John Strotbeck of Overnight Media Group: “Grit”

Grit! You build the mentality that if you get knocked down 100 times, you will get back up 101 times. Going back to what I said previously about the navy seal “hell week” moment, you have to have that determination and will to fight through. That mentality can be implemented across the board from athletics […]

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Grit! You build the mentality that if you get knocked down 100 times, you will get back up 101 times. Going back to what I said previously about the navy seal “hell week” moment, you have to have that determination and will to fight through. That mentality can be implemented across the board from athletics to business, personal life, and beyond.


As a part of our series about the work ethic lessons we can learn from professional athletes, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin McReynolds.

Kevin C. McReynolds is a former athlete and current serial entrepreneur. McReynolds leveraged his experience in sports and business to launch overnight media with a mission to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. In its latest production, McReynolds created Bank After Ball, a series dedicated to changing the narrative about athletes.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up right outside of Washington DC. I was blessed to have two great parents in my life that really instilled the lessons in me that I needed to learn at a young age and they always supported my entrepreneurial endeavors even early on in my journey.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete?

While I never made it professionally because of a couple of concussions I had while at UCLA, it helped me learn quicker than most athletes that football will end one day and ultimately, it was important to start preparing for other plans one day. Those concussions ended up being a blessing in disguise and while I may not have realized it at the time, they truly helped push me to build the life I have today.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

This is a great question, nobody in this world can accomplish a high level of success on their own. I was blessed to have some great mentors that helped me along the way as well as an incredibly supportive family. Right now, I am incredibly grateful for my team, as I wouldn’t be able to accomplish nearly as much without their support and work ethic.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

It is hard to nail down one but one year for training camp at UCLA, our coach, Jim Mora Jr. decided that we were going to do an abbreviated version of “hell week” with former navy seals as a team-building exercise. While at the moment it may have been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I hated every second of it, it really taught me about the importance of teamwork and trust. Additionally, what I think it taught me the most was that your mind is your biggest obstacle and just like when you train your body, you are constantly moving the needle in the right direction. You can often push yourself a lot more than what your mind tells you.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As an athlete, you often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

I love this question because we all deal with stress and high-pressure situations differently but personally, I focus on these things: sleep, planning, visualization, and manifestation. My belief has always been that if you want to accomplish something in life there can be no doubt in your mind that you are going to accomplish that thing.

Can you tell us the story of your transition from a professional athlete to a successful business person?

While I never played professionally, I often had side businesses or side hustles while I was in college. When I finished my MBA at the University of Nevada my focus changed towards building a company that was much more scalable long term. I decided to implement my skills and work at a social media startup where I further learned lifelong tools and built a network that I could continue growing once I was ready to return to the entrepreneurship path. Ultimately, that’s what led me to start Overnght Media Group.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now?

We are working on some really exciting projects at Overnght. Currently, our show Bank After Ball was just released. It comes out every Wednesday at 3 pm EST/12 pm PST. We created Bank After Ball to tell the financial and business journeys of former and current athletes during and after their careers to inspire the next wave of athletes to do better and to succeed long term in more than just athletics. It’s time to change the narrative on athletes and how they are so much more than just a word. You can catch every episode on Youtube HERE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJRxOjRPQcChm5keW7zn8LA

Season one boasts an impressive lineup including Donovan Carter (Actor on the hit TV show, Ballers), Peng Peng (Olympian, Actress, Influencer), Aaron Wallace (Former NFL Player, Entrepreneur) Dietrich Riley (Top Real Estate Agent, Model), Amanda McGrew (CEO of Playoff Dating App), Lorrie Fair Allen (World Cup Champion U.S., Olympic Gold medalist, Olympic Silver medalist, three-time national champion at the University of North Carolina, and Founding Investor in Angel City FC), and Vic Enwere (Former Cal Student Athlete, Athlete Rep).

Do you think your experience as a professional athlete gave you skills that make you a better entrepreneur? Can you give a story or example about what you mean?

Being an athlete, whether that is at the college or professional level, gives you a lot of tools that allow you to be successful as an entrepreneur. First of which is how to deal with failure and to keep pushing. As an athlete, you’re not going to win every game or match but what you learn to do is dissect what went wrong and build on that. Other traits that athletes tend to develop include: work ethic, being comfortable with the uncomfortable (flexibility and tenacity), time management, and a host of others as well. When I look back, I realize that many of the deals, opportunities, and collaborations that I have secured in life were because I was persistent and ultimately, never took “no” for an answer. I truly believe that athletics teaches you how to get knocked down but get back up. Our show, Bank After Ball, really shares in-depth stories on this topic from various former and current athletes as well.

Ok. Here is the main question of our interview. Entrepreneurs and professional athletes share a common “hustle culture”. Can you share your “5 Work Ethic Lessons That Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Athletes”? Please share a story or an example for each.

Grit! You build the mentality that if you get knocked down 100 times, you will get back up 101 times. Going back to what I said previously about the navy seal “hell week” moment, you have to have that determination and will to fight through. That mentality can be implemented across the board from athletics to business, personal life, and beyond.

Teamwork

Communication

Cooperation

Flexibility, you always need to know when to pivot!

What would you advise to a young person who aspires to follow your footsteps and emulate your career? What advice would you give?

In one of my recent interviews for Bank After Ball, a guest expressed the notion of failing as much as you can and trying so many things when you’re young because as you get older failure and risk are a lot more calculated due to different obligations. This really stuck with me and is a great piece of advice to pass along!

You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Thank you for that. With my success, I always want to show a younger generation that there is more than one way to be successful. While I may have not made it to the league, I used my network and resources to build Overnght and countless other businesses. I love going back and mentoring youth because I feel as though it’s our duty to give kids hope and help them chart an even more successful and fulfilling future. Each generation learns something new, so why not pass those lessons down to help build an even better path for our children, their children, and beyond.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I personally think that we need to change the narrative a little bit when it comes to sports. While I think it is great to aspire to be a professional athlete, I also think we need to put more support around our youth to push them to want to be more entrepreneurs, small business owners, and so forth. I say this because the more businesses that are started, the more communities we can change for the better.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” My college coaches, Jim Mora and Sal Alosi always said this. If you aren’t fazed by anything you can make sound decisions under pressure which is a skill a lot of people struggle with. This will also help you prepare for the unexpected.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

There are so many of them!

Bob Iger, the former CEO of Disney because he has overseen some of the biggest acquisitions in history while staying true to the Disney Brand.

Rupert Murdoch to pick his brain about creating the largest news empire in the world!

Whitney Wolfe Herd because I believe her story is fascinating given everything she has overcome to get to where she is. I also think that she always seems to be one step ahead of her competition.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!


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