Peter was bold and brave. He must have, at some point, heard the words of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Tell your story, brother.
In mid-May, I was in the library at Santa Clara University, studying for midterms. I paused to check my twitter feed and saw this tweet.
Summer internship for Kaplifestyle: Interested in promoting a health & earning school credit? Submit resume to [email protected]
— gabe kapler (@gabekapler) May 12, 2014
My initial reaction was that there was no way Gabe would see my reply or respond, since he has nearly 40,000 followers. I decided to take that first step anyway. Sure enough the stars aligned, and Gabe bridged the communication with Stephanie. I sent my resume in to Stephanie.
A phone interview soon followed, and I didn’t know what to expect. I knew little about Stephanie, beyond her work with Kaplifestyle and Gabe. I began by focusing on my background and what I could bring to the table. Being a Division I baseball player for 4 years and getting a Finance degree as well actually played well in my interview. I explained I have the business background and also can relate as well as anyone when it comes to baseball, working out, and fitness in general. I asked a bunch of questions about how Kaplifestyle operated and what the short and long term goals were. Stephanie answered those questions very thoroughly and thoughtfully for me. After that interviews can have an awkward ending if there was not a lot of mutual ground. However, if I recall, I talked to Steph for at least 10 minutes after. Steph and I continue to have these great conversations, but I believe it all started with that interview.
After my first phone call with Gabe, I truly began to feel like a part of the Kaplifestyle family. Though just a brief call to welcome me on board, he spoke of how I could be a part of the Kaplifestyle vision. Being a part of the team and having Gabe’s support was very important.
My internship started with a standard slate of tasks like responding to readers, company research, social media research, etc. However, I began to really think about how I can make an impact on the Kaplifestyle community. I wanted to make it grow while maintaining the community feel. I still look at the site multiple times of day and see how we can make it even better in every aspect. While I still respond to the contact form and handle any small tasks, I really reach out to Gabe and Steph with ideas for growth and how to increase our presence online.
Fast forward 4 months, I am driving (from San Francisco) to Palm Springs to spend some time with family for the weekend. During that drive, an idea popped in my head like the cartoons when the light bulbs go off. Perhaps I could find a way to get a coffee with Gabe or breakfast over the weekend. I sent him a text about the situation. Within minutes, he responded to say, “Saturday I am busy all day, Sunday morning you could do breakfast at 8 or sprints at 10.” My eyes were wide open, and I knew I was going to make it work no matter how far I had to drive or hoops I had to jump through. For those who are familiar with the outlay of Southern California, Palm Springs is about a 3 plus hour drive to Malibu (where Gabe lives). Sunday morning sure enough, alarm goes off at 4:00AM or so, and I am off to Malibu. I literally had no idea what to expect or if I could even find his house. I arrived on time (if you know Gabe he is about as efficient with his time as anyone I have ever met). I can vouch for anyone in the KL community; Gabe talks the talk, but also walks the walk. My breakfast was precisely organized with some fruit, spinach, 2 slices of toast, and then about 4 eggs with mushrooms. Oh and, of course, the coffee! We chatted about my life for a bit, chatted about Kaplifestyle for a little bit, and, of course, I had to ask some baseball questions! I learned a lot about Gabe and how he operates that morning, and to this day I will remember that and it continues to motivate me and I am sure motivates others in this community as well. Next time I might have to bring some steak over.
When you are nearing your end at college, you obviously are trying to figure out what your next career move will be and what you want to do. It can be a stressful time. I had plenty of stress going because I love Kaplifestyle and will do anything to help, but realistically, I did not see myself being an intern for my entire life. I wanted to combine my business background with my baseball background (my family is pretty invested in baseball, since I played 4 years in college and my brother just started his freshman year playing ball at Stanford). I thought about things like working for an MLB team’s front office and working my way up, but that was really my only idea.
A few months ago, I received a text from Gabe asking, “Can you chat this afternoon for a bit?” Immediately, I begin preparing all my documents that I have worked on for Kaplifestyle and was prepared for just about anything he was going to ask (you should have seen the set up with the documents on my desk).
It wasn’t Kaplifestyle related, however. He wanted to know about my potential interest in the GM position of one of the largest baseball facilities in the San Fernando Valley called Diamond Star Sports. Gabe is a big part of that facility and its growth over the last couple years. My immediate reaction was to explain how I am still in school and this and that and didn’t think much of it. I hung up the phone and sat down for literally less than 5 minutes before I fired off a text to Gabe saying, “Wow, actually I think I would really be interested.”
Gabe warned me that I lacked experience. I believe his exact words were, “I am essentially throwing you to the wolves with this one, but I think you have a shot.”
Just like my original experience, I sent off my resume, followed by an initial phone interview. Next thing you know, I’m asked to come down for an in-person interview. I’m juggling school, coaching a 13u travel ball team, Kaplifestyle and working out. Of course, I told them I’d be there any time that they would like. I ended up making an 11 hour round trip one Saturday (had to get back for coaching Sunday morning!). The interview went well. After one further trip down to LA, I received the call – I had been offered the job.
I have now sent in my petition to graduate, and I am finishing up my finals and last term papers. I have picked out a place to live and am in the process of relocating to Southern California.
The takeaway from this entire story is that it all began with one tweet and a little bit of follow up. It has become so much more. I will be starting my first “real” job out of college and have plans to make a big impact and be a great leader for Diamond Star. It’s a new job, in a new city, with new people. This will be an adventure and a journey, and I look forward to it every night leading up to it.
I really appreciate Gabe, his support and recommendation to throw me in for consideration. I have already learned a tremendous amount about how to live an enjoyable, healthy life while working my ass off and not wasting time. Seeing what he does motivates me daily whether it is Kaplifestyle related, school related, family related, or sports related.
I look forward to the possibility of continuing that relationship with Gabe as I begin at Diamond Star and still assist with Kaplifestyle, because both are extremely important to me and have helped me discover what I want in my post-baseball career.
The moral of the story is to never leave a stone unturned, always follow up, continue searching, relentlessly persevere and eventually something will present itself and give you your next chapter in life.
Maybe I can get my sprints or lift in with Gabe now that I moving down there? (I love to compete no matter what it is!)
Gotta go pack my bags into my car! The journey begins.