Jacob Peden is 28 years old and in January of 2016, left his career in the NFL to start a door-to-door sales company.
In 2009, upon returning from a 2-year service mission in Micronesia, he enrolled in school at Utah Valley University. He graduated in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Community Health. His aspiration: to become a Head Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NFL. Of the thousands of students that graduate every year in Community Health and Exercise Science (one in approximately 30,000) achieve a career at the collegiate or professional level.
During his first internship, Jacob came to realize his degree would never be enough to land his goal and that he would have to work and network his talents beyond what he thought possible. To support himself and his wife while working as an unpaid intern at Brigham Young University Football Program, he worked nights as a security guard at a mink farm. For 3 years this was an average day for Jacob: 5:00 AM wake up – meet the team for morning workout from 6:00 AM–9:00 AM. Class from 9:30 AM–2:00 PM, back to the weight room to work out the football team from 2:30 PM–6:00 PM, homework from 7:00 PM–10:00 PM, sleep from 10:00 PM–12:00 PM, then working at the farm from Midnight until 4:00 AM, he would then return home to sleep for an hour until his alarm woke him again at 5:00 AM.
Despite living this way, he kept his goal in sight. After graduation, he worked down the list of NFL teams, nagging and pestering every NFL team until all 32 teams had been contacted, the Atlanta Falcons agreed (on the 5th call) to a phone interview. The coach set up a phone interview, but Jacob knew it wouldn’t be enough. He scraped the funds together and flew to Atlanta unbeknownst to the team. When they called for the phone interview, he had just landed in Atlanta. He convinced them to meet him at a Chili’s near the facility to conduct the interview in person. They were impressed by his tenacity and hired him a week later.
He gave himself completely to his job for two years. He built on an already strong work ethic, cultivated discipline and most importantly, learned the value of strong relationships. It was this attribute that lead him to consider changing course the course and fate of his and his wife Melissa.
In keeping with his work ethic and moral code, Jacob came to understand there was a growing riff between who he knew he was and who he was becoming. The rigorous travel schedule combined with a growing imbalance between his workload and compensation began to wear on his relationships with those he loved most, including his wife. He spent his last months fighting a battle between his dream and reality.
In October, Jacob’s brother Aaron (a veteran in the technician satellite world and now partner of Wave Communications) called him. They had a long conversation about where they both were in life, what they truly cared about, and by the end of it set the wheels in motion to partner and start a business together. Jacob does not regret his time in the NFL, and many have expressed doubt in him for abandoning something so potentially lucrative and prestigious. When asked about the reasons behind this life-changing decision, he had this to say:
“2 reasons: One, The NFL did not allow me to live the standards to which I hold myself, and two, it prevented me from cultivating a closer bond to those I loved most. My wife and family are the most important thing in my life, and I am building Wave Communications with my brother and partners in order to afford others the same opportunities I hold so dear.”