For most of us, working in sports is rooted in our experience as a student-athlete or a deep desire to work in a field we’ve been passionate about since an early age. Regardless of your driving force, the opportunity to play a role in the development of the next wave of student-athletes begins with your own investment in your career.
Oklahoma Executive Director of Development, Kendall Mayer, shares three key principles for anyone working in sports.
Find What Fills Your Cup
If you ask anyone who’s worked in college athletics long enough why they’ve remained in the industry, you’ll quickly learn that great hours and lucrative pay aren’t at the top of the list.
Consider writing down your personal story to date and what type of impact you want to make during your career. Perhaps you’re a first-generation college graduate or have a heart for serving others. Whatever led you to this point in your journey, define it so you can appreciate the moments that refill your cup during those difficult stretches in your career.
Focus on Personal Career Growth First
No one will care about your career as much as you do. Although mentors and networking are key for future success, your commitment to personal growth will lay the foundation for your career.
Unsure where to start? Begin with mastering one discipline to fuel your personal career growth. Knowledge is like compounding interest where consistent reps produce tremendous growth.
Ways to Kickstart Your Career Growth:
◾Read 15 minutes each day – The average person who reads 15 minutes per day would read 13 books each year. What do you think would happen to you personally and professionally if you followed this exercise for 5 years?
◾Contact a new colleague each month at a different school – Learn what success and challenges they’re facing in their department and what you can implement at your school.
◾Take an online learning course – Many universities have enterprise accounts with LinkedIn learning, formerly Lynda, filled with wide ranging topics on professional development. Best of all? Most of these courses are completely free!
Manage Your Day
One of the biggest challenges for young professionals tends to fall into two buckets: time management and organization. Each department is often understaffed where “all other duties as assigned” feels more like the norm. High performers rise above these challenges by maximizing their days and becoming more efficient in producing quality work. Additionally, these team members find ways to take projects off their managers which in turn provides greater trust and added responsibilities over time.
How You Can Manage Your Day:
◾Block Out Your Calendar in Advance – treat your individual time for projects or daily work like a formal meeting by putting it on your calendar. Everything from personal development to returning voicemails should have a specific time and place throughout the week.
◾Look 30 to 60 Days Out – Have a big project upcoming next month? Begin planning early and explore ways to make your process more efficient. Quality work decreases when we’re unprepared or rushed by a deadline.
◾Remember there’s joy in the journey if you’re looking for it. Today, shift all your focus to becoming the best in the country in your current role with an added emphasis on increasing your personal growth.
If you do, you’ll enjoy a career that never feels like work.
This story first appeared in The NightCap, CollegeAD’s evening newsletter. The NightCap delivers the day’s college athletics news in simple bullet points, giving you what you need to know in just a few lines. Get The NightCap today.