Choosing a New Path
Collis Temple III was on his way from Louisiana State University basketball success to NBA stardom, but when an injury derailed his plan, he found a slam-dunk with Primerica.
Collis knows all about the road less traveled. His father, Collis Temple Jr., was the first African-American basketball player at Louisiana State University in 1971. His father was also a man who didn't play with another African-American basketball player during his career.
"My father is the most influential person in my life," Collis says. "He and my mother pushed me from a young age to be the best at everything I tried. I never knew any other way."
So when he severely injured his surgically repaired ankle on a routine morning run, ending his hopes of playing basketball for a living, Collis chose a new path. By noon the same day, he bounced back and found an alternate route to success.
On the same day Collis injured his ankle, he had, as it turns out, fortuitously scheduled a lunch meeting with Primerica legend and former LSU basketball player, Bill Whittle. "I was acquainted with Mr. Whittle because of his relationship with my dad. However, I didn't really know him. All I knew was that he made a lot of money, but I didn't know how he did it."*
Collis quickly learned that Whittle was one of Primerica's most successful leaders and saw his new future take shape.
"When I got hurt that morning, there was a four-hour period of my life when I didn't know what I was going to do. And it was really the first time since I was six that I didn't have a plan," Collis says. "But when I met my friends Scott Holstein and Bill Whittle, I knew immediately what I was going to do for the rest of my life." Collis launched his Primerica career the very next day.
Collis began applying many of the same skills he learned on the court to building his business. "This business really is similar to sports in a lot of ways," Collis says. "You have to build a team. If you don't, you don't have a business.
"You recruit, train and develop other people. Then you have to make them believe that they can do something beyond the average and the ordinary." That’s what his father did when he crossed racial lines to play basketball. "My dad's been a giant influence in my life. I've learned nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself, set goals and keep your focus."