The Story of Peter Kim – A Successful Athlete and Entrepreneur

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PeterKim the story of peter kim - a successful athlete and entrepreneur The Story of Peter Kim – A Successful Athlete and Entrepreneur PeterKim

On a recent vacation, I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet and talk with Peter Kim.  Kim is a well-known restaurant owner and entrepreneur in Honolulu, HI although his notoriety began many years ago. 

Peter Kim is Korean-born and he came to the United Stated in 1974.  While in high school, Peter played for the school soccer team until one day the high school football coach saw Kim’s impressive abilities to kick the soccer ball far distances and encouraged Kim to give football a try.  That was the beginning of Kim’s football career.

Kim went on to play at the University of Hawaii although he had his sights set on accomplishing more.  Kim decided that he wanted to transfer to a different university that had a more competitive football program as well to improve his English language skills, so he decided to try out for the infamous University of Alabama football team as a walk on.  At 5 feet 6 inches, he hardly fit the stereotype of an elite football player who could play for one of the best football programs in the country, but low and behold, Kim made the team and played for legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama.

Intrigued by his story, I asked him, how did you manage the pressure when playing football at the University of Alabama?  His response to me was, “I knew that I had a job to do when the team was making its ways down the field and that eventually I might have to kick a field goal.  I would prepare myself by telling myself that I could make it and visualize myself making a successful kick.”  When I told Kim that I was a sport psychologist, he said, “We didn’t have those back when I was playing but it would have been helpful.”  Even though Kim may have never formally worked with a sport psychologist, he was using effective techniques to improve his mental game such as being confident, engaging in positive self-talk and visualizing himself making a successful kick.

Since playing at U of A, Peter Kim has become a very successful entrepreneur and restaurant owner in Honolulu, HI.  In an interview with Kim from the Honolulu Advertiser in August 2006, he was quoted saying,

“Every day we’d meet (as a team) and Coach Bryant never once talked about football first,” Kim said. “He always talked about life after football and what to expect. He probably said 1,000 times or more to expect the unexpected. He talked about how, as long as you believe in yourself and don’t quit, you’ll be a winner. Those words always lingered in my mind. At the time it didn’t really come to me but when I got cut by the NFL and went to work in business, it all came back to me. I had learned never to give up.”

Not only had Kim been a successful college football player for one of the most elite football programs in the country, but he took what he learned from playing football and applied it to his business career to become a very successful business man.

The story of Peter Kim is both intriguing and inspiring.  I encourage you to look further into his life story and successes because you may learn something about how to be successful in sports and in life.

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