If your number one career goal in 2013 is to land a job in sports, you’re in the right place! I’ve been helping people with their careers since 1998. And out of all my business experience, including my “Dream Job” with the Dallas Mavericks, nothing has been more fulfilling than helping people — just like you — achieve their career goals.
IF I CAN LAND MY DREAM JOB IN SPORTS, SO CAN YOU!
I was an average student, at best. I didn’t go to a prestigious college. And to be frank, college didn’t come easy. Mainly because my focus wasn’t on academics, it was on my career. I didn’t go to college to get good grades. I went to college so I could have a career I was in love with. While some students poured all their energy into math and science, I dreamed about a career in sports. And I would strategize ways to make it happen.
During my senior year of college, that dream became a reality when I launched my own sports marketing company. Within a few years I was landing major clients like Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay and Ray-Ban. I was securing deals with Emmitt Smith’s marketing agent, Tony Hawk’s ad agency, and had the privilege to work with NBC Sports and NFL Properties.
The primary reason my sports business career came to fruition is because I discovered how to achieve career goals. Today, I’m going to show you some key principles that will help you not only set goals, but more importantly, how to achieve them.
EIGHT KEY PRINCIPLES THAT WILL HELP YOU REACH YOUR SPORTS CAREER GOALS
1. Crystallize Your Vision
Brian Tracy, a world-renowned expert on goal-setting says, “You can’t hit your target if you can’t see what you’re aiming for.” In other words, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wander aimlessly and never reach your ideal destination.
When you have a clear vision of what you want to do with your sports career, then you’ll be able to formulate a plan to get there. Having a good vision of your career includes having the ability to articulate the value you can bring to an organization. This is what employers care about most. Focus on it. Think it through.
2. Write Down Your Goal
After you have a clear vision of your career, write it down. Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, Emmitt Smith, said it like this: “It’s only a dream until you write it down, then it becomes a goal.” Emmitt didn’t accidentally become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. He did it by starting with the simple act of writing.
3. Plan Your Work
Setting career goals and having a crystal clear vision of where you want to go is extremely powerful. But that’s only the beginning. There’s an old adage that says, “Plan your work, and work your plan.” You’ll have a better chance of accomplishing your goal when you put together a solid plan behind it.
Imagine if NFL playoff teams didn’t have a plan in place to achieve their goal of beating their next opponenet… that would be foolish! It’s a do, or die situation. Same goes for you. Winning your first job in sports is your playoff. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
4. Establish a Time & Place
One of the biggest reasons people fail to reach their career goals isn’t because their goals are too big. It’s because they don’t establish a time and a place to work on them. Too often people think setting the goal is the key, but it’s not. That’s only the beginning.
Imagine if a college football player had a goal to play in the NFL, but never established a time and place to prepare. He’d get crushed. You don’t haphazardly go into the Combine. You schedule time to prepare. Likewise, you don’t haphazardly pursue a job with ESPN, or Nike. You schedule time to train for it.
But instead of a weight room, your training ground is anywhere you can turn off your phone and get locked in on what you’re trying to accomplish — that’s where you need to be. Same place. Same time. Each and every week.
5. Make a Promise to Yourself
In your quest to break into sports, you will face challenges. Doors will slam in your face. You will hear the word “No.” And your insecure friends might even make fun of you for pursuing such a lofty goal.
So, how do you prepare for such harsh reality? You become resilient! You develop fortitude. Mental toughness begins by making a promise to yourself that you will not give up, no matter what.
Successful people have mastered this mindset. When things get difficult, they don’t quit. They simply hang on just a few minutes longer than everyone else. Making a promise to yourself will give you the inner strength to persevere.
6. Help Other People Succeed
Zig Ziglar, the master motivator of sales professionals said, “You can have anything you want in life, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
I’ve seen this principle work time and time again. Almost every business deal I’ve done over the past several years all started because I reached out to help someone. Are these highly-targeted individuals and companies? Yes. Are there strings attached to my generosity? No. You have to come from a genuine place of truly wanting to help others succeed. When you do, doors will start flying open.
7. Market Yourself Accordingly
Don’t make this hard. Now that you have a vision of what you want to do in sports, figure out who will pay you for doing it. Market yourself accordingly. (See Key Principle #6 above for best practice.)
8. Ask for the Job
I don’t talk much about this because it seems so inconsequential. Almost absurd. But I hear from a lot of students and recent grads who get to the interview stage, but then don’t get the job. And I always ask them, “Did you ask for the job?” Almost every one of them say, “No.” Huge mistake. Marketing yourself for a job is an exercise in selling. Go for the close, and ask for the job!
ACTION ITEM: Write down your goals and a written plan to achieve them. Your plan should include answers to these questions:
- What am I great at (or want to become great at)?
- Who are the leading executives in that field? (How did they get there)?
- What type of companies hire for that position?
- How do I get my foot in the door with those companies?
- How do I convince them to hire me?