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I have spent the last several years interviewing over 100 elite athletes and others. These interviews were designed with a structured questionnaire and produced important common PRACTICES that were essential to their future success. This research has culminated in a book entitled Personal Next: What We Can Learn From Elite Athletes About Creating New Success. I believe these PRACTICES were critical to their successful transition are extremely important for others looking to discover a Personal Next.

Society needs heroes, and sport gives us heroes. But what happens when athletes leave their sport – due to injury, failing desire, addictions, or because they are forced out when they lose a step on the new crop of younger athletes coming up? These post-sport struggles are very much in the news. Every day we hear of athletes suffering from mental health issues and CTE, fighting for their financial and legal rights, and coping with crises of changing identity, personal trauma, and other challenges they face when the cheering stops.

Is there a way to help athletes learn from their first pinnacle of success within sport, and to help them achieve new pinnacles of fulfillment and true happiness in their post-sport lives? I firmly believe these two pinnacles are related and intertwined, and what led to athletic success can be a foundation for athletes’ post-sport fulfillment. In the book I explore the highs, lows, and then the new highs of the athlete’s entire life experience.

For the book, I interviewed a broad spectrum of athletes, including Olympic and World Championship medal winners, professional athletes from CFL, LPGA, MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League), PGA, and UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), as well as amateur and college athletes from basketball, canoe, cross-country skiing, cycling, downhill skiing, dragon boat, equestrian, field hockey, football, hockey, kayak, rowing, rugby, soccer, swimming, synchronized swimming, track and field, trampoline, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. I also interviewed survivors who have experienced addiction, personal tragedies, and health issues, and others who have gone through major transitions.

The insights in Forward can be put to use throughout an athlete’s playing and post-sport career.

The publication date will be April 21, 2020. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to me at melinda@melindaharrison.com

Comments From First Readers

  • “You write with such clarity and insight, which made for a wonderful time with the text. I learned so much about the life of elite athletes and I was impressed by your extensive range of interviews.”

  • “The content is so powerful. Athletes will understand these words. The book certainly sparked me.”

  • “Thank you for this book – I took a lot away from reading it. A lot of this applies to folks like myself who are not athletic and weren’t athletes growing up.”

  • “I want to photocopy that page in your book, put it on my fridge, and read it every day.”

  • “Your commitment to this matter (that resides largely in the shadows) is impressive. Your persistence in moving this challenge into the sunlight will change generations of athletes (and others) for years to come.”