Did you know that I started my career in professional sports as a NBA stylist? It was never my end goal, but it was my best bet at getting my foot in the door. You see, the thing with the sports industry is that you have to have clients to get clients. And being that there’s a good deal of competition, it takes a lot for someone to give you a chance so you can catch your break. Patience is a virtue, especially when it’s tested, and despite naysayers along the way (some of who were closest to me), I kept my focus, and kept working to move forward inch by inch. It was hard, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that at least once I considered giving up, but I refused to go down that route.
I networked the heck out of a NBA agent for months before he finally agreed to introduce me to a client, who then agreed to “hire” me (for free) to join him in NYC for NBA Draft week. I kept a close eye on this player’s calendar, told him what to wear, and, of course, was in charge of morning caramel macchiato runs; the truly “glamorous” side of the sports industry. Fast forward one year, and I found myself back in NYC again for the Draft, but this time I was styling three first round picks, and I had dollar signs behind my work. By that time, I’d gained enough credibility to begin the client ripple effect, and take more steps towards getting my dream company off the ground.
Today it’s crazy to think about how my clients, and the nature of my work, have changed since I first began. I’ve had years where I haven’t had an NBA client during Draft week. Acting as a stylist is no longer on my list of services. LW Branding’s client roster includes professional athletes, influencers, along with individuals who are not even in the sports industry (talk about favor from God, pinch me).
The focus I want to shed light on is that success is not always linear. Everyone will inevitably run into roadblocks and detours along their journey, and rarely does getting from point A to point B ever actually happen as planned. But the beauty in the process is that you can learn things and meet people who you would never have crossed paths with if the roadblocks and detours had not taken place. You have to embrace the twists, the turns, and the times of uncertainty.
Success is not always linear.
If you’re someone who’s still on the journey towards your dream, the cliche advice I can give is to just keep going! Enjoy every single minute along the way, and don’t let the times when your plans are derailed distract your focus; stay consistent and learn from your struggles whenever possible because those are the moments when you will learn the most. Everyone’s journey is different, so be sure to fully lean into yours.