My book, High-Impact Life: A Sports Agent’s Secrets to Finding and Fulfilling a Purpose You Can’t Lose is available for order now.

Pushover to Pioneer


As part of this course we have addressed the importance of relationships to our success and happiness.  But what about when relationships go sideways?  As human beings, we are inherently flawed.  All of us.  We hurt each other and we get our feelings hurt.  It is just a reality of the human experience.  So how can we continue to put ourselves out there and keep building relationships even when we know some people will do us wrong?

The answer is this:  forgiveness.  We must understand and practice forgiveness.  (But we must also understand the difference between forgiveness and trust.)

“Kells, we need to talk.”  Texts from this client always made me jump.  When he wanted something done, he wanted it done now.  And I always gladly accepted the challenge, whatever the task may be.  But this text made my heart sink.  I talked to this client virtually every day for five years.  But now he wanted to “talk.”

There have been so many tough moments in clients’ lives we have walked through together it would be impossible to list them all.  Injuries, tragedies, disappointments, decisions.  My life is consumed by the highs and lows that make up my clients’ journeys.   It is an intricate connection, enhanced by my God-given intuition.  And based on my gut feeling, I knew this conversation would be one of the most difficult–no, the most crushing–of my career.

“What is it?  What’s wrong?” I asked.  “Kells I’ve been talking to my family and praying about this for a while now.  I need to change your title.”  “What in the world do you mean?”  “I mean, you do so much for me and my family.  You’re always there for us, taking care of things.  We really appreciate you.  You’re not really an agent to me; you’re like family…”  he paused.  “But a real agent just takes care of the contract, you know?”  Stunned silence.  “What are you trying say?  You’re firing me?”  “No, no not really.  Just changing your title.  I want you to keep running my foundation, helping me plan things.  I just…need you to be off my contract.  I can’t pay you.  Can you help me with the paperwork to do that?” I was being fired, and was being asked to write my own termination letter.

Five years.  Thousands of hours.  Sacrifices.  Tears.  Holidays away from my family.  Being on-call 24/7 and always answering the phone within 1-2 rings.  Going above and beyond to provide excellent service and negotiation skills.  Only to be told it did not matter.  My commitment and effort did not matter.  In doing absolutely everything I could to prove myself as a necessary part of this client’s career, I had completely lost my value in his eyes.  I was being told I was expendable.

Though I fought hard to keep him from changing his mind, he finally terminated my agency contract just a few weeks before signing a $90 Million plus contract with his team.  He had been my biggest client, and signing him felt like I had finally arrived.  At this moment, however, I faced an uncertain future.  I felt completely betrayed.  And now, years later, I am still dealing with the real-life ramifications of his decision. But I’ve done the most important thing I can do: forgive.

Forgiveness is easier said than done.  I have heard and read so many good lessons on forgiveness.  But actually putting them into practice can feel impossible.  To help you take that step, let me remind you:  holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness only hurts you.  It keeps you in bondage.  It keeps you from moving forward and fulfilling your destiny.  Forgiving someone does NOT mean that what someone did to hurt you is right.  It does not let them off the hook.  You shouldn’t expect them to apologize before you forgive them.  Just do it.  Let it go and keep moving forward with your life, even when it is difficult.  And if you have to keep forgiving them on a daily basis, do it.  This is especially true when the person you have to forgive is yourself.  Your joy and happiness are worth it.

Remember what I said about forgiveness and trust?  Just because you forgive someone does not mean you should trust them.  They broke your trust and must earn that again.  You can be loving, but also be wise and discerning.  It is absolutely possible to live in forgiveness while also living for truth and wisdom.  As with every experience, learn what you need to learn.  And GROW.

Incidentally, the agent I lost my biggest client to ended up losing his certification as an agent just a few months later due to improprieties.  You know what they say…

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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