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The CEO’s Journal- Entry 7: Why I Quit

I have a major announcement to make. A few months ago I made a HUGE change in my life and I think that it’s about time I let everyone know about it. Want to know what I did? Here it is: I decided not to play university basketball this year.

Crazy right? That’s everyone’s first reaction when I tell them. They always say that I am crazy, making a huge mistake and that I will severely miss it. To be honest, I thought so too when I first started to consider it. But surprisingly, the transition has been a whole lot easier than I expected. It took a long time for me to process everything and figure out why exactly I wanted to stop playing and why I don’t miss it. But I think that now I’m able to fully explain why I quit playing varsity basketball:

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I absolutely love the game. Sneaking into gyms at midnight, training multiple times a day and spending hours studying NBA highlights were some proud habits of mine. Ever since the age of 10 I’ve spent hours every day practicing and honing my craft. And to be honest, I think that’s one of the reasons that I’m okay with my decision. There are no 'What if’s' with me because I know that I put my all into it and I am happy with where the game has led me thus far. I loved games, I loved training, I love competing and I love the bonds it helped me form along the way. I really and truly love the game. But at a certain point along the way, that love became unhealthy.

Somewhere along the way, my feeling of self-worth became strictly dependent on my most recent performances. It got to a point where how I felt about myself on Monday depended completely on my performance on Sunday. It was a terrible cycle that was only broken thanks to an awful start to last season. It really was a blessing in disguise.

Leading up to last season, I worked harder than ever. But when the season began, I found myself wanting to play less and less. This confused and frustrated me to no end. How could I go from being so obsessed with the game to suddenly dreading practice every day? It wasn’t until recently that I think I finally understood why. You see, although my basketball season started off in a slump, ELEVATE began to really gain traction at the same time. As the year went on, I think that I subconsciously began to realize that my self-worth did not solely depend on my ability to put a ball through a hoop. I began to realize that I can do and am good at other things. I realized that I do have other interests that are worth exploring. As the season went on my performance continued to drop and Elevate continued to grow. At the end of the season, I knew that I had to make one of the toughest decisions of my life:

Do I give up the thing that I loved so dearly and put so much time and effort into? It no longer makes me happy but what if this is just a phase? What will people think? What will my teammates think? What will my younger brother think?

I didn’t expect anyone to understand because I barely did. All I knew was that my heart was telling me that I needed to do this. And from the moment I made my decision, I was immediately welcomed with a feeling of absolute freedom. I immediately felt more in control of my own destiny. I am now in charge of my future. I can do whatever I want and become whoever I want. What an incredible feeling!

Although I don’t miss having to go to practice every day, I do miss the people I played with. I miss the feeling of 'It’s us against the world' and the sense of brotherhood it created. But thankfully, I have come to discover that it’s not the only way to create that feeling. There’s more to life than the game of basketball and I am just now getting the chance to experience it. I used to pride myself on being a leader and a ray of positivity for my teammates. But now, I get to lead and have a positive impact on a bigger group of people than just those who step onto a basketball court. I get to build a business that is about having a positive impact on everyone.

I don’t expect everyone to understand or agree with my decision. But that’s okay. I don’t need them to. What matters most is that I feel at peace with my decision and that I know in my heart that it was the right choice for me. Is this the end of my basketball career? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that this is the path I was meant to take. I’m excited to see where it leads me.

- Austin Chambers

Founder & CEO