It is not easy for an athlete to excel at the top of their sport. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to not only make it as a professional but then become of the best in your league. No doubt, it helps to have people assisting you on your journey to the top.
One such person who is a “secret weapon” for some of the best athletes in the sports world is Eric Thomas, a life coach who has a tendency to squeeze even more greatness out of star athletes who are already at the top of their game.
Who is Eric Thomas?
Thomas is an unassuming motivational coach who works with some of the most successful athletes and celebrities in the entertainment world, according to a profile by GQ.
He calls himself the country’s “number one” motivational speaker, but even if that’s not true he is one of the best. Millions of people watch his YouTube videos, and his Instagram followers also number in seven digits. His clients include top executives for well-known brands, including Nike, AT&T, and Procter & Gamble.
But his biggest influences come through his uniquely close relationships with some of the world’s biggest entertainment and sports stars. Unlike most people in his industry, Thomas doesn’t try to sell people on shortcuts to success. Instead, he makes sure his clients know they will have to dig deep and grind hard to find success when working with him.
How he’s become a top life coach
In his late-teen years, Thomas met a pastor who convinced him he had a gift for motivating people. When Thomas recalls that event, he seems to think that all of his charisma, intelligence, and drive emanates from his throat, the tool he uses to help others.
That may be true because it’s his prowess as a speaker that helped him unlock his career, fame, influence, and fulfillment. He began his speaking career locally in Lansing, Michigan, where he was living at the time. He uploaded his first video to YouTube in 2008; it showed him telling students an anecdote about a near-drowning, which he believes revealed the secret to achievement.
The video didn’t gain much traction until 2011, when a college football player stumbled onto it and sampled Thomas’ audio for his own video. That first video now has more than 46 million views on YouTube, and Thomas has seen his career on the rise ever since then.
His notoriety came quickly after that, when former Panthers LB Thomas Davis got in touch with Thomas almost a decade ago, seeking Thomas’ encouragement for the team. Word got out, and other NFL teams reached out to Thomas to speak to their players.
Athletes Eric Thomas has worked with
Chris Paul is just one of the notable athletes with whom Thomas has worked. They have been close for years, and Thomas often sends Paul voice memos with encouragement and prayers before he takes the court for games.
When Paul worked with Nike to create a new shoe last year, he had a pair decorated with some of Thomas’ inspirational quotes. Thomas also works with the Pacers’ Victor Oladipo. The pair met when Thomas spoke at a team retreat in Miami, and they quickly grew tight.
Oladipo said to GQ “once you build a relationship with him, it’s everlasting.” According to the NBA star, once Thomas “connects with you, he’s with you.” Just after the NBA suspended its season in March, Thomas participated in a Zoom chat with the Timberwolves to help their players think differently about the situation.
Some of the other athletes who Thomas counts among his group of friends are NBA players Isaiah Thomas and J.R. Smith, in addition to NFL stars Cam Newton, Kyle Van Noy, and Kenny Golladay.