What These 3 Athletes Can Teach Us About Managing Successful Careers

What These 3 Athletes Can Teach Us About Managing Successful Careers

Karyn Mullins
All-star athletes can teach us a lot about leading a successful career. It takes hard work, dedication, and passion to achieve big career goals.

Imagine you work in sports management. You have been in your current position for three years. You feel like you’re ready for a bigger leadership role, but the director above you has been in her role for 15 years and isn’t leaving anytime soon.

Do you continue looking for ways to grow in your current role or do you start looking for a different job? It will not be as simple as having an agent secure you new promising positions in your field, but you can still manage your own career advancement like a star.

Athletes are always looking for ways to take their careers to the next level and accomplish bigger goals. In fact, here are a few athletes who can teach you valuable career management strategies to apply to your own career path:

Andre Agassi - Focus on the positives.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where we face uncertainty about our chosen career path. Andre Agassi, a world-renowned tennis player, found himself in that exact position, admitting that in the beginning of his career he hated playing tennis. He also faced other obstacles including drug abuse and depression.

Instead of letting these challenges determine the direction of his career, he decided it was time for change. In a 2009 interview, Agassi mentioned how his coach helped him reframe his understanding of tennis. This gave Agassi new meaning to old tasks and helped him find purpose in his work. Now Agassi is recognized as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

If you find yourself in a position that isn’t bringing you satisfaction or joy, consider changing your mindset about your work. Adopt a positive attitude and spend time focusing on the experiences you are grateful for in your career. When you focus on the positives, more doors will open, whether it’s in your current position or a new opportunity.

Bethany Hamilton - Establish a growth-mindset.

There will be many times in your career where you’ll feel ready to throw in the towel on your dream. There will also be unexpected changes in your career, such as losing a job or having a change of heart about your line of work.

Bethany Hamilton, a famous surfer, teaches us anything is possible if you don’t give up on your dreams.

In 2003 at the age of 13, Hamilton survived a shark attack where she lost her arm. Instead of letting the attack determine the future of her career, Hamilton adjusted to her disability so she could become successful as a surfer.

A year later after her accident, she entered a major competition. Fast-forward to 2016, when Hamilton won third place in the World Surf League’s Fiji Women’s Pro.

Overcome fears and difficulties in your career by viewing them as a something to work with, not against.

An August 2016 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found adopting a growth mindset helped students temper the effects of poverty on academic achievement. When you adopt a growth mindset, you believe your skills and intelligence can be developed. If you have a fixed mindset, on the other hand, it means you don’t believe you can grow and develop your skills.

Just like Hamilton, it’s important to be adaptable when it comes to accomplishing your goals. Having a growth mindset will allow you to continue to evolve has a professional and continue growing even when unexpected changes happen in your career. If you want to land a specific job or break into a new field, create a plan and work toward accomplishing that goal.

Michael Phelps - Practice mindfulness and persevere.

Career management requires clarity and concentration on making daily progress toward larger goals. Michael Phelps, one of the most successful Olympic athletes, has had to learn how to manage his mental health and find focus to succeed in his career. Living with with ADHD, Phelps eventually weaned off medication and trained his mind to improve his focus.

Practice mindfulness to find clarity in your career. A March 2016 study from Case Western Reserve University found that mindfulness helps employees focus better and even collaborate more effectively. It also found mindfulness improves attention and helps build stronger interpersonal relationships.

If you feel like you have hit a roadblock in your career, spend time in meditation each day or begin journaling about your career goals. Taking time to be present will allow you to gain more direction and clarity about the next step to take.

While it might take long hours in the gym, self-discipline and passion, these athletes show us that anything is possible if we commit to our professional ambitions. It’s not always going to be easy and obstacles will undoubtedly get in your way, but if you stay focused and find passion in your work, you will build a successful, challenging, and rewarding career.

Karyn Mullins, the General Manager and EVP of JobsInSports.com, the one place with all the tools, statistics, and information needed to connect job seekers with employers for sports employment openings at all levels.

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