The following is a blog post that I authored John F. Kennedy University’s “student success” blog. It highlights my transition from a 19-year business consulting career to the Master’s of Sport Psychology program at JFKU and a career as a high performance consultant.
About three years ago, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery at the age of 39. I wanted to pursue a new career after having spent almost 20 years as a business consultant. Being a married father of two children who was on the verge of buying a new house in a new place, this possible career change felt terrifying. My path to JFK University was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There were many times when I never thought I’d have the courage to make the leap. Thankfully, I was wrong.
Prior to enrolling at JFK University, I was working as an executive-level consultant for a global accounting firm. I earned a comfortable financial income. I worked with Fortune 500 clients, C-level executives and state governors. I traveled the country. From the outside, it looked like a great gig. However, a part of my soul died every day I showed up for work. I did not enjoy my profession for many reasons and decided to explore a career change not knowing exactly what I wanted to do.
I sought the help of a career coach at the recommendation of my therapist and explored what I wanted to get out of my work before choosing a specific direction. He helped me discover that my primary objectives were to develop my understanding of human performance, help others grow both personally and professionally, and run my own business. When I researched professions that would allow me to meet these criteria, sport psychology jumped to the top of the list. I have been an athlete my whole life and have coached youth sports for years. It seemed like a perfect fit!
After having researched possible graduate programs in sport psychology, I determined that JFKU’s online program was the best fit for several critical reasons. First and foremost, I wanted an online program, since my family and I were not prepared to relocate to the SF Bay Area. I also loved that JFKU’s MA in Sport Psychology required students to complete internships. I knew that I would need practical experience to establish my own practice. I contemplated entering a shorter program that didn’t require internships in hopes of expediting my career change, but I knew that decision wouldn’t be in service of my long-term objectives.
In December 2016, I applied to JFKU’s sport psychology program ready to embark on my career change. To say I was scared would be an understatement. Nevertheless, I knew there would never be a good time to do it. Sure enough, I was accepted to the program. In January, I quit my full-time job, and in April, I started my first quarter in the master’s program. I can honestly say that I have not looked back once since then.
My experience in JFKU’s sport psychology program has been nothing short of stellar. My first quarter was very difficult, as I had not been in a formal schooling environment since 1999! Plus, I had never taken an online course before. My technological savvy is questionable at best. Nevertheless, these relatively minor challenges have been overshadowed by the amazing academic content and discourse that I have experienced in the program. The professors are committed to the students becoming the best possible mental skills professionals. I have found my classmates to be of the highest character and intellectual ability. Overall, I could not ask for a better experience than I’ve had my first four months in the program. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in the sport psychology field to consider JFK University.
And my message for anyone seeking a career change? Follow your heart, but use your head. I knew I wanted a different and better life, but I also knew that I had to be intentional about it. I had to take positive action steps toward my objective to get there. I’m still not sure where I will end up. However, I am loving every step of the process.