What’s the best way to prepare for the future? Take a look at the past.
Learn from your past experiences and apply the same lessons to new situations. That’s the advice I gave a room of high school football seniors. Many of the young men in the room won’t continue their football careers in college, but that doesn’t mean they’re done with football. In fact, the same approach that made them successful on the field will make them successful in college and later their professional careers.
The following advice is tailored specifically to football players, but I bet you find a tidbit that applies to you, even if you never played the game. You don’t have to be a football player, coach or parent to appreciate good leadership skills and business lessons.
Here are 5 lessons and skills you learned in football that are prized in the business world.
Every test you take in college, every project you’re given in your job is like game day. Lots of people gear up for their “big opportunity” but they miss the fact that you can’t just show up for the game and expect to play well if you haven’t practice. And I mean really practiced and paid attention to the details, drilled it in to the point its muscle memory. I know some days you hated going to practice, but deep down I know you loved it. I know you appreciated that part of the process. I know because it’s one of the things that drives the athletes I work with.
You know what made you good on the field. For some of you the position you ended up playing wasn’t the one you dreamed of in the backyard or when watching games on the weekend as a kid. You might have dreamed of being a quarterback, but knew that being a lineman suited your talents, makeup and skill set. You’re going to need to have the same clarity as you determine a career path and later transition into your career. Know what you’re good at. Be honest about your capabilities. You are talented enough and driven enough, but helps to know the role you fill.
Don’t get out of the habit of doing what you’ve done as a team and an individuals. Your goals will look different and sometimes they’ll be tough to quantify. It won’t be easy as saying, “I want to play every snap this year,” or “I want to generate two quarterbacks hits a game, throw 25 touchdown passes, or bench press a certain weight. Goals will look different, but it’s still important to identify them, have a clear objective and develop a plan to reach them.
When you do reach those goals, celebrate them. It doesn’t have to be with a dance or it doesn’t need to be a with a crazy handshake, but success does need to be acknowledged. It’s easier to do in football than in business, but don’t lose the enjoyment of recognizing a job well-done. It’s not just to keep proving to yourself that you’re a stud and a rock star, which you absolutely are, but acknowledging success makes it easier for you to recognize when you’re ready for the next challenge, the next set of responsibilities and eventually, the next raise and the next promotion.
Just because you’re not calling someone “coach” on a daily basis, doesn’t mean you don’t have coachable moments or need coaching from a teacher, manager, parent, mentor or boss. You know how to take feedback and put constructive criticism to work. You know that even with all your talent there’s still room to improve, and get better. Be open to hearing that from people who don’t wear a whistle and don’t demand that you run sprints. It’s one of the most important skills you can bring into the “real world.” You’re not only used to it, but you excel at it thanks to your football career.
There’s no question sports participation builds leadership skills. Don’t forget to lean on that as you take your next big leap and work toward your next big win.
Want more ways to make sports conversations useful in business and work? Make sure you leave your name in the box marked “Let’s Do This!” and check out the FREE resources available on TalkSportytoMe.com. You’ll find templates on how to use sports to network and build business relationships, as well as, eBooks with leadership advice.
Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, is the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. She also is a former high school football official and was yelled at by coaches, players and fans for 10 years. Jen founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 and highly encourages sports fans to look beyond the scores and stats in a game and make sports conversations a useful tool in business. Contact Jen via email: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com
It’s the most wonderful time of the year according to a popular Christmas song. I would agree, but not just because of the holiday cheer.
I love the intrigue and drama that plays out during the final month of the NFL season, the conversations around the college bowl schedule, the hot stove league rumors around baseball and the anticipation for what the rest of the basketball and hockey season will bring.
There’s plenty to talk about when it comes to sports and talking makes me happy. (Almost as happy as the holiday cheer I’ve indulged in.) Here are a few sports topics you can use at work this week.
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Jen Mueller is the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks she’s also a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast. She founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 and advocates using sports as a business tool. Jen is an entertaining and informative business communications speaker/trainer. Contact Jen via email: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com
Admit it, you’re looking for a shortcut, a way to make your life easier.
You want a way to be more successful, in less time with less effort. Probably because you think it makes you more efficient or because you’ve bought into the myth of becoming an “overnight success.”
Ain’t gonna happen. There’s no such thing. And even if there was, you’re not gonna make it because you’re looking for the easy way out and success isn’t easy. Handling success can be just as difficult as handling failure.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the number of NFL teams who play in the Super Bowl one year and struggle to even make the playoffs the following year.
It happens all the time in business but it’s easier speculate about why the Carolina Panthers are struggling a year after a Super Bowl appearance than digging into why you gave one awesome presentation but struggled to get your mojo back again, or why you closed the biggest deal of your career five years ago and haven’t been able to top it since, or why you got one promotion but keep getting passed over for others.
Did I really just say that? Yes. And here’s the deal. We all want success, but don’t always have a plan in place for dealing with it. That oversight can lead to a downward spiral that’s tough to overcome.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has maintained steady success with the Seahawks during a tenure that’s included a number of playoff games, back-to-back Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl win. I’ve been on the Seahawks sidelines during that entire stretch of time. Pete is different than most coaches I’ve worked with. His approach is unique for the NFL but it’s perfectly suited for your career and your business.
1. Expectations exist. Deal with ‘em.
Pete Carroll: “I don’t think you ever are not dealing with the impact of the expectations, whatever they are. Expectations come at you from yourself, within your building, expectations that come from the outside, the media, all walks.”
Career Lesson: It’s silly to think you’re not running up against expectations of how you should be performing.
2. Prepare for success long before you reach it.
Pete Carroll: “I think you have to be prepared for it way before you ever get to it. If it’s the first time you ever talk about it, I think you might not be able to have grounded thoughts and approach to deal with it..”
Career lesson: If you’re too superstitious to talk about how successful you think you’re going to be, you’re setting up for failure. If the first time Pete Carroll talked to his team about the Super Bowl was the week before, or the day before, there’s no way the team would be able to handle the outcome successfully – both in that moment and long term. (By the way, if you’re developing your own personal plan for success you don’t have to say any of this to anyone else, but talking it through it on your own isn’t a bad idea.)
3. Prepare to win. Every day. Every year.
Pete Carroll: “It’s about showing the ability to be consistent. My mentality was locked into how can we find a way to carry this conversation with the players and the people who affect the program in a really consistent, highly successful way.”
Career lesson: Pete Carroll doesn’t look at the odds of his team winning the Super Bowl from year-to-year or game-to-game and change his message or approach. Just like you can’t decide that you’re a rock star one day, but set up to fail in a meeting the next day and change your approach or your expectations. That’s bound to send you into a tailspin that you have to pull out of to get back to being a rock star. Stay consistent. I don’t care if you’re selling Rolex watches one day and the used lunch boxes the next.
Here’s another resource you can use to help you manage success, and know what to prepare for. It’s a panel discussion on the Dark Side of Entrepreneurship from Seattle Startup Week and you might be surprised to know that growing a highly successful company doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows and lollipops at the end.
Lastly, sports is more than stats as scores. Sports conversations can be and should be used as a business tool. You just saw one example of how a topic like the Super Bowl can lead to a bigger conversation about your career. Want more of this or a cheat sheet to becoming sports savvy every Monday by 7am? Leave your name in the box marked “Let’s Do This!”
Who is Jen Mueller and why is she writing stuff like this? Jen is a 16-year sports broadcasting veteran. She’s a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team and the radio sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. She founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 to help sports fans exploit their fandom at work. She can get a little sassy and she definitely talks too much, but she’s a fun, engaging and outside-the-box presenter on business communication. Contact her via email: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com