Growing Through an Identity Crisis with Asante Cleveland

]“Have the courage to be bad at something new.”

That’s the advice from this week’s podcast guest Asante Cleveland — a podcast host, speaker, and retired NFL player. He had a 4-year career in the NFL that took him abruptly from the San Francisco 49ers to the New England Patriots, before ending his career with the Chargers, due to an injury. After losing the only career he ever knew, he was left in the midst of an identity crisis. Asante had a tough time, dealing with depression while seeking a new path and finding himself, but he made it to the other side.

It wasn’t always Asante’s dream to play football, but after picking up the sport in high school he realized that he had his sights set on the NFL. When the college offers rolled in, he attended the University of Miami to continue his football journey. By his senior year, he hustled to make a name for himself, earned time on the field, and was eventually signed by the 49ers. This was just the beginning of his NFL journey.

During his first year in the NFL, Asante learned the business side of football, and just how quickly change happens. One day he was headed to practice with the 49ers and instead he was told he was being traded. He immediately moved across the country and joined a team he knew nothing about — the Patriots. While the change was abrupt, he had the chance to learn from some of the best in the league, and he was excited. It was in New England where he learned about staying accountable and staying calm when things keep moving around you.

When his NFL career came to an end, due to an injury, Asante felt lost. In his own words, he was in the middle of an identity crisis. Instead of letting the uncertainty discourage him, he took a moment to reflect on the power in the process. He put himself out there and tried different career paths from real estate to broadcasting. None of them were a fit.

Today, he is motivated by sharing his story to a generation of young individuals who might be going through similar experiences (or emotions) that he once was. Through his podcast, The White Tiger, he interviews entrepreneurs about working through transition and overcoming adversity. Asante believes that the journey of finding yourself is a never ending one, but for now finds fulfillment in inspiring others through self-discovery.

  • What else can you expect in this episode?
  • The story of Asante’s four-year NFL career, and what brought it to a close
  • How COVID presents a great opportunity to reinvent yourself
  • The quarantine hobby Asante picked up
  • The tools Asante used to work through his lowest moments
  • The childhood memory that still inspires him to this day.
Growing Through Identity Crisis

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