempt to say that with a straight face.
I arrived in Seattle around 830 pm and took the train back to my car and got into bed around 10 30 pm. Just enough time to throw in the 1st load of laundry and pass out in preparation for the 10 hour work day that laid ahead for me the next day.
I will be at a book signing in Seattle on Thursday at Third Place Books along with the author Sarah, and my new friend Stephanie Bebe. It is at 7pm. Come check it out! I will be writing another post about this experience after.
Although the NYC release is over, I do feel this movement is just beginning.