Rachel Baribeau is the founder of #ChangingtheNarrative and a national host on SiriusXM collegiate channels. He has visited over 30 college campuses to speak with male athletes about living lives with purpose, passion and platform.
I speak with male athletes about being a KING every day of their lives, especially when no one is looking. This movement focuses on the three P’s: purpose, passion and platform. To break it down: Who are you away from the track, field, diamond, etc.? What makes your heart beat faster? What is your purpose? Because while it’s amazing to be a great athlete, and that is part of your platform, there is more, much more.
We also talk about masculinity and mental health. Quite frankly, I’m trying to destroy the stigma that it’s not masculine or manly to ask for help. Because in actuality, and from a woman’s perspective, that is when you are most strong: when you ask for help and desire to be a better man, a KING!
Lastly we talk about dating and how we really — deep-down — look at women in this day and age. In the moments with their friends, do they objectify women/girls OR do they respect, protect and cherish women? Because if we leave the mentorship of our young men to social media and popular culture, we are doomed.
And I know many a coach like you that are reading this: you care, you want the best for them, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to parent/mentor them all.
I feel you, honestly.
And that’s why I would like to offer what I’ve learned because, quite frankly, we are experiencing all sorts of life-change with this movement. Guys forgiving dead-beat dads, guys reuniting with estranged moms, guys telling me, “I want to be better because I’m going to be a father and I know I’m not doing right.” Or, “I’m not treating my girlfriend like a QUEEN.” (By the way, I also have a program for young ladies, because they need to walk out being a QUEEN everyday of their lives as well.)
The life-change is real.
I’m so grateful I could use my life’s story to affect these young people. And we are just getting started. The first NFL team just called, so the movement is growing.
But here’s what I want to leave you with: What are your players hesitant or ashamed to tell you? What load are they carrying? Is it a load that they aren’t meant to carry? Could you talk to them about it? Could you say, “Hey, I really want you to tell me what’s going on, deep down?” Because here’s what I’ve learned out on the road, here’s what they tell me: “I don’t tell my coach I’m struggling mentally, injured, etc. because I fear losing playing time, his faith in me and/or being seen as weak. In college they fear losing their scholarship.
This is a reality.
So I wonder if we could collectively start to foster a culture, around the country, where our athletes could feel free to lay down their burdens, without judgment or condemnation.
That’s the world I envision – a world where we don’t have young men taking their own lives. A world where there is no more bullying because you are so broken inside or come from a dysfunctional/broken home. A world where young athletes start to set the standard in the way they treat (and protect) young ladies. A world where we have healthy young KINGS and QUEENS in every aspect of their lives. And because of that, they dominate in their sport(s) of choice.
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