Football is just like Job Seeking! Trust me, I know!
Outside of my professional life as a Recruiter, I’m a mum to two teenage boys. My weekends are spent cheering them on from the sideline doing what they love. One of my boys is a keen football player (or soccer for Aussies) whilst the other is passionate about rugby union. One of the things that strikes me on weekends whilst watching them is how sport can often imitate life – especially in business and when you are seeking out a new career direction.
I recently read a book by James Kerr called Legacy. It delves into the mindset and training tactics of the world’s most successful sporting team – the New Zealand All Blacks. The author discusses how the success of the All Blacks translates into lessons that we can take into our professional life and reveals 15 powerful lessons in leadership. It talks about handling pressure, sustaining success and training to win at the highest level. It’s a great read and one I would highly recommend!
Whilst my weekends are spent watching sport at a much lower level than the All Blacks play, it struck me that we can learn lessons that are relevant to making a change in roles and looking for the next step in your career from the sporting field.
Here are 2 key lessons I have identified:
My football loving son plays Goalkeeper and if there is ever a position on the sporting field that requires resilience then this is it! Being the last line of defence is daunting. You’re required to take hits again and again all the while trying to keep composed and not let it get the better of you if you let one ball through allowing the opposition to score.
Finding a new role often involves having to maintain that same level of resilience. As a recruiter one of the hardest parts of our jobs is having to deliver the news that a candidate you’ve been working with has been unsuccessful in obtaining a position they have interviewed for. A job search often involves resilience. I find myself giving my son the same advice I give my candidates if he’s had a particularly hard game – pick yourself up and keep going. One game during a long season doesn’t define you or the end of season results. In the same way, one knock back or unsuccessful interview doesn’t mean the right role for you isn’t just around the corner. Keep going until you secure that dream role, it’s coming!
Having a son whose dream it is to play for the All Blacks one day (even though we don’t have New Zealand heritage!) is what prompted me to read Legacy in the first place. I have become very vested in rugby union since my son started playing the game 8 years ago. One thing that has struck me as he’s grown and developed as a player is the level of strategy involved in the game. He recently reached a level which saw him playing off for a spot in Grand Final to be played at the hallowed grounds of Ballymore. In the weeks leading up to the big game he fell quite ill. Now he normally plays Prop and given his health issues, his Coach put him on the field as a Winger to allow him to have a break from the hard hits. For anyone who knows rugby a Winger is a very different position to Prop and requires a different skill set. He sat down the night before and figured out what he would need to do differently in his game to make sure that he was an effective member of the team. He smashed it, the team won their way to the Grand Final and he was named Player of the Match.
There are many comparisons to be made when seeking out a new professional opportunity to the strategy needed on a sporting field. A career change will often involve having to stop and work out a plan of attack before you start applying and interviewing. Just like the opposition on a sporting field, you will have opposing candidates vying for the same position in a candidate rich market. You have to work out a strategy that sets you apart from the rest of the field. Think about what you can do to make yourself stand out. You may need to do things differently than you are accustomed to in order to get that job you want. It may take you out of your comfort zone but it could mean success for you!
Life skills are all transferrable – whether you learn them in the office or on the sporting field you can merge them together to achieve success. If you’re looking for a good book to read on the topic, Legacy by James Kerr is a great one. It’s very timely too with the Rugby World Cup happening right now! Go the Wallabies!!