As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m a sports junkie as I imagine many of you are. But last night, is a night off from sports and a chance to watch the Oscars.
I’ll admit, and this is totally cliché, but my interest in the Oscars was piqued when I found out the Best Supporting Actor nominee Mahershala Ali was a division 1 basketball player at Saint Mary’s. Yes I watched his career highlights, and yes it made me want to see him win, and win he did.
I’m not making light of his acting chops, I loved him in Moonlight, like really loved him in that. But I haven’t seen any of the adult movies for this year’s run of Oscar movies. I have three children, 11, 10 and 7, which means I have seen the Incredibles 2 and Ralph Break the Internet…but not Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody.
Quick synopsis of those movies – Incredibles 2 – cute had some funny moments, a little chaotic, but endearing.
Ralph Breaks the Internet – Terrible. Seriously Terrible. I’ve never seen a movie work harder in product placement than this. It was basically an advertisement for every internet entity and an inside joke for kids that sit around and play video games all day. The indoor generation – my kids didn’t like it, but maybe that’s because, well, they go outside and they read books – I know, what an elitist snob I am.
Anyway, back on track – Mahershala Ali – played college ball at St. Mary’s which is a pretty amazing tie in to what I have going on later today. St. Mary’s plays in the West Coast Conference, and in just a few hours I am interviewing West Coast Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevarez for the podcast.
Nevarez is the first Latina commissioner in division 1, first ever. I read a profile on her in the LA Times, reached out to a LinkedIn contact I saw was connected to her, and within about a week had her scheduled for an interview. Thank you Lisa Rodriguez.
Obviously I’m selling the fact we have this great interview coming up – and that it’s connected to the Oscars, which is timely – but really lets make a point here. I talk about LinkedIn as an asset to each and every one of you, and I hope by now you are leveraging this tool for your betterment.
This is how you build your network and increase your reach in the industry, you find a thread of connection between you and another person of interest and you connect. Lisa Rodriguez and I connected because she once worked with my CEO at the Phoenix Coyotes, she listened to the podcast, liked it and thought – huh, I should connect with this dude.
In that time frame her and I have had many conversation – we talked strategy for landing Theo Epstein on the podcast (he’s my white whale, I may close down the show if I ever get him on) we’ve talked industry comings and goings. And then I asked her about Gloria Nevarez and she made it happen.
I owe Lisa one. But the bigger point here is, without that tool, LinkedIn, none of this would have happened. There would be no platform for us to converse in a business sense, we would not have seen the interconnectivity in our networks, we would not have been able to discuss challenges we faced, or help each other out or connect with others.
I’m not just saying this stuff for something to say, I really believe it, and I use it…and I don’t get paid a dime by Linkedin just to be clear… but if you are listening, I’m open to it.
Use the tools you have to build your career in sports.
Now let’s get back to the Oscars – that’s the theme of today's show.
I’m one of those people that seeks out inspiration – I’ll watch Rocky III for the 70th time to enjoy the training scenes with Rocky and Apollo, I’ll watch Remember the Titans to be reminded of our recent history of bigotry and intolerance, Saving Private Ryan to inspire courage but also the cruelty of war.
There are so many moments for inspiration in life if you look for them, and movies are a great platform for that emotion.
Last night it wasn’t a movie that inspired, it was a speech, and as I heard it I took note and I thought, I want to expand on this. While the world will talk dresses and green book controversy and spike lee… there were 6 words that changed my night and they came from Lady Gaga – who would have thought.
“There is a discipline for passion”
I’ll give you her whole paragraph after wining best song:
"If you are at home, and you're sitting on your couch and you're watching this right now, all I have to say is that this is hard work. I've worked hard for a long time, and it's not about, you know...it's not about winning. But what it's about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There's a discipline for passion."
This stopped me in my tracks – maybe that makes me a weirdo, but it is so clear and concise in it’s root.
Passion isn’t enough. Wanting things really bad isn’t enough. Feeling entitled isn’t enough.
There are steps you have to take for success, the passion and the want has to be mirrored and followed with discipline and a process to achieve.
In my view there are 4 main pillars of achieving success in our chosen industry:
1: Gaining the right experience – we can talk about interning and volunteering and informational interview and job shadowing…but how do you do it with intention and purpose and a strategy to reach your ultimate goal. To reach your passion.
2: Building connections – to make it in this industry it is not solely about who you know as some will try ot pawn on you – but that is a part of it. It is important to build connections and to have depth in your relationship and put effort into building them. This is not a connect and forget world. This is work.
3: Mastering Your Materials – your social media profiles, including LinkedIn, your resume your cover letter – these are your messengers to world saying notice me! These are you applicant tracking system beaters, these are the proof of your hard work to tell a talent acquisition manager you are worth of next steps.
4: The job interview process – it’s all for naught if you don’t work at this skill, if you don’t practice and rehearse and understand exactly what employers want out of you through this process. If you don’t take the steps to set you up for success in this phase everything else was a waste. Imagine that for a second, you crush every aspect of your experience, your connections, your materials… but then you forget to learn how to master the interview… sorry, none of it matters then!
This is the discipline in takes to follow your passion. For years at our company Work in Sports.com we’ve had the tagline, Make Your Passion Your Career, Work in Sports. Right? Makes sense, people feel something emotional from the sports industry, they want to be involved, they sit on the edge of their seat waiting to see what happens, they throw parties to celebrate big games – this doesn’t happen in most of the business world!
That’s why passion and sports go hand in hand… but that isn’t enough. You need discipline, you need a strategy and an approach to this.
I speak in classrooms all across the country and what has become evident to me – colleges and universities are great at teaching skills and theory – they can prepare you to do a job – but they do not prepare you in these principles, they do no prepare you to tae the steps necessary to get hired in the sports industry.
This is not an insult – they have a charge, and it is to teach you the skills you need to operate in the function of a job. But, what I want to do is teach you the skills of getting a job.
The number one fear I hear from students is – I keep hearing that hundreds of people apply for every job in the sports industry, how in the world am I going to stick out? How in the world will I be anything more that resume #275?
This is the right fear to have, because if you don’t make a plan, a disciplined plan, to follow through on experience, networking, materials and interviewing – you will be just another person on the bottom of the stack.
I’m am literally in the process of creating a curriculum, an online course, in exactly this process, strategy and plan. We’re building out the tactics you need to become a top candidate for jobs, not an also ran. It’s not ready yet, but I’m telling you it’s awesome, and when I heard Lady Gaga say those words last night
There is a discipline for passion …and that this is hard work, not just natural talent on hitting the lottery or getting lucky – I thought to myself she gets it. 100%
This is the concept you need to keep in the back of your mind as you go through your journey toward the sports career you want – keep asking yourself, do I have the discipline to follow my passion.
That’s it for today – Wednesday if everything goes according to plans later today, will be my interview with Gloria Nevarez commissioner of the West Coast Conference – and then every Thursday I do a Facebook LIVE session from the Work in Sports Facebook page at 7:30 PM EST..it’s a great chance to ask me all of your sports career focused questions so come join me, it’s fun I promise.