Paul talks with former NFL star Jed Collins about mindset,making an impact, and transitioning to his current activity of helping people to write their own financial story.
Here is the full transcript:
From the NFL to financial empowerment with Jed Collins. Hi there. I’m Paul Urwin and welcome to the freelancers and entrepreneurs Podcast, where freelancing meets entrepreneurship and business. We discuss clients sales, marketing, outsourcing, mindset, and much, much more. Find out more at freelancers and entrepreneurs.com Hey there, Paul here and welcome to Episode 26 of the freelancers and entrepreneurs podcast. Today we have an amazing guest, Jed Collins, a former NFL fullback who is now a financial expert. So he will be sharing a little bit about his story and, and his transition from the NFL to to working in finance. It really is a great story and something definitely for everyone in terms of overcoming challenges Jad is a is a great speaker is very, very inspirational and there’s some concrete tips in there as well. So that’s coming up in just a second. First of all quick reminder to check out the resources available on our website, freelancersandentrepreneurs.com. There’s a free training session on there which is especially useful. If you are just getting started as a freelancer or as an entrepreneur. There’s also a link to the coaching sessions. If you haven’t signed up for your free 15 minute coaching session. Then there is a link at the top of that web page that is www.freelancersandentrepreneurs.com Right without further ado, let’s get cracking with today’s interview. Here comes Jed Collins. Okay, well I’m here today with Jedediah Collins Jed is a former NFL fullback having represented the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions for a total of over seven years. Currently, he is the Director of Financial Education at Brighton Jones and empowers people to own their financial story. Jed, welcome to the show.
I appreciate it. Thank you for having me on humbled and really excited to get to meet you have a conversation and spread a little bit of my message.
Likewise, Jed and you’ve got such an interesting story. So let’s well let’s jump right into it. First of all, you started out in the in the NFL so so let’s start there. Tell us a little bit about it.
Yeah, it’s, it’s one of those childhood dreams and truly it was one I never believed was going to be coming to fruition or becoming my reality. I was a truly a student athlete, my father my household. We emphasized that student mindset and the athletes second but definitely a major part of who we were. Yet the NFL came calling I graduated as As an accounting major, and was preparing to go into that field in that world, and I got an opportunity I was an undrafted guy, which you know, draft days is disappointing for everybody but the guy who goes number one, you haven’t even the number two is okay, I wish I would have gone one spot higher. But the NFL is one of those experiences that is, is so extreme and so polar opposite of what the real world feels like that it is a great introduction to a lot of facets of life. It introduces you to a little bit of self awareness. A little bit of the business aspect. I mean, these are billion dollar corporation. Yeah, yeah, amongst a major major league, how to interact as a team, you know, you’ve grown up working on teams, but now all of a sudden, those teammates have become your competition. And that’s an interesting dynamic, and one I’m sure is felt in a lot of buildings in the corporate atmosphere. And then you know that last one is the dream versus the nightmare effect the it is his childhood dream to make it to that stage in that level yeah and at the same time while I was in in 2007 2008 2009 was when some of those statistics started coming out around the true impact and toll this dream was having on us as individuals and so there was a little bit of conflict of being down the rabbit hole and kind of realized where I was but it is such a such a beautiful journey that I got to experience part of what makes my story interesting as I was cut released told my dream is over about a dozen times Okay, so that that instituted some some resiliency in me.
Yeah, and it sounds i’m not i’m not a football, American football as I would call it.
By no means, by any means, but it did. And some interesting things that are as you say multimillion dollar corporations huge huge number of people on the on the team as well on the on the rosters I think you call it and you lots of competition lots of things going on there lots of demands because you’re writing at an extremely, extremely high level. Right. So yeah, I mean what what that’s mental and physical experience for that time. And and that’s what’s the beauty of it is, you sit in a locker room with the best in the world, the truly the best in the world of what they do. Yeah. And if you have the kind of foresight or wherewithal or even just self awareness to look around and say, Man, how did they get to be where they are? because anybody who is over a five year veteran is trying to be replaced every year by the company. And so you look at a 10 1214 year veteran and you you question this guy? As older, he is more expensive, he is, you know, less fresh, whatever he is more damage to him. But he maintains his job, how’s he doing that and that was one of the premises I challenged myself truly feeling like I was a fly on the wall in a world I wasn’t supposed to be, you know, I wasn’t a naturally great athlete. But I looked around to those individuals. And it became my mentors, whether they knew it or not. And I know I stole from them this mindset of how to go from a rookie, trying to survive and make a team to a veteran, finding success, maintaining success, and even taking that next level. And I remember very vividly, my mice my second year when a veteran asked me, he said, well, what’s your objective? I said, I want to make the team I want to be here in September, and he just laughed and he was like, Oh, you’re never gonna make it like this. There’s a whole season a whole marathon to run after September. Even started arts. And so yeah, it was really neat being in that. And then on the flip side of that, when we go from a financial perspective, it’s also humbling to sit and everybody in the NFL makes good money. But to sit next to somebody who makes 510 times what you make is an interesting atmosphere and also one that you have to work together and you have responsibilities to share. And you have to remove that aspect. And I look in the corporate world that I’m in today, and I say, oh, man, if we, if we had the transparency of the locker room where it’s like, Bobby makes this and Suzy makes that and I know exactly where everybody stands. I would be curious if it would be a benefit or a curse.
Wow. Wow, that’s interesting. Jed? Well, I I actually love I absolutely love sport. And one of the things that really interests me about it, especially if we’re getting the opportunity to talk to someone like you at that sort of level. How much of it is really about mindset How much of it is about attitude? You mentioned the veterans who’ve been there for 12 years who’ve been successful year after year when there’s younger guys coming in. You know, there’s there’s lots of demands physical and mental, how much of it when you look at those real, you know, high level athletes is about mindset. He’s about the right attitude.
I would say, getting to that level truly is probably closer to 5050. He there’s there’s 50% of that mindset that has got you there. But there’s also 50% of just natural God given ability and a lot of luck. Getting into that room. You know, the best talent is usually sitting at home there. They’ve through injury through mistakes through some errors. But once you’re in that room, it’s it’s 90% mental, the greats the ones who go to perennial Pro Bowls, those guys have the mental fortitude that you would never even imagine. And if we look at it, you challenge yourself every offseason. How can I get better? How do I improve? I can go get stronger by one or two or 3% that made how much physically stronger Can I get? I can go get faster by a little degree. But my mental aspect of the game is limitless. Whether it’s film whether it’s just for me fortifying my my spirit or my energy or my ego, that was the neatest kind of introduction for me where the guys who I looked at in were record holders were pro bowlers were the best. And their approach was always I can still improve mentally, I can always get better, and I get to see and so now now I get to deliver presentations. And one of the aspects of success I love to share is their ability to value what they want most over what they want right now, and I found it In a football locker room, you could find it in a corporate boardroom or guidelines. You can find it in your family and your finances. That one principle of success, valuing, not sacrificing, valuing and prioritizing what you want most over what you want right now is arguably I think the secret to success and the secret to finding what you want out of life.
Fantastic, fantastic stuff. Jed. Right. Well, I, I’d like to sort of take us through a little bit of a transition in a minute, but I’ve got a couple of I got a couple of questions for you. One actually, one actually is just a personal question that I have. This always intrigued me. I do like I do like watching the NFL. But why is that? Why is the season so short?
Because of the physical toll, and that’s actually a big discussion and argument right now going on in the NFL. The owners and the business side want to extend the season naturally. One more TV revenue they want more sponsorships, all that stuff. The players are defending and saying listen, we have four preseason games 16 regular season and we hope to make it to two or three playoff games. That’s a big big toll if you add to your two games over a five year career that’s another season being added and that’s decreasing my overall revenue income. And so what makes the game so pure is each game matters. Each game counts each game matters each play each quarter each drive, I got to experience another again and this is this is what I love about taking from that game and turning it into my daily life. Today is a 15 year linebacker said I come in here every day and I steal inches. I steal inches because I know last year, that inch will lead to a yard that yard lead to a first down that first down lead to a score that Score lead to a win and the win lead to us making it to the playoffs. Yeah, is why we’re showing up. Yeah. And that that mindset is so pure and you look at baseball, you look at basketball, they can have off nights they can have off days. Yeah. Football doesn’t allow that luxury. You have to show up and you have to go and be at your best because there’s only 16 if you if you drop one out that’s gonna come back and count against you. But I will say because of the physical toll. Okay,
okay, brilliant. And what was your best moment jed in the NFL?
Oh, man. Great question. So I got to be a member of in this was I became a fullback in the NFL and with that my whole mindset and mentality and ego had to shift and so I would say my best moment because I was a full back was being a part of something being a part of the team. And as I was on the 2011, New Orleans Saints, we were we won the Were statistically the greatest offense of all time. And so being on the field being a part of that play, being in that memory and we’ve been defeated since then, but being it being a part of greatness is something I’ll never forget something that you touch and you taste and you will continually seek out to taste again. And so getting to look at the drew breezes and the Jari Evans and the pier Thomas’s and the Darren Sproles, the Julian Graham’s all these guys I got Marcus Colson, I got to sit. And not only watch but play with that is, that is something that I get to hold dear. And as I look at my daily life and my work ethic today, I try to embody some of that and say, I’ve felt what the top of the mountain feels like yeah, I’m gonna enjoy this because I know I want to get back there.
Amazing, amazing stuff. Amazing stuff. I’m really enjoying this. Well, I could. I could probably talk about To talk talk football for a lot longer with you because I find it really, really fascinating. But let’s now transition into a little bit more into where you are now and the first question I have for you is to please sort of take us through that transition I think for athletes especially, it’s something that can be incredibly difficult that their career for for any number of reasons can come to an end. And they are no longer you know, a top level athlete or they or no no longer in a top team for whatever reason. How does that transition happen? Why does so many people find it so difficult? And how have you made such an incredible success of it? So I know there’s quite a quite a lot of that look, while questions sort of mixed into one there but I know you’re I know you’re doing fantastically well. I know you I know you’re doing absolutely great. I know you’ve the transition doesn’t seem to have really affected you. to March, you’ve just gone from one thing to another, and you’ve been super successful at both. So talk us through that transition. Jed, please.
Well, no one. Thank you. And I appreciate that. And that truly is has made my day to think that that’s the kind of the image and the brand that I’m putting out. You touched on a little bit of it, as you said that you’ve gone from one thing to another, and I’m gonna circle back to that, why the challenge of the transition is a lot of different variables kind of come into fruition. If you were look a doctor in the middle of their prime, they’re 35. They’re 40. They’re getting out of student debt, and they’re starting to make good decent money and tell them tomorrow you get to wake up, but you’re not going to be a doctor anymore. That sense of identity is devastating. And that’s truly what we do to athletes. Most of us were handed a ball at 910 11 years old and told, do this one thing well and you won’t have to worry about Anything else, school jobs, nothing, just focus on this. And then it’s taken away. And you not only lose that sense of drive that sense of identity, but also that sense of purpose. I talked to athletes all the time, a lot of them going through this transition, and that is the thing they miss the most. An athlete can throw a dart on a calendar and tell you exactly not only what they’re going to do that day, but to the hour what their intention was and why they were doing it was always to go improve, get better to go to their championship and to go to their their finale. So I see the transition is such a struggle. Number one because as a society, we don’t force athletes to identify themselves as anything less than an athlete or anything more than an athlete, excuse me. And I really love Why my family helped me to that student athlete priority is student comes first. And so as I looked at it, I always identified myself as I was an accounting major who was playing football at Washington State. Even in the NFL, I’m a Nash I’m in the professional athlete, but in the off seasons I’m studying for my CFP. Why is because in a little bit of it was a curse in the blessing or blessing in the curse of being cut. So as I went into the NFL, I was getting cut right and left, I was losing my job. I was told my dream was over. And it forced the reality that the game was going to end. Looking back. That was one of the greatest gifts they could have given me because I did end up having a decent career and playing for a while. Yeah, but I was always preparing. I was always seeing the end of the tunnel coming. And so one of the things I challenge guys gals whoever as they transition from a student athlete or professional athlete outwards, is exactly what you said go from one thing to another. I don’t care what that other is, but set it landmarks set a destination and just start walking towards towards it because sitting on the couch gets nothing but harder and harder to stop doing. And if you don’t have a new purpose, a new motivation, a new sense of identity, you’re gonna just be sitting on the couch in lost and you’re gonna look back at your game from for everything it took from you, and not what it gave you. And if you are transitioning and you and I look at you know, the financial world today and what I’m out doing, I look back at football for all the crazy things that gave me and it built in me because I get to use it not because it abused me and I look back on it with pain. And so the transition is very real depression is very real. And it doesn’t matter even for myself. I get waves and swings of, of missing the game or missing that drive or the joke I always get to tells people say, Well, you know, how do you go from the NFL to sit in an office I said the hardest part is nobody claps for me anymore. I used to catch a ball and I get 70,000 people. Nobody’s clap. I turned in reports all the time. Nobody says yeah, job. Yeah, yeah.
No, I think it’s incredible. It’s incredible really to talk to you about this, I find it I find the transition really, really fascinating because I think the other thing that that perhaps I can or strikes me as somewhat similar is when people go and join the armed forces for you know, a limited period of time, let’s say 10 or 15 years, and they’re they’re coming out at, you know, 35 or something like that and and starting a new career and that’s a that’s a challenge for them.
Oh, yes. And also sort of in in in my worlds, a lot of people transitioning from, from having a nine to five job to working as a freelancer to work or not, you know, starting up as an entrepreneur. So there’s all these transitions that they’re obviously all very different, but have certain things In common and, and I like what you said about just sort of start walking towards the new goal. And I think that’s some, you know, sort of really good, really good advice, basically, especially as you just mentioned becoming a freelancer because when you’re in the corporate environment, that nine to five, it’s like, I know my path. I know, I go and put these hours in and do these things. And I get that next promotion, and then I go to the net, and then I get to be on your own. It’s like you just became the boss. Well, I was Goal number one. So you have to reset a new new focus and a new destination. If you don’t, you’re gonna get lost very quickly. So I applaud people like you who are able to manage that transition as well. That is a major shift in in personal decision making and in personal philosophy, and then personal drive.
Yeah, yeah, not that. Well. Thank you, Jed. Thank you. Yeah, no, I think it’s I think it is I think it is difficult when you have to put your own set out your own goals. Like you said, when you’re in a corporate environment, and you have that sort of, I’m going to want to start off as an assistant, then I’m going to be an assistant manager, then a manager and a director, then, you know, there’s often a very clear path in certain organizations that you can just you can just follow, and you can follow for for many, many years, and people still do that successfully. But more and more, I think it’s not working quite as it it used to, and that’s why a lot of people are turning towards freelancing and starting their own thing.
I agree. Brilliant. Brilliant, right. Well, next up, let’s really get into some detail about what you were what you were doing today. You’ve got this little phrase, this little tagline, Jed, which is that you empower people to own their financial story, and I absolutely love that. So let’s talk. What are you doing now? How are you helping people? Let’s, let’s go.
Absolutely. So, and I emphasize the story piece of that because we all tell ourselves a story and finances is no different people think that it’s so far out of their control that I really want them to see that that empowerment around how to capture not only what’s happening, but the story, they’re telling themselves around what’s happening. As we talked about my financial career began in football. I was handed a very large cheque in my rookie year. And, you know, I had no idea what to do with it. I was an accounting major, I was a business major. And yet, nobody had sat me down and said, the Johnson family has $72,000 How much are they going to pay in taxes? Or what should they be saving? Or where does this money actually go? And so I looked at it and I looked around the locker room and I said, I, I’m the accountant in this room. If I don’t know these answers, I’m pretty sure none of these guys do. Yeah. So I went outside the locker room and I started to seek out those answers. I looked at my highly educated brothers, one who has a master’s in engineering from Berkeley, another was a Harvard Law degree. And I asked them, hey, if you guys are going to get this check, what would you do with it? My light bulb really went off when they had no answer. They they had no idea. They weren’t taught this either. And so I began to then go to literature, go read books, and it began with Robert Kiyosaki and the Jim Cramer’s and the Warren Buffett’s. Yeah. And to the point I was challenged by my mentor. Well, if you really want to know, I was asking him questions. He’s the lead advisor, actually at the company I work for now, Brian Jones. He said, I can I can give you fish all day long. If you really want to know this, you got to teach yourself to fish. And he challenged me to go get my CFP certification. Financial Planning. Yeah. And that is where my journey began. And that was my beauty was, I love writing. I’m a journaler. And so I was journaling and writing my education as I went through it because the NFL I was injured being introduced to a lot of the problems on a much faster pace than the traditional college graduate. And so now I get to flip the table a little bit for a while. I looked at my mentor Brett and I said, I want to be Brett. And then I realized about two or three years ago, I love what he does. I love what that role is as a personal CFO. But what I really think is my writing is my skill set. I love people I want to get out and I want to help and I really get energy from interacting in and helping people. So I started to I just said, I’m gonna stand up in front of a room and I’m gonna, you know, tell us share some of the knowledge I’ve started to learn. And I look back and it was terrible as everybody is, is when they first start out. And it wasn’t terrible because of my delivery or even my content. But it was terrible because my focus was on my presentation, and not the audience. And so today, what I really am excited about is I’ve created courses and curriculum. We have a book coming out called Teach me money. There’s just endless ways that I love helping people, but it’s all about the person. I don’t want to Give you a presentation with 10 talking points, and you walk out and say, Man, that guy was phenomenal. I’m not good. I don’t remember any of them. But remember enjoying it, I want to, I want to simplify it. I want to give it to you in digestible fashion that you understand it, you begin to strategize it and then you go and be efficient with those strategies in your life. And so that’s why I really love the acronym, U S. E, I want you to use money, understand, strategize and be efficient. And so my presentations today are much more workshops, they Okay, we walked through a deliverable instead of 10 topics. I go through three, there’s something magical about the number three, yeah. And then I leave you with actionable items to go take in your personal journey. And I think that’s where the shift has been really making a difference is the response people have is, Jett entertained it a little bit more than expected. You really engaged me, but you’ve empowered me to go do this. And that last part is we’re financial engine is really lacked in the past the content. Yeah. Is is not, you know, brand new some of it has changed as the financial industry has changed. So, can we create actionable items, that’s where the success is could become, yeah help people to actually take action and get results At the end of the day.
Exactly. Just a different than an athlete.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Yeah. Just in terms of the presentation, as something of interest as well, having played in front of 70,000 people in the NFL when you first started presenting in the financial space, were you nervous at all? Do you ever get nervous at all or was that just is just a walk in the park after, after your other experiences.
I did get nervous. Because it mattered to me. I wanted to translate my my message I wanted to communicate it. That that was what I got nervous about. No knowing that the room of 10 2200 was not gonna Run at me and try to hit me. It took some of the nerves away. So it was definitely not as intimidating.
Okay, brilliant, brilliant. Yeah, brilliant stuff. And it sounds like you’re really connecting with people in terms of you know, meaning in terms of your, your, your book, it’s got a great title and a very simple title Teach me money. So I, I really get from you that you are connecting with people on a level that is perhaps a bit more straightforward. And a little bit less sort of jargony than perhaps what some others might be up to,
is that so one of the things I want to do is remove the jargon. And just as I say your financial story, I consider myself a storyteller. I want to take this this foreign language of money and communicate it to you in ways you understand it. So I compare the pension and the 401k industries to the train and the personal automobile. Why well, because One is on a track and very, you know, remote to exactly where you’re going to go. And the other you have a lot more control over. Well, those are pensions and they’re going extinct in the 401k is your personal automobile and you have autonomy over that. I love going into classes and courses. And when we touch on, you know, I taxes we go to an ice cream parlor, when we talk about insurance, we own a boat, and we’re out using a boat. And that goes all the way up. So my target My heart, my niche is young professionals, you know, 17 to 30. But I teach and empower all the way up to freedom and retirement and preparing for that. And so there’s 1,000,001 different questions, but the the objective is, how can I tell you a story that you’re going to understand this area of money and you’re not going to even know we’re talking about money until the very end and obviously I get to use my athletic background. A little bit of What I know and that expertise to communicate some things, and you know, I use, you know, offense and defense and those kinds of analogies, even around active and passive investing, I use different styles of coaching. And so I get to taper into both sides of the worlds I love. And it comes off in a fun, storied atmosphere that again, like you said, People walk out saying, it was silly. It was stupid. He made me smile a little, but it made sense. And I’m gonna go do one of the things he was talking about. Yeah,
yeah, yeah, I like that, because the entertainment component is important. But as you rightly said it, it’s not that valuable. If it’s just entertainment, you can go and see a comedy show, right? But if it has the entertainment that then leads, you know, or rather than entertainment, sort of an upbeat presentation that I know is that sort of style of presentation that you give, if that then leads into the action, and people go away and they they take it They do something, then it’s all worthwhile.
Absolutely. That’s everything that if the presentation is for one person and they go do one thing, it was a success in my eyes, because you know, you can’t change the world but you can’t you can change one person’s world. Yeah. And that’s how I see, you know, the last generation had an awakening around physical wellness. I see our generation having an awakening around financial wellness and not making money, the focus or the noun of the subject, but seeing money is that vehicle that verb, that action that is going to get you to your destination, changing that shift because financial wellness is not around becoming a millionaire financial wellness is around finding the lifestyle that leads to your freedom.
Absolutely. And that’s different for everyone.
Wow. Amazing stuff jed. Really, I’ve really, I’ve really, really, really enjoyed this.
Thank you very much. I’ve, like I said, I love what you’re doing. I love the day and age of where we are that I get to connect with you and your audience and shoot, you’re continuing to grow and has success. It’s like this is, this is just a really cool time to be sitting in your shoes and sitting in my shoes. It is.
It is amazing. It’s amazing what we can do nowadays. It really is. And I love the fact as you said that we can connect in this way. So. So Jed, well, I would love to talk to you more, but I am going to wrap it up. Now I’m going to give you a couple of I’m going to give you a couple of minutes. Tell us about your websites tell us where people can get in touch. Tell us about your book, and then we’ll, we’ll finish up.
I appreciate it. So I love connections. So please, I’m on LinkedIn at Jedediah Collins. I’ve been told and convinced by the younger demographic I needed to join Instagram, which I did last week. So that said Jed period Collins 45 I’m on Twitter at Jed Collins 45 please follow me connect with me. We Have the book Teach me money coming out? Right now the launch date is January 1. But I send out a ton of content, a ton of tips, ton of videos. In the meantime, around all different kinds of subjects would love to connect with you, mostly if you have questions. I love creating content based on students and people I’ve interacted with their questions and their comments. So I fully welcome that. But Paul, I just I appreciate your morning. I appreciate your time. And thank you for providing this stage for me. And I know you and I will stay connected. So I look forward to the next time.
Absolutely, absolutely. No, thanks to you. Thanks to you, Jed, you’ve been amazing. You’ve shared so much value, so much inspiration, and I’m really really grateful to you for your time. So thank you.
Excellent. Enjoy the day.
Okay, you too. All the best. Bye. Bye. Wow, what a great chat that was with Jed, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did some really useful and inspiring stuff in there. To find out more more about Jed Don’t forget to check out the show notes on our website at www dot freelancers, and entrepreneurs calm and while you’re there. Don’t forget to check out the free training session and the link to the coaching sessions, the 15 minute coaching call. It’s completely free. There’s a link at the top of the website there. So that’s www dot freelancers, and entrepreneurs calm as always, thank you so much for being a part of the freelancers and entrepreneurs community. Thank you so much for listening. All the very best. Until next time, bye bye