Pushover to Pioneer

BECOME A PIONEER

If you had told me as a young woman that I was destined to be a pioneer in anything, I would have laughed and rolled my eyes.  I never dreamed I’d be brave enough to launch into untested waters and face unknown obstacles to blaze a trail.  As a child I obsessed over Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series of books about her life in a pioneer family.  While her stories captivated my imagination, I could not fathom pursuing such an uncomfortable and dangerous path.

My life has certainly not been as difficult as the lives of the early settlers of the west; at least not physically.  But in many, many ways the challenges of being one of the first women to take on NFL player representation have tested my resolve.  It was not my plan to be the first anything.  But it was my plan to discover my calling and fulfill that to the best of my ability.  And by stepping out in total faith to do just that, I became a pioneer.

Regardless of your current position or ultimate destiny, you too are called to be a leader.  A pioneer.  No one else on this planet can fulfill your specific purpose.  What you decide to do about that will impact others–for better or for worse–for generations to come.

As a junior in high school, the local Rotary Club gave me an opportunity to attend a youth leadership conference.  As a natural introvert, the environment at this conference challenged me.  Though my commitment to being the best I could be never waivered, my belief that I could be a leader was shaky at best.  The other attendees seemed so outspoken and bold – they seemed like natural leaders to me.  (You know the quote about telling bossy little girls they have leadership skills?  Well that was definitely not me.  Oh, and just my opinion, but sometimes bossy kids really are just bossy…and need to learn people skills.)  I, on the other hand, was more contemplative than outspoken.  But my revelation that weekend was that even in my kindness and sensitivity, I was still bold.  When it came to standing up for what was right, advocating for others and protecting the people and ideas I cared about, I was a warrior; a strong, capable leader.  That revelation was life-altering to me.  And it became a theme in my life that would manifest repeatedly in years to come.

What if I had not attended that conference and come to the realization that I, too, could be a leader?  I may not have taken on leadership roles in college, which taught me to be organized and confident.  I may not have developed the courage to compete in the Miss Oklahoma pageant, which taught me to use my voice, gave me a platform, and provided much-needed scholarship money to finish law school.  I may not have finished law school and fought for a position in a prestigious (and virtually all male) law firm.  I may not have gone on to form well over 100 nonprofit organizations and work with my first professional athlete.  And I may not have developed the legal experience, business know-how, and the thick skin I needed to boldly launch KMM Sports.  Through KMM Sports, dozens of athletes’ lives have been positively impacted or changed.  And those athletes have gone on to inspire millions of people around the world.  It’s the Butterfly Effect.  And it is at work in your life too, whether you believe it or not.

My encouragement to you:  Dig deep.  Don’t let fear dictate your life.  Step out in faith and pursue your purpose.  Take action and fight in your own armor.  Build relationships and be good to the people in your life.  Be grateful, be forgiving and be excellent right where you are.  If you commit to this process, your best days are ahead of you.  You are no longer going to be pushed around by life or circumstances.  You are a pioneer.

Kelli Masters

Recognized as one of the most influential women in sports business, Kelli Masters often hears, "You have a DREAM JOB." But she chooses to inspire others not with her successes, but with her vulnerability, sharing not only the victories but also the battles and failures along the way. Kelli is an attorney, an NFL sports agent and Founder and President of KMM Sports, a full-service sports management company with offices in New York, Los Angeles and her hometown of Oklahoma City.

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