As we get closer and closer to college football, I become more and more impatient. While trying to distract myself in the days leading up to the return of football I stumbled across the “Move the Ball” Podcast and saw that the host (Jennifer Garrett) had interviewed a familiar face: former Notre Dame football player, Kory Minor. Who is Jennifer Garrett, and what is the “Move the Ball” podcast? Let me tell you about it!
Do you ever get the feeling you’re going to hit it off with someone before you even have the first conversation? That was the feeling I had before my phone call with Jen, and it was spot on. She’s a dynamic, motivated, go-getter, and was an absolute pleasure to speak with on the phone. I asked her to tell me a bit about herself and how she created her “Move the Ball” brand, and her story was captivating. “I’ve earned seven degrees (Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Electrical Engineering, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Arts (M.A.) in Communication and Leadership Studies, Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Business Transactions, and LL.M. in Taxation. She completed all of her graduate degrees while working full-time and raising her five children.) and spent 20 years working in corporate America ((Boeing, GE, US Government). My goal was to become a Fortune 100 CEO, and I absolutely loved what I did. In 2013, I decided to write a book about football, showing people how they can use the principles and strategies used in the game of football and apply them in their lives. I thought I was going to sell a million copies of my book and be set for the rest of my life, and that just didn’t happen.”
“What did happen, though, was I got a bunch of speaking opportunities, and at that point I decided that this was just going to be a side hustle, and I was going to have to keep my day job. Then, in 2016, I missed a phone call that changed my life. I was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and on this day the phone rang, and I decided I was too busy to answer it. What was the call I missed, you asked? It was a call telling me that my father had died unexpectedly. I purposely didn’t answer the phone because I was too busy. Would my answering the phone have changed what happened? No. But to this day I can’t forgive myself for not answering the phone that day.”
“Here’s what I learned from that day:
1. When you go, the world keeps on going, whether you’re in it or not.
2. You’re replaceable.
“I had built this impressive corporate resume, but I learned that day that when you go, none of that matters. I started thinking long and hard about what I wanted to leave behind. What did I want to do in my life that would be impactful? I had written, ‘Move the Ball,’ had created a presence on social media, and done some speaking engagements. I had, in fact, built quite a presence on social media, and people were starting to share their stories with me, either tagging me or the hashtag #MoveTheBall. And at that point I realized, this is the thing I’m going to leave behind, and it’s how I’m going to make an impact on the world. I’m going to teach people how use the athlete mentality to be successful in life.”
Are you moving forward every day? “In November of 2019, on my dad’s birthday, (and right before the pandemic), I left my six-figure corporate job and began to work on my ‘Move the Ball’ brand. When the pandemic began, my friends began to say, ‘oh man, what bad timing to start a business.’ And I said ‘no, this isn’t bad timing, this is just one more thing we all have to overcome in our lives.’ In the first year of working my ‘Move the Ball’ business I made six figures. My vision for my ‘Move the Ball’ business is to make it a movement. And to do that, I work with athletes and businesspeople, showing them how to move the ball forward, which looks different for each of us.”
I asked Jen, “What is the best part of what you do?” And here’s her answer. “The best part of what I do is being able to make a direct (and indirect) impact on people’s lives. That sounds so generic, but it’s truly a gift. You just never know when something you say or do is touching someone, or how you are touching them. I didn’t leave my job to be able to set my own schedule, I left my job to be able to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Then I asked Jen, “If you could give people one piece of advice, what would it be?” And she gave me two:
1. “Walk by faith and not by sight.” What I mean by that is don’t get caught up in the day-to-day stuff. Trust in yourself, and what you’re doing. and have faith that it’s going to work out the way you want it to. To do that you can’t get tripped up in the day-to-day stuff.
2. Write a life story that you’re never going to want to stop reading. What I mean by that is to live with intention. It’s not about what someone else wants you to do with your life, or about chasing a paycheck. It’s figuring out what your “why” is. It’s about the journey, and not the destination. It’s not just about getting to the outcome, but rather the experiences you have along the way. I know if I show up the right way, and do what I’m supposed to each day, everything will work out.
So, are you intrigued? What to learn more? Her website not only houses her podcast, but a list of services she offers, and a blog with helpful life and business tips. She has some fascinating guests on her podcast, including former Notre Dame football player Kory Minor. If you’ve got some time to kill before football starts, I’d highly recommend checking out her website.
Cheers & GO IRISH!
Jennifer currently serves on the Board of Counselors for the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall’s Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) program and is on the Board for the Women’s National Football Conference (WNFC). Additionally, Jen is involved with a number of non-profit organizations dedicated to helping current and former military service members and professional athletes such as Merging Vets and Players and also Operation Teammate.