We had the good fortune of connecting with Isiah Neely and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isiah, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking plays a substantial role of where I am today. Leading up to starting my own business I always did things that kept me in my comfort zone because I had more of a control on how things played out. I played sports my whole life which was a vehicle that land me to College of Slippery Rock University where I also played football. Once I graduated, the million dollar question from society is what’s next? Do you have a Job lined up? I didn’t know what was next and I didn’t have a job lined up. I didn’t get to go celebrate like some of my peers did. Immediately after my graduation ceremony I had a big responsibility to take on.
Unfortunately during my senior year of college (2017) my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I decided I wanted to go back home and be alongside her while she is battling a life or death situation! I knew it was going to be a challenging journey so I decided to pursue something that I promised her as a kid. I promised her that I would make it to the NFL. The safe route would have been looking for a 9-5 job to help support my mom financially but I chose not to take that route. During that time of being a caregiver for my mom, I would wake up early in the morning and spend a couple hours training with my personal trainer then go home and take care of my mom. Mentally it was exhausting taking on two things head on that is very unknown! 1 being there for my mom mentally physically and emotionally 2. Making it to the NFL.
Fast forwarding, I didn’t make it to the NFL but I received a contract to Play in the Indoor Football League. I had a decision to make to stay home with my mom or go pursue a career that would land me 13 hours away from my mom. The Quad City Steamwheelers are located in Illinois. I was torn on what to do but I had a long conversation with my mom and we decided that signing the contract and playing professionally for the Steamwheelers could be a stepping stone to the NFL. While I was playing football for the Steamwheelers. My mom would call her friends over to watch my games since she couldn’t attend them. During my off days of playing I was personal training a high school kid in Illinois during my off days. I started to really enjoy giving back the knowledge I learned throughout my career of playing. I decided to stop playing football and go back home. Although I was grateful for the opportunity of playing professionally I didn’t like the style of Indoor football. At that point I didn’t have a plan I just left and knew I wanted to be closer to my mom while she’s battling breast cancer. At this point of my life I was lost mentally. Football was all I thought I new. Football was my escape, the field was my sanctuary! It all came to an end on my terms but I knew there was something more for me then just playing the game of football. I decided to start a brand called Rise Above Sports Training and Skill Development. I had a vision and decided to turn it into a reality. I started it without even having any clients but I knew if I commit to it and have faith in God that everything will work out for the greater. A year later it became my full time job training a NFL player( Dane Jackson) NBA( Cam Johnson) and a host of athletes from the surrounding areas of my hometown of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. It’s a blessing working for myself and making a difference in society. To conclude, embrace the unknown because in order to Rise Above you will be faced with challenges that will force you to elevate!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The key is to never give up on your vision. That’s what separates me because I’m not in competition with anyone else but myself. Having your own business is never easy and being that I am learning as I grow makes it difficult but I enjoy the process. However building relationships and having an open mind to learn from others in all areas is crucial for success. Also go with your gut feeling and don’t make decisions when you are desperate! Rise Above isn’t just sports training it’s a mentality that is needed to unleash your full potential.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother deserves credit for inspiring me to never give up. My faith in God because without him none of this is possible. My coaches, family and close friends that challenge me to become the best version of myself. Also my Rise Above family.
Beau Keally Daelin Johnson