Paul Rabil is the most recognisable athlete in Lacrosse and plays for Team USA and the New York Lizards. His record speaks for itself he is a 6 time Lacrosse Champion and 3 time league MVP. Given the relative small size of Lacrosse in U.S professional sport, Paul has done an amazing job to establish his brand and build it to rival many of the major athletes across the big sports in America.
He has an amazing work ethic and an ability to build key relationships. Away from Lacrosse Paul is thriving and is a pioneer of what I believe will be an emergence of a new style of modern day athlete which includes versatility in business and media.
I first became aware of Paul through an Instagram post by my friend Joe DeFranco. Joe is one of the premier strength and conditioning coaches in the industry and also does very well on the business front. Paul interviewed Joe early on in an episode of his podcast Suiting Up.
I would relate very much so with Paul’s interviewing style as we share a love of sport and a curiosity of how athletes and front office management use and develop talent, techniques and display leadership to achieve sustainable success.
The calibre of guest already on Paul’s podcast Suiting Up is second to none. He has explored the minds of the likes of Bill Belichick, Venus Williams, Steve Nash, Dane Swan, Randy Foye, Jay Williams, Tiki Barber, Jeremy Lin, Drew Brees and many more.
On this episode of the Talking with TK podcast I had the opportunity to flip the script to sit down with Paul Rabil and learn the life of an athlete, entrepreneur and story teller.
Listen to the entire episode on the player below or continue to find the stand out learning points from the chat.
The power of relationships
Paul has done a brilliant job to create a brand despite not having the leverage of a playing for a big market team or sport. However straight out the college he has aligned himself with the correct corporate partners and has made it a priority to build key relationships and go in with a "Give First" attitude. A great example is his relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick who he will partner with in an event hosted by their foundations.
Work Ethic and Preparation can be a great equaliser
Paul grew up with a learning disability which is a major “why” behind his initiatives with his foundation. Despite his struggles he would find a way in both sports and academics. He would attend a great academic college at John Hopkins where we would study Political Science and Entrepreneurship while his experience in sports being a major factor in helping develop the work ethic he has today.
“Sports for me was an outlet to build my confidence up. I tended to excel and I was pretty athletic. But I really loved playing and would out practice my team mates no matter what sport. I would watch a tonne of tape. When I was younger that’s how I acquired skill. If I was playing Lacrosse I would watch reruns of the final 4. Basketball I would watch Michael Jordan on television and mimic his move’s in the back yard”
Curiosity can be a major tool in self-development and continued learning. The power of curiosity and asking questions outside the norm is the reason I love podcasting so much. The ability to pick the brain of high performers and ask anything you want is not something everybody gets to do so it’s wise to take the opportunity is you get it. It is also a general reminder to be curious even in everyday life, so get curious and interested in people.
“I didn’t have this grand vision on my own. It came through curiosity. I’m always curious what the major brands are doing. I signed with Under Armour straight out of school and spent a lot of time with Kevin Plank. Watching this CEO take his company from private to public and launch the shoe line. The interest was there and I started asking lots of questions. I was always willing to participate and ask how can I grow my audience”
Paul has an interesting dynamic where various members of his family play key roles within his projects and businesses. His brother Mike is a key business partner in Rabil events and ventures while his father is also involved in the business and his mother plays a key role within the Paul Rabil Foundation. When it comes to business most market places are saturated with similar products or services, Paul points out the key way to be different is through the people:
“What I’ve learnt as an Investor and working with other companies. The product and brand is what it is. Moving the needle happens with the people – that’s the biggest challenge”
Paul has done a great job finding the right fit of people around him in his companies. Those who have similar values and bring unique skill sets to the team. Another reminder of looking after people and being picky with the people we surround ourselves with.
To summarise the key learning points from Paul:
1. Always look to build key networks and relationships
2. Control your work ethic and preparation
3. Be curious and always be open to learning
4. Prioritise looking after people and choose your inner circle carefully
Be sure to to follow Paul online and on social media:
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