'The Potential to Generate Dollars, Experiences or a Broader Range of Influence'

Photo Courtesy: Shannon M. Carlisle

Photo Courtesy: Shannon M. Carlisle

A former semi-pro basketball player, Shannon M. Carlisle works with athletes on identity evolution, identifying and communicating their value and core message, and choosing the right vocational path.

She also hosts The Path to Purpose podcast.

Shannon, what are you most excited about today?

First, I have opportunity to promote a coaching system specifically designed for athletes to help them "survive the lights." It's created by Tywanna Smith, the CEO and founder of The Athletes Nexus. There is a high school version, college/emerging pro version, and a business of sports professional version, available to both organizations and individuals.

This system shows you exactly what you need to know to streamline the recruiting process from high school to college and avoid common pitfalls that athletes make upon going pro. My favorite part of the system has to be "The Perfect Rookie Season" — from financials, to making sure you have the right professional team supporting you.

The second thing I'm excited about is my podcast. I'm really starting to find my stride there. I look for athletes who are starting companies, brands, movements, or are walking their path and figuring it out, and I interview them.

In addition, I have a segment called "Getting Results," where I dive deep into four areas where I'm seeing athletes struggle when their sports career ends: identity, strategy, communication and authentic self-promotion.

How does Shannon define an epic athlete brand?

An epic athlete brand is one that has the potential to generate dollars, experiences or a broader range of influence. It has to transcend the individual. Will Smith said something I thought was fantastic. He said that, at the end of his career as an actor, he wanted to be "an idea" of what greatness was. Now, that's epic!

What's your favorite athlete brand at the moment, and why?

Martellus Bennett hands down. He stands for something, he is taking his childhood love and creating with it, and he's a good role model and knows it. I love The Imagination Agency, and his interviews since retiring have been spot on. Here's a quote from the last one I read:

I think that’s the biggest thing that players miss out on, the ability to become an entire human. They try to cut you off from the world, but you’re still connected to this world. That’s why a lot of guys struggle when they go back into the real world after football because they’ve been put in this bubble where all they had to do is think about football and be football and anything else that they’re interested in, they can’t do.

He has managed to maintain his humanity and identity, and I think that's incredible.

When you look across the athlete brand landscape, what's the one thing you think more athletes should be doing?

More athletes should be exploring interests outside of sports. Even if they want to remain close to the game professionally, rounding out their life is important in the long run. They should also be developing additional skill sets applicable to the field they want to move into while they are active players.

What’s your best advice for athletes who want to kickstart their personal brands?

Have a plan. Even if it's not complete — usually you learn along the way — having a blueprint (at least) will save you money, time and frustration. Make sure your brand is something you're excited about. Having a goal is great, but if you aren't excited about it, it will easily begin to feel like a chore.

Don't neglect the other areas of your life (health, spiritually, relationships). They matter more to your brand success than you think.

What’s the number-one tool you’re using right now?

Audacity, it's how I produce The Path to Purpose podcast. And Canva for graphics.

Based on your knowledge and expertise, what's the future of athlete branding and marketing?

I think athletes are starting to realize that they have more influence than they thought. I also think they see the power in controlling their narrative and the potential deals that accompany it. You can't control a woman or man with the ability and skill to make thousands from their phone.