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The Ultimate Business Athlete | Adam Bighill

Live in the Lab with Keith Bilous | Episode #59

It is not often you get to sit in front of a living legend.

A future Hall of Famer.

A human being who, regardless of their title or the role they play in life, is simply exceptional.

Spend five minutes with them and you get that sense.

After 10 minutes, you’re really connecting.

And after 30 minutes, you become friends—brothers.

You know the guy I’m talking about.

This was my experience with Adam Bighill.

He came by the Lab to sit with me for an interview, and man, was I ever full of vitamin G after he left.

I hope you enjoy listening to the conversation as much as Adam and I enjoyed having it.

As always, it’s here to inspire you.

To move you.

To help you be accountable to your Next.

Keith Bilous and Adam Bighill in the Lab
Adam Bighill - The Ultimate Business Athlete




Financial Advisor

All-Star Linebacker

3-Time Grey Cup Canadian Professional Football League Champion

From his small-town roots in Southwest Washington to the heights of professional sports and the financial world, Adam Bighill's story is one of overcoming adversity, relentlessly pursuing dreams, and the transformative power of mentorship. It's a narrative that inspires and teaches the importance of adapting, learning, and growing, no matter what life throws your way.

Adam’s dream of playing football took root when he was just seven years old. And despite reaching that goal, his path wasn’t shaped just by his athletic ambitions.

His early interest in the medical field led him to a pre-med degree in college, as he envisioned a future in orthopedics.

But life had other plans.

As his early football career soared, Adam met mentors in Vancouver who introduced him to the investment world, which reshaped his trajectory towards wealth management and financial planning. In between it all, Adam lost his mom at an early age and, more recently, his dad too.

Adam stands out as the ultimate Baplete. Balancing a demanding role as a financial advisor with the rigors of professional football, he embodies the old-school grit reminiscent of Canadian Football League veterans.

His story is not just about achieving personal goals but about continuously chasing 'what's next,' a philosophy that Bighill has embraced throughout his life—and it has served him well.

10 Reasons You Should Care about this Interview

1. The Ultimate Business Athlete

Adam isn't just a professional CFL player; he is also a financial advisor focusing on wealth management. This dual career path showcases his versatility and dedication, making his insights valuable for both sports enthusiasts and business-minded individuals.

2. Mentorship and Guidance

Adam's journey was significantly influenced by mentors who guided him from orthopedics to financial business. His story highlights the power of mentorship, providing inspiration for anyone in need of direction in their careers or personal lives.

3. Goal-Oriented Mindset

From a young age, Adam was determined to be a professional football player. His journey, filled with specific goals and the hard work to achieve them, serves as a motivational tale for setting and pursuing your own dreams.

4. Resilience and Overcoming Challenges

Adam's story is one of resilience, overcoming obstacles like not being drafted and facing challenges in transitioning from a college player to a CFL star. His experiences can encourage you to look at your challenges from a different, more determined perspective.

5. Family and Personal Life

Adam's personal life, including the loss of his father and his relationship with his children, adds a relatable and humanizing layer to his story.

6. Advocacy for Cleft Lip and Palate

Born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, Adam's journey includes his advocacy work for others with similar conditions. His efforts, particularly in calling out public figures for insensitivity, demonstrate his commitment to using his platform for positive change.

7. Insights on Professional and Personal Development

Adam's approach to balancing his sports career with personal development and preparing for life post-football offers valuable lessons in planning and self-improvement.

8. Leadership and Team Dynamics

As a leader, Adam's insights into teamwork, leadership, and the dynamics within a professional sports team can be enlightening if you’re interested in team management and leadership.

9. Emotional Strength and Vulnerability

Discussing the loss of his mother at a young age and his father more recently, Adam opens up about his emotional journey.

10. Inspiration and Motivation

Overall, Adam's story is a rich tapestry of professional success, personal growth, overcoming adversity, and making a difference. His narrative is not just about sports; it's about life, making it a source of inspiration and motivation.

The Adam Bighill Content Collection

This is the show broken up into a series of digestible BAPL Blocks; little blocks of inspiration to keep you motivated throughout the day. Each block has a cube in the upper-right corner that tells you how long it will take to consume the block.

Enjoy, Bapl Nation!

We explore Adam’s multifaceted identity as a father, husband, professional football player, and financial advisor. Adam underscores the power of setting goals early, as he did at age seven. He also talks about the importance of following through with hard work and determination.

Professional success is not just about talent. It’s also about seizing opportunities, adapting to life's changes, and always chasing your 'Next'.

Key Highlights:

  1. Multifaceted Career: Adam's transition from potential medical professional to a financial advisor while excelling in professional football.

  2. The Power of Mentorship: How meeting mentors in Vancouver significantly influenced his career trajectory.

  3. Goal-Oriented and Adaptable: Adam's lifelong commitment to his goals, coupled with the flexibility to adapt his career path for his family's stability.

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Adam Bighill's journey from an undrafted college player to a CFL star captures the essence of perseverance and adaptability. Confronted with the NFL lockout in 2011, his dream seemed out of reach. But he transformed the situation into a personal triumph when he seized opportunity with the BC Lions in the CFL.

His rookie year was a rollercoaster ride, starting with a disappointing 0-5 but culminating in winning the prestigious Grey Cup.

Key Highlights:

  1. Resilience in Adversity: We explore Adam's ability to navigate the unpredictability of his early career, especially during the NFL lockout.

  2. Remarkable Comeback: Adam recounts his journey from a discouraging start in his rookie year to winning the Grey Cup.

  3. Mentorship and Belief: We talk about the crucial role of supporters and mentors in recognizing and nurturing talent despite initial setbacks.

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Bapl Block #3: The Power of Your Platform | Duration: 10 Minutes

Talk about the inspiration you have been for others.
—Keith Bilous

Born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, Adam faced surgeries and social challenges like bullying, causing him to grow up with less confidence.

Despite this, he became a star athlete and later a spokesperson for those with facial differences. His son, Beau, was born with a similar condition, and Adam used his platform to call out insensitivity towards people with cleft lips and palates, leading to a public apology from a national television personality. Adam's journey is not just about his personal triumphs, but also his commitment to using his experiences to help others.

Key Highlights:

  1. Overcoming Personal Challenges: Adam's journey through surgeries and bullying due to his facial difference.

  2. Advocacy and Impact: Adam uses public platforms to advocate for sensitivity towards facial differences.

  3. Charitable Involvement: We talk about Adam’s role in 'Making Faces,' a charity focused on building confidence and speech abilities in individuals with facial differences.

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Adam’s drive stems from his commitment to excellence, both as a professional football player and in wealth management. His primary passion is ensuring his family's well-being, intertwined with his ambition to be one of Canada's best football players.

He loves the journey of self-improvement and is always looking for an opportunity to up his skills. In the business world, he applies the same dedication, learning from mentors to enhance his capabilities. His ethos, "outwork your competition so there is none," underpins his approach to both football and finance.

Key Highlights:

  1. Family and Professional Ambition: We discuss Adam's primary drives to take care of his family and be the best in his field.

  2. Continuous Improvement: We explore Adam’s love for training, self-betterment, and learning in both football and wealth management.

  3. Work Ethic and Leadership: Adam has a philosophy of outworking competition and providing value as a team leader.

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Rather than cashing his very first paycheque, Adam cherished it as a symbol of his dream becoming a reality. He also shares his deep connection with his father, his biggest fan and supporter, who raised him single-handedly after the loss of his mother. Despite facing financial challenges, Adam recalls feeling rich in love and support, which shaped his perspective on life and success. His father's unwavering belief in him is a cornerstone of Adam's journey and commitment to his family.

Key Highlights:

  1. Family Bonds and Resilience: Adam opens up about the close relationship with his father and overcoming financial hardships together.

  2. Legacy of Commitment: We talk about Adam’s dedication to fulfilling the promise he made at seven years old to his parents, driven by love and gratitude.

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Adam talks about the crucial role of his partner, Christina, in his professional journey. Her deep understanding of the demands of being an elite athlete, drawn from her own experience as a competitive golfer, has been a major source of support for Adam. This allows him to excel in his multifaceted career, not only as a professional football player but also in his roles as a wealth manager, vice president of the CFL players association, and active community member. Her selflessness and understanding underscore the importance of a supportive partner in navigating the challenges and commitments of a professional athlete's life.

Key Highlights:

  1. Understanding and Supportive Partner: Christina's background in competitive sports provides her with a unique understanding of Adam's commitments.

  2. Selflessness and Teamwork: The importance of a partner's selflessness in contributing to the success of a family and professional career.

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How to connect with Adam

Until next time, Nation, strive for excellence, give your best, and pursue your Next unapologetically.

Keith, your Chief Baplete.

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Live in the Lab with Keith Bilous
Live in the Lab with Keith Bilous
Live in the Lab with Keith Bilous is a daily LIVE talk show for creators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, athletes and startup founders. We share interesting stories from interesting people to entertain, inspire, and inform you.
We like to dig into the moment behind the moment while digging even deeper into the next moment using curiosity as the driving principle of our conversation.
If you are looking for content and conversation designed to move you, inspire you and help you be accountable to your next in life. Live in the Lab with Keith Bilous is the place for you.