At 6’4, Christian Peter isn’t only big in stature, but big in heart, dedication, and drive. Having known Christian for over 20 years, I’ve watched him grow from a young boy at the beginning of his NFL career, to the mature, committed, family and business man he is today.

Christian was taught at a young age that success can be achieved through hard work and dedication. His drive and determination on the field awarded him not only a full athletic scholarship to the University of Nebraska, but later landed him on the NY Giants, Indianapolis Colts, and Chicago Bears. As much as that “all or nothing” attitude resulted in positives on the field, it contributed toward some negatives off the field. While in college, Christian succumbed to temptations that unfortunately many face each and every day. He struggled with his own insecurities and fears and used alcohol and drugs to self-medicate. When Christian finally hit rock bottom, he had to take a close look at the things he didn’t like about himself, and focus on changing certain aspects of his personality and subsequent lifestyle. Today, he uses that same drive to help others, saying it’s what helps him the most in his everyday battle to fight addiction. Christian currently serves on the board of the Tigger House Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to achieving a positive impact by reducing the death rate of heroin and opiate addiction.

I always marvel to see how some players go from the locker room to the board room, and how they can adapt in the business world. Needless to say, it’s not an easy transition for most. When I asked Christian about his transition, he admitted that he had a difficult time finding a new career path after retiring from the NFL in 2004. He jokingly said, “I didn’t get offered a Right Guard deodorant commercial and wasn’t going to be the next big sports commentator.” He then continued “I thought about joining my father in the restaurant business, but he encouraged me to pursue other opportunities as that industry can often take you away from your family, and he understands how important family is to me.”

Like many pro athletes, Christian tried his hand in a few different businesses, but ultimately found himself in the insurance industry after a recommendation from a close friend. “I met people in the business who taught me about residual income and how to build a book of business that I can sell later in life.” Fast forward more than a decade, Christian has built and is currently President of The Competitive Advantage Companies, a full service insurance brokerage firm based out of Red Bank, NJ.

Christian Peter

“When we first started the business, we primarily focused on group health benefits. We were able to keep health premiums down during the infancy of Obamacare and continue to provide outstanding service. We began to grow through word of mouth, and clients started to ask about other lines of insurance. I knew how beneficial it would be to have all insurance lines under one roof, so I grew my team and hired insurance experts that specialized in those different areas. Today the Competitive Advantage Companies consists of; Competitive Advantage Benefits, Competitive Advantage Property & Casualty, and Competitive Advantage Life & Annuity.”

I asked Christian about his daily routine. Running a successful business and helping others, while being a husband, and father of three, must be tough. He responded, “I wake up at 4:00am, I’m in the gym by 5:00am, and at my desk by 8. Mondays and Fridays are spent getting organized, doing follow-ups, and meeting with my team to review the week. Tuesday through Thursday, I’m out on the road meeting with prospects and servicing current accounts. Our goal is to make each client feel as if they are our number one priority. We focus our attention on details and provide daily communication. Due to all the changes in the industry, they need our guidance now more than ever.”

Christian speaks openly of his past struggles and about those who have helped him along the way. He shares his story to schools, businesses, communities, rehabs, and correctional facilities in hopes that someone struggling will be helped. He understands the challenges of being an addict, and the shame and embarrassment comes along with it. He stated, “My past happened, I wish certain aspects of it didn’t, but I can’t change it, I can only learn from it. What I can change is who I am today. I can happily say that I am someone who is present; I am a father, a husband, a business man, and a friend. I am a man who wants to give back and help those struggling in any way that I can.” By attending AA and NA meetings, sponsoring the newcomer, living a life of service and taking it one day at a time, Christian has been sober for 10 years. I have found with Christian, whenever I have asked him to support a cause, he’s the first one to clear his schedule and just ask me where and when.

“This has been an amazing journey, the ups and the downs. In my wildest dreams, I would have never imagined accomplishing the things that I have accomplished. In my darkest nightmares, the mistakes I’ve made turned out to be the most valuable lessons of my life. I am a very lucky and grateful man. I have a young, enthusiastic business that consistently grows year by year, but more importantly, I am blessed with my health, my beautiful wife Monica and my three children; Olivia 16, Juliette 13 and Christian Jr. 9 aka Little CP.”

Photo by Dean Jones