It has never been my desire to follow the norm. Not sure why, other than maybe a love for the pleasure and pain of going against the grain. Two weeks after graduating college, while my classmates were off finding careers, I was on a plane headed to training camp to play professional football. Post athletic journey, while most of my peers were building resume bullet points, I was learning how to (and how not to) build a business. If you’re looking for perfection, you’re in the wrong place. I have learned so much more from my failures, yet despite them all, I have learned to embrace my authentic self. I am a social entrepreneur, an athlete, a leader, an innovator, and the overjoyed founder, co-founder, and advisor to a half dozen businesses all seeking to make a difference in this world today and for future generations.
THE JOURNEY TO HERE AND NOW:
I have been an athlete my entire life. I have had tremendous success and challenges in sport. After four years of bouncing around following a dream of playing professional football, I ended my athletic career and decided to join the real world. As an athlete, I was fully responsible for my success on the field. My body was my temple. I logged everything I ate for five years, I tracked every workout. I marketed myself, sold my skills to coaches and general managers, and worked harder than anyone. Once my dream career came to an end, I still had this drive that needed to be fulfilled.
After taking a few jobs, that drive of mine was starting to pound louder in my head. Being a professional athlete was no longer my path. The more and more I listened to this the drive, the more I found my authentic self in entrepreneurship. I was not raised by uber entrepreneurs or big time business owners. I didn’t study business in college (couldn’t get past Accounting 101), nor did I have a map for how to create and sustain the lifestyle of an entrepreneur. I just took action.
In 2004 I began my journey as an entrepreneur as I started the first of two businesses. All was seemly moving in the right direction. My wife and I started a family, business was booming (enter visual of Cletus riding off into the sunset). That was, of course, until my life shifted on August 3rd 2007. While on vacation with my wife and our new baby boy, I received a phone call from Northern California that rocked my world. My youngest sister had suddenly collapsed and wouldn’t ever recover. Being 2,500 miles away, I had no time to get back. Thankfully I was given 30 seconds to say good-bye to her over the phone. They were 30 seconds that forever changed my life.
Unfortunately most find there own personal development path only after a life altering tragedy.
I was no different. After the passing of my sister, and the experience saying good-bye to her, completely shifted my entire existence. I virtually put the brakes on everything. Not being much of a reader, I began to pick up every personal development and business book I could get my hands on. I found mentors, leaders, people much smarter than me. I listened, took crazy notes, and questioned. I questioned everything, including my intentions, my purpose, and my values.
I spent the next 18 months un-raveling my businesses, which put my family into a huge financial hole. At the same time I was mapping out who I was and what I wanted to do (much to the chagrin of my wife). Yet, I started to see life through a new lens. I really don’t know how to explain it but my little sister taught me a lot about life, and gave me the blessing to live far bigger, and more inspired than I could ever have imagined. End result: I want to make a difference. A BIG difference.
I have gained an incredible amount of wisdom from this experience. My business knowledge has exploded and I have found myself passionate about social entrepreneurship and aligning business innovation with social responsibility. I have found new business ventures that feed this passion, and new opportunities to be a leader in a the new way of doing business.
I rekindled a passion for health and fitness, competing as an athlete again, and inspiring others to find get busy finding their authentic health.
More than anything I’ve learned the value of love, the opportunity to give, the need to constantly be evolving, and the importance of flexibility. Life has not straight lines.
To learn more, you’ll have to contact me. Let’s grab a smoothie (event if it’s a virtual one). I’d love to know what I can do help your journey.
Cletus Coffey is a former professional athlete and World Champion track and field athlete. Having always been involved in sports, Cletus has developed a crazy passion for developing high performance leaders in health, sports, and business.
Everything changed for Cletus in the summer of 2007, when his 17 year old sister passed away due to heart failure. Being 2,500 miles away at that time, he was given 30 seconds over the phone to say good-bye. They were 30 seconds that changed his life.
After her passing, support poured in from local nonprofit organizations. It was during this time that Cletus came to realize there were major gaps in support of social causes. This lead Cletus to found InnovateLive, a cause marketing organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the world’s most pressing causes by creating value-based giving projects that empower, educate, and inspire members of our communities. In the spirit of contribution and collaboration, InnovateLive projects also serve as a platform for nonprofit organizations and corporate partners to connect and support each other.
Cletus is quickly becoming a leader in a new era of cause marketing where social causes are built into the core foundations of business, rather than businesses simply supporting social causes.
Having successfully drawn parallels between athletics and business, Cletus wants to experience a world full of healthy and successful businesses and physically healthy business leaders (not either/or).
He lives in Seattle, Washington with his entrepreneur and soccer playing wife, their two young boys, and still trains and competes in track and field.