As I listened to one of my favorite host, Colin Cowherd, this morning go on his usual blunt, unrestrained, yet heavily enlightening rants today, I couldn’t help but to concur with a similarity he underscored pertaining to success and failure in sports and our professional careers. Colin is notorious for “keeping it real” and voicing his “against-the-grain” opinions on life, sports, and any other topic for that matter. He connected the similarity based on an interview that Steven Keim, General Manager of the Arizona Cardinals, partook in discussing the four main reasons rookies are unsuccessful in the NFL. These were the four reasons:
- Off the field issues/Overwhelmed by personal life
The same way athletes get in trouble with recreational drugs and the litany list of other negative circumstances our young athletes find themselves in, professionals are often distracted from their work tasks due to overwhelming complications outside of work. Issues could be trouble at home, spousal issues, financial troubles, and much more.
- Injuries/Physical ailments
The NFL has garnered the nickname the “not for long” league for good reason. The highly combative sport that has 250 pound speed demons clashing at speeds of over 20 miles per hour in some instances, definitely results in a multitude of injuries. Similarly, in our careers we become sick; we have abrupt physical limitations rendering us unable to fulfill our job duties.
- Inability to learn the game/Incompetence
There’s a large list of NFL retirees who were never quite able to see their careers blossom because of their inability to adjust to the rapidity of the game and complex schematics of the game. Whether they were egotistical and thought their talents would carry them or lacked a capacity for the intricacy, a lot of young players have found themselves watching NFL games from their couches like you and I because they just couldn’t learn the game. How does this compare to our professional lives? Well think about the incompetent employee. No matter how hard they work, they just can’t seem to get up to speed. I’m never one to devalue hard work and I wholeheartedly believe that we can learn whatever we apply our intense focus and attention to. However, I thinks it’s safe to say that at some point in our careers we’ve found ourselves or have noticed how others, at that particular time, just weren’t mentally fit for their position and had a hard time adjusting to the new work environment.
- Don’t love it enough/Dispassionate
This principle applies to sports, music, and our professional careers. There’s no shortage of ego wherever there’s a promotion or elevation in position. To the football theme, a lot of young players get to the NFL, cash out on a huge pay day and lose their love for the sport that got them there. That’s not to say they ever loved the game at all; some players just have an unmatched talent that carries them very far. However, you’ll seldom see a successful player in the National Football Association who doesn’t absolutely love the game. Our talents can only take us so far. If we are dispassionate about the work we’re doing, it will eventually be exhibited in our performance.
So now that we have highlighted the correlation, let’s discuss some solutions to make sure we aren’t plagued by these factors. Firstly, you have to learn how to balance your work life and personal life. Letting work overflow into your personal life, or vice versa, is a recipe for disaster. You’ll either find your relationships crumbling outside of work or your performance at work greatly diminishing. Secondly, we must invest in our physical wellness. Engaging in regular exercise helps release endorphins and elicit feelings of euphoria which will certainly help our work. Furthermore, it’s a solid preventive measure as our bodies are machines it will certainly start to break down and need maintenance. Thirdly, we must be willing to go the extra mile to acquire the knowledge necessary to succeed in our respective positions. Stay later, ask more questions, and do more research. You’ll unequivocally find yourself in an underqualified position at some point; combat this with a heightened curiosity to learn and an unrelenting pursuit towards mastering your craft. Lastly, try to steer clear of work that doesn’t interest you. You’ll do that corporation and yourself a disservice. High performance will be in the neighborhood when you’re engaged in things that stimulate your passion and emotions.
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