Posts Tagged ‘Muhammad Ali’

The sports industry is a competitive business. There are no surprises here. What kid would not want to work for his favorite sports team he has been following his whole life? I know I would.

Too often, people hold themselves back from chasing their dreams because of fear. It sucks to fail at something, and this leads us to take less risks. We settle for second best and often live with regrets and wonder what could have been. While I can empathize with this mentality to some degree, I realize that you only get one chance at life, so you might as well make it count. I would rather live having tried and failed at something than not having tried at all.

I think what it all boils down to is the attitude you bring to breaking into the business. You need to develop a winning mindset that will not allow you to take “no” for an answer. This is no easy process, but it is one you need to dedicate yourself to perfecting. You are bound to make mistakes along the way, which is all part of the learning curve.

Based on my experience so far, I would recommend the following pieces of advice to help you develop that winning mentality that will propel you to the career of your dreams:

1. Surround yourself with positive people. Latch on to peers and mentors who are ambitious, honest, trustworthy, and confident.

2. Set goals for yourself, both personal and professional. Develop a plan to accomplish them and make sure you execute. Have your friends and family hold you accountable to them.

3. Accept that everything happens for a reason. If things do not go your way, do not complain or let failure deter you from pursuing the job of your dreams. Learn from your mistakes and get better.

4. Read books about successful people and/or the subject mental toughness. I just finished The Greatest, a biography of Muhammad Ali. Talk about a guy who overcame adversity and became one of the best champions sports has ever seen. In the past, I read Jim Murphy’s Inner Excellence, a book that helps you get in the zone and develop that winning mentality that sets you up for success.

5. Believe in yourself. The only thing holding you back from attempting to do the impossible is yourself. Perhaps Muhammad Ali said it best, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

Advertisements

Over the past few years, I have become a big fan of quotations that are typically attributed to famous people throughout history. I am especially interested in sayings that are motivational and practical in nature. It just so happens to be that some of the best quotes out there come from sports figures.

For those of you in college, you are probably aware that there are a lot of Muhammad Ali posters to choose from for your dorm room. Last year, I bought one of him mainly because I loved the quotation on it. Here is a picture of the poster:

Muhammad Ali’s quote on the poster reads,

“Champions are made from something they have deep inside them, a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

I draw a lot of inspiration from this quote, and so can you. Ali’s message is very applicable to the circumstances surrounding one who looks to break into sports. Let me dissect the quote for you.

To be a champion, you have to be the best at what you do. For Muhammad Ali, that meant winning multiple heavyweight titles. While the amount of time and effort he invested into training allowed him to accomplish his goals, Ali’s success flowed from his champion attitude. He wanted to win so badly that he would not let anything get in his way. If you want to separate yourself from the competition, you have to develop the same kind of attitude as Ali’s. Eat, sleep, and breathe like a champion. Be confident in yourself, but be weary of cockiness.

Breaking into sports requires a desire, a dream, and a vision. A desire is a want. You want to work in sports. A dream is where you see yourself in the industry if all the right pieces fall into place. It is the sports job that no one thinks you could ever get. You may be even doubting yourself now about following that dream because the odds are stacked against you. A vision is your plan of action that will take you closer to fulfilling your dream and accomplishing career goals.

Having last-minute stamina is the equivalent of having mental toughness. You are going to get rejected, probably multiple times, before you get your foot in the door. It’s about how quick you are going to get up after you get knocked down. Be the last man standing, and never give up.

Being a little faster goes hand-in-hand with developing that champion attitude. If you want to land a job in sports, you are going to have to be one step ahead of your competitors. Unless you know someone who works in the industry, you are going to have to bust your butt and hustle to get that entry-level job you want. Do not let anyone outwork you for something you want so badly.

You will need the skill and the will to work in sports. Whatever job you want, you are going to have to bring the necessary skills and then some to the table. You not only have to be a good organizer, communicator, and leader, but you also have to possess the technical expertise that allows you to add value to an organization. The will goes back to your attitude. You cannot let any setbacks stop you from getting a job in sports. If you believe enough in yourself and do everything you can to achieve your objectives, you will successfully break into the sports industry.

While skills are certainly important for getting into the industry, your attitude has to be even stronger. A lot of the people who will apply to the same jobs as you will have similar skills and experiences as you. What will set you apart from them is whether or not you can convince the employer how badly you want the job. Let your passion shine through, and you will see results.