Top Tips From Sports' Best to Apply to Your Career

Top Tips From Sports' Best to Apply to Your Career

Karyn Mullins

Finding success in your career can be hard work, no matter what position you’re in or path you are on. The industry is highly competitive and requires a lot of resilience and passion.

Who better to give advice on a competitive landscape than some of the most renowned athletes in the business? Let’s take a look at advice on how to build a successful career and what actions you can take:

Commit Fully -- Joe Namath

New York Jets legend Joe Namath was not one to commit half-heartedly. He publicly made a bold prediction that the Jets would upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, then followed through on his promise. This game is known as one of the greatest underdog victories in sports.

One of his most famous quotes speaks to his work ethic -- “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?”

Job seekers and professionals alike can find a lot of value in this simple philosophy. It’s important to commit fully to your line of work and invest in every step of your journey.

Embrace the challenges -- from training and professional development to goal setting and beyond. Focus your energy on going all the way and committing to the thing you’re most passionate about. Find something you want to be an expert in, anything from strength training and conditioning coaching to digital media management.

Learn how to do one specific skill really well. It should be bigger than you. For example, if you’re a good communicator, dedicate yourself to learning how to effectively connect people and use that skill in marketing.

Know Your Purpose -- Andre Agassi

From the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, Andre Agassi was the most dominant tennis player in the world. In his autobiography “Open,” he says, "Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. This is why we're here."

This raises a really interesting topic in terms of careers. It’s important to look at the purpose of your actions and determine what it is you want to do.

Think about who you want to help and how you want to create meaning in your life through your career. For example, if you experienced injuries and made full recoveries, perhaps you want to provide that same experience for others. Maybe a career in sports medicine or physical therapy is right for you.

Make It Happen -- Tommy Lasorda

Tommy Lasorda’s extensive career in sports management makes him one of the best people to seek advice from. He said, "In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened."

It’s important to set the intention of becoming a person of action and to start building your career. Your journey begins with research. Identify what careers fit you best, then start to engage with the industry. Expand your professional network to find those who “make it happen” and contact them to build a relationship.

Conduct informational interviews so you can better understand the challenges and the day-to-day of specific career paths. It’s also important to maintain these relationships you create.

OfficeTeam’s July 2014 survey found that 28 percent of senior managers say that failing to keep in touch is a major networking mistake. When you drop the ball, you lose important connections who can be some of your best mentors. So find the doers, build authentic relationships, and prepare to learn a lot.

Think Ahead -- Wayne Gretzky

Arguably the greatest hockey player in the history of the sport, Wayne Gretzky knows a lot about creating and maintaining success. "A good hockey player plays where the puck is,” he said. “A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."

This kind of forward thinking is what always gave Gretzky a leg up on the competition. It’s crucial to always think ahead. Know that your actions today will have an impact on your tomorrow.

Build a vision for yourself and find your motivation in the little things -- that upcoming test for your certification, the presentation you’re creating for a client, a campaign strategy meeting in the afternoon. Remember where you’re heading and how these actions are taking you there.

Don’t Sabotage Yourself -- Muhammad Ali

The greatest boxer to ever grace the ring, Muhammad Ali is the epitome of athleticism. He speaks about progress in a way that resonates on a deep level -- "It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."

This speaks to goal setting and how we can often sabotage ourselves. Don’t focus on your inner obstacles; set goals and keep your mind moving forward.

Goal setting is crucial to success. A 2015 Dominican University of California study found that 70 percent of the 149 participants from across the world who sent weekly updates to friends reported successful goal achievement, compared to 35 percent of those who kept their goals to themselves without writing them down.

When you can stay out of your own mind and look at your goals and the actions you need to take, you can climb your mountain.

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

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