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Blake Lawrence: Identity Shift from Football to Business

Opendorse Co-founder Blake Lawrence joins veteran NFL agent Craig Domann on the Pro Mindset® Podcast to open up about his struggle with concussions as a linebacker for the University of Nebraska and the hard decision to hang up the cleats early. Lawrence addresses the challenge of pivoting from football player to entrepreneur and how his time as an athlete created the mindset necessary for success. Through passion and belief Lawrence daily exhibits his Pro Mindset as one of the leaders of his social media marketing company that he co-founded with his former teammate at the University of Nebraska, Adi Kunalic. Adi Kunalic previous talked about his Pro Mindset as well, which you can listen to here.

On how football translated into his current career: “I define my edge and every athlete has their edge.”

In order to build a Pro Mindset an athlete must have both passion and belief. For Lawrence this was in how he defined his “edge.” As a player he had passion for his sport and channeled it into his practice and outworking his competitor to achieve his goals. Once he shifted from player to entrepreneur, he had to adjust his goal but still put forth the same passion and belief. In the early stages of Opendorse, many people had doubts it would be successful as it was a niche company. It took Lawrence and his Co-Founder Adi Kunalic believing in their idea and their product to push it to success. Lawrence is a great example of building his Pro Mindset as a player and then continuing to use those building blocks in new endeavors, showing that the Pro Mindset is not just for success in athletes, but all walks of life.

On the struggles of retiring: “Everyone goes through this at least once in your life -- where everything that we thought we would be, and everything we thought we were, is gone. Now you have to rediscover yourself.”

Like many athletes, the struggle with injuries and concussions forced Blake Lawrence into an early retirement. He tells host Craig Domann that the decision to hang up the cleats was the hardest decision he has ever made. He had to make the decision to respect the game and the things it had given him and still choose his health and preserve his body. He was forced into a new world, one where he was no longer the person that he had been his whole life. His best advice on how to figure out who you are when your athletic career is over, is to focus on who you would’ve been the whole time if you hadn’t had the opportunities to play. To be a full-time athlete you have to suppress other interests to keep the passion needed to be a successful athlete. For Lawrence he was able to explore new interests and shift his passion to entrepreneurship. He goes so far as to say that being forced to step away from football was a “blessing in disguise.”

The Pro Mindset goes beyond sports, it’s the mindset that allows you to be successful in all areas of your life. Lawrence demonstrates that you must work hard in whatever you do and to ultimately accept and work with all the opportunities that life throws at you. Lawrence embodies this mindset in his ability to shift his passion and belief to the opportunities that life presents.

For more on Lawrence, his time with Nebraska and founding Opendorse, listen to this episode of the Pro Mindset Podcast here.

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