Making an Impact with Athletes Off the Field with Tola Ogunlewe

For Tola Ogunlewe, the only thing that’s certain is that at some point, things will change. Whether it’s this year, next year, or a decade down the line, something will shift the course of your life. Whether or not you’re prepared for that change can make all the difference in how successful and satisfied you are once it happens. This week, Ogunlewe talks about transitioning in and out of sports and shares his thoughts on preparing for the future to find fulfillment both on and off the court.

It’s important to understand how the game works, he says. That means coming to terms with the fact that you may play for 20 or 25 years, but probably won’t play professionally for 40 or 50. What will you do after? What skills do you have to put to work once your time as a player is up? It’s a mental exercise to start while you’re still in the game. When you reach the professional level, everyone you’re competing with used to be the best in their hometowns. What sets you apart from them? What makes you unique? Learning to see what you bring to the table is a valuable lesson that will put you on the path to reaching your fullest potential, no matter what the future has in store.

Key Moments You Don’t Want to Miss:

  1. Education first When Tola Ogunlewe struck an agreement with his parents to play sports and earn a degree
  2. A diverging path How an injury led him from player to lawyer
  3. Bigger fish How a trip abroad for his trials showed him at the professional level, you have to go beyond talent
  4. Getting the game How he embraced transition and started his own company to help other athletes succeed

What You’ll Learn:

  • Understand the long arc of the game
  • Prepare for changes before the happen
  • Build mental fortitude
  • Think beyond talent
  • Identify the qualities that make you stand out


 “I think that’s the biggest challenge — going beyond the talent and realizing that, look, there is a lot more that goes into playing sports professionally and excelling at the highest level.” -Tola Ogunlewe

“I think for me, it’s the preparation behind it and not just basking in the moment of, hey, I’m an athlete, I’m getting paid a lot of money, I’m having fun, and all of those things. It’s how prepared are you for the different phases that you’re going to go through?” -Tola Ogunlewe

If anything changes, am I really prepared to do something else? What would that something else be?” -Tola Ogunlewe


You can follow Tola Ogunlewe on Instagram @TolaOgunlewe and find out more about his company and listen to episodes of the Athlete Maestro podcast on his website here.

Mentioned This Week:

  • The All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson; find out more on their Instagram, @allthesmoke.

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Episode 211