Step One for your Job Search - Work In Sports Podcast


Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and engaged Learning for and this is the Work In Sports podcast.

We just recently passed a quarter of a million downloads. That is far beyond what I thought we would be able to do on this show, so I owe all of you a huge thank you. 

When we launched this concept, I had major concerns, even though it was my idea. 

I worried about being able to come up with enough content -- well, it turns out there is never a shortage of questions from you the fans, or just about career advice in general. 

And I worried about getting guests -- again, so many experts out there willing to share I am blown away by the level of guests we have had on the show. From super agent Leigh Steinberg to Vegas Golden Knights CMO Brian Killingsworth, to Boston Celtics VP Kara Walker -- we’ve had guests come in from everywhere and share their knowledge. 

2 years on the air -- and we have a long way to go. 

So, on Mondays, I handle a fan question, and I’ll do that shortly. But I also want to have some fan feedback time…

Where do you want me to go in year three?

To hell - is not an applicable answer. 

No I mean - are there subjects you want me to hit harder? Types of guests? Should I change the format of the show? Do you want me to have more roundtable discussions? Do more video components? Do more live sessions? 

I want your feedback because I sincerely value your advice.

Here is my personal email. Bclapp at - you can send me anything. I want to hear feedback from all of you. You are my market research, and you are the people I want to please. 

Seriously, say anything. There are no bad ideas.

Ok, on to today’s question -- and I’m warning you, it may get a little sentimental. This question comes from Alan L in Colorado


“Hi Brian, thank you so much for the podcast, I’ve learned more impactful things from you through this medium, than I have in my four years of college. I write today because I want to expand upon a subject you brought up lately regarding finding your fit in the sports industry. Outside of researching companies, what can I do to prepare myself to be successful in my career choices?”

Alan, I like how you kept this question vague -- I think that was intentional so that I’d take it in whatever direction struck me. I like that. I like to have thought exercises that aren’t too constrained by the question -- so thank you, and thank you for the kind words. 

One thing I’d like to stress for everyone listening, or considering sharing with a friend… of course, I am consumed by the niche of sports, it is a love of mine, and where my personal experience lies. 

But I’d also like to state that so much of my advice isn’t just relevant to sports, it’s about life and about career...and those things fit anyone, not just sports fans.

I bring this up because the way I’m going to answer Alan’s question - likely isn’t sporty at all.  

What can you do to prepare yourself for success? Know yourself first.

I’ve spent episodes talking through techniques, approaches, strategies, tactics… I love all of that stuff. But if you don’t start with internal knowledge, you are destined for failure. 

Let me repeat that -- if you don’t start your career with internal knowledge, you are destined for failure.

No one can give you insight into yourself like you can, and until you know what makes you work at your best you won’t be happy in your career, life or relationships. 

Ok, so enough of the broad talk - let’s get into specifics. 

Well, let’s start with a story first. This concept of knowing yourself was something I struggled with for decades. 

For a very long time, I behaved in manners I was expected to, or I thought would garner me positive attention. But that action was not in concert with my true self, so I struggled through it. 

It wasn’t until I started managing others that I recognized this.

I began to see productivity change in my staff, as individuals, based on things like environment, pressure, social engagement, micro-managing, schedule, conversation and more. 

I had staff members who worked best when left alone. I had others who needed to be in the center of the action. 

I had people who needed to talk about their life and day, before they could get into work initiatives, and others that wanted to barf every time small talk came up. 

This challenged me. 

I had to find out who each individual employee was, and what made them their best, and then set them up to be that person… and yet, at the same time, I didn't know who I was!

That’s insanity!

I began to question everything. My relationships to that point had major flaws in them, I was choosing to date people who had high popularity and appeal, but didn’t match me at all. I was taking on roles that didn’t fit my personality. I was making choices that weren’t being guided by what made me happy.

Everything was out of whack because I didn’t know myself.  

So how do you do it? How do you get to know yourself and how does that knowledge affect your choices in life and career?

Start simple. 

What gives you great joy? -- I mean the type of thing you can’t wait to do. 

So for example, if you said, I love going to live sports events, concerts, festivals, etc… that is my passion, I love the energy, I love the pace, the urgency, to pounding rhythm - it brings me great joy. Once I finish a game I can’t wait for the next one.

Don’t you see how this can affect your career choices? Don’t you see getting a degree in accounting probably doesn’t match your spirit? Don’t you see that working in analytics may not be your match?

Another question to ask yourself -- 

where and how are you at your best? 

If you say, I need 9-10 hours of sleep or else I’m a mess. Well, maybe not travel with a team, and definitely not baseball. 

 If you say, I need to be isolated - put me in a room with a spreadsheet and I’m good to go. There are roles where this fits -- data mining, analytics, programming, accouting.

Ask yourself -- when I’m at my best, what got me there? Think deep, is it the people around you, or the lack thereof, is it the environment, is it family, is it support, is it critique? 

Another question to ask -- 

How do you handle pressure?

Does it give you more focus? Or does it break you out in hives?

Ok let’s get a little squishier --

Who is the most important person in your life… and what do you admire about them?

How would you like others to perceive you? How do you perceive yourself?

What does success look like to you? Are you driven by wealth, popularity, winning, family, relationships? Ask 100 people what success looks like and many will say wealth, but many others will say purpose.. That’s a huge difference in who you are!

I’m not here to judge, I’m here to challenge you to discover who you are and what makes you operate at your best...because no matter where you are or what you do, if you don’t discover this intrinsic fact, you won’t get far. 

What is that saying -- “if you aim at nothing, you are guaranteed to hit it”  

Well, aim at something. Aim at getting to know yourself and don’t lie. Tell yourself the truth, go through a process of self-discovery so you can set yourself up for long-term happiness.

Alright, that’s it for today, thanks for the existential email Alan - I enjoy talking about purpose!

Speaking of, this Wednesday's guest on the show… Adam Fraser, Chief Executive for Laureus Sport for Good -- one of the most impactful philanthropic organizations connected to sports. 

Tune if for that on Wednesday… and for now… get back to work...

By Brian Clapp | October 28, 2019
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