So in case you didn’t know this about me I’m going to drop some fun facts. I come from a family of football players. My father played for the 86′ and 87′ Kansas City Chiefs and my grandfather played for the Boston Patriots (yes, Boston, before they were the New England Patriots) for 9 years back in the 60’s. So naturally I played football all the way up through college, Go Wildcats! Through the years I picked up tons of valuable lessons and forged a lot of relationships, one which got me my job at Dyn. For the sake of time, I picked 5 of the top lessons I learned that translated into my professional life.
So this one came about mostly in college. There were many times where my coach would be very vague in his directions and instead of re-explaining he would just say “Figure it the F*** out.” So instead of doing the wrong thing and enduring physical punishment, we would just figure it out and fast. Another way this skill set was trained was when we would implement new plays. If my coach noticed you hesitating or looking confused, he would scream the word “PANIC” over and over again until you got it right. Fast forward to my professional life, the conditions are no where near as extreme so when challenges get thrown my way, I just think, I may not know how to solve this problem immediately but I know I can figure it the f*** out.
The game of Football consists of a whole combination of decisions. These decisions must be made quickly, accurately and executed right. Make the wrong one as a DB on defense and the offense scores, make the wrong one on offense while you are carrying the ball, you may get jacked up. Again, when it comes to my professional life, the consequences are less extreme but the ability to think on my toes and make quality decisions on the fly has definitely helped.
Now, this one ins an obvious one that doesn’t only pertain to football, but every team sport. Everybody has a job to do and without everyone executing their jobs the team will fail. Same thing with the professional world, it takes a group of people executing their job functions smoothly for a department and ultimately a business to run optimally. Back when I played ball and someone would mess up their coverage or try to do to much, coach would yell “DO YOUR JOB” because if everyone does there job other teammates wont have to compesate for missed assignments.
I’m a firm believer in the ideology, if you look good, you play good. I know this is silly, but I take it more as a reflection of your talent. My defensive back coach in college was a character and would critique us on our flair. Flair is a combination of gloves, socks, sleeves, etc that would set you apart from the rest of the team. He was half joking when he did it but he wanted us to look as good as we played. This was our personal brand and this subject has grown exponentially with the adoption of blogging and social media. One other aside I would like to add to this is, the same ideas with branding a company apply. Your branding must visually reflect your product or service in a positive way or else you will loose out on potential customers.
And lastly, another strikingly obvious one but important as well. It takes very competitive people to succeed in football among other sports. Coincidentally, the same competitiveness makes for a great business person. When I started my career as a business development specialist it was all about the quantity of qualified sales leads I could generate through cold calling and emailing. Obviously I strived for the most every month out of my team. Now, I use email marketing to drive sales leads and I compete with myself month after month.
To all of my fellow athletes and competitors out there, I hope I was able to shed light on some of the skills you didn’t know you had. I put these on my resume and used them to my advantage during the interview process. It definitely helped me and hopefully it can help you as well!