Career Advice from the Outside In

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged Learning at and this is the Work in Sports Podcast…

This episode is about expansion. 

We in the sports industry so often out on our blinders and only think about sports. We tell ourselves it is so different than everything else out there, we are unique.

Truth is, in some places we are, in others we are quite typical. 

A scout, a coach, an athletic trainer -- sure these are careers you only find in sports, but the vast majority of opportunities out there are bound by the same business and economic restrictions as every other industry. 

Finance, event management, operations, marketing, human resources, public relations, sales, these are all common roles in sports, and in every other industry in the world. 



So we’re taking off the blinders today and speaking with someone, clutch your pearls… outside of sports, GASP!

Fawn Germer is a 9-time author, including multiple best sellers and Hard Won Wisdom, which Oprah herself recommends, and even if in sports “Oprah recommends…” doesn’t carry as much weight as say “Chris Berman recommends...” it’s still pretty amazing.

She’s also been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative journalism 4 times -- that’s dope. 

Her latest book is titled Coming Back, How to Win the Job You Want, When You’ve Lost the Job You Need -- is really really good. We’re talking actionable career-focused content… right now with Fawn Germer…


Questions for Fawn Germer, Best-Selling Author


1: There is a tactical discussion for us to have, the nuts and bolts of how our audience can thrive in the messed-up environment we call modern day life, but there are also broader strategies and mindsets that everyone can and should employ – let’s start there. Sound good?

I, like you, speak to a lot of entrepreneurs and executives, and one thing that always sticks out to me is their wholehearted belief in themselves and their vision. They see why things can and should work and go after them fearlessly, rather than being consumed and stalled by self-doubt. 

Why don’t more of us embody that attitude? What is it that holds us back?

2: From your myriad of interviews and discussions with industry leaders, presidents, prime ministers – are there certain traits or attributes that stick out to you? And if so, how can the people listening apply these mindsets to their lives?

3: I read in your bio where you said “Life is all about our obstacles. They hold our greatest opportunities for success and growth, but we do have to earn them.”

Can you go deeper there – what do you mean by ‘earning your obstacles’ and how does that lead to success and growth?

4: Confidence is not a constant. We all have times where we feel indestructible, ready to take on the world, and then things happen, life happens, and we get damaged. Our psyche isn’t as impenetrable. 

Right now, this is a reality for so many people. 

They had a job, they loved their job, now it’s gone. The spiral takes over – they read unemployment numbers, they hear competition is high for jobs, the bills pile up – it’s not enough to tell them “this too shall pass” --- what should they focus on to get through these crises of confidence that can weigh them down?

5: In sports we often define coaches one of two ways, they are the tough as nails, hard driving, tough love, in your face type …or they are the player focused coach, they laugh a little more, treat the players as equals, pat them on the back when they fall down type. 

You teach, you coach, what is your approach to getting through and motivating people to take action? 

6: Congratulations on your latest book, COMING BACK: How to Win the Job You Want When You've Lost the Job You Need  it’s a great read no matter where you are in your career journey. 

I like to share actionable advice on this show, I want listeners to learn and do things, not just hear me preach in abstract manner. Your book shares the same approach, lots of actionable advice – so let’s dig in.

There are massive opportunities right now when it comes to networking – how should someone listening approach networking in today’s environment?

7: Networking is a long play, it takes time, effort and consistency to build relationships that matter – how do you personally approach building these relationships? How do you go from “new connection” to “real relationship”?

8: I’ve had on three different VP’s of talent acquisition in the last month, we hit January hard with career focused strategies – and they all said “video interviews are here to stay – this is how business will be done.” 

If someone came to you and said “I have this video interview tomorrow and I’m freaked out” – what would you tell them?

9: People apply for jobs in sports because it sounds cool to work in our industry. Well, it is cool, it doesn’t just sound cool. We get a ton of applicants for jobs, competition is always high, and now, it’s even higher. 

How does someone stand out and get hired in this really densely competitive employment environment?

10: I don’t mean to overstate it – but you can do everything right, you can gain the right skills, build your network, nail your resume, build your brand – but if you flop during the interview process it can your nail in the coffin. The interview is the grand finale of your performance.

In your view what should the strategy and approach be for interviewing?

11: You are a highly sought-after public speaker, and you focus a great deal on leadership. 

I remember going from being an individual contributor during my years at CNN, focused solely on myself and my tasks, to then becoming a manager of people as News Director at Fox Sports Northwest, and thinking – ok, now I’m a leader, because the position says so. 

It wasn’t until I had made many, many mistakes that I realized leadership is an action, not a position. 

How do you teach people to be effective leaders? And is it something that can be taught?

12: This has been an amazing conversation Fawn, thank you so much for your time, we’ll finish up with this. There was a section of your book, that as a 25-year veteran of my industry made me nervous, “you state that experience doesn’t count anymore” – can you explain why, and go even deeper into what does count?

By Brian Clapp | March 17, 2021
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