Football is a team sport that calls for perseverance, goal setting, discipline, and teamwork. It’s a competitive sport, and during the season, teams seek to impress their fans on the field with all the hard work they put in during practice. You can use the same principles at work. (more…)
With the biggest game of the year upon us, many this weekend with focus on the matchup between the two teams, the legacy of the players who end up on the winning side, the commercials that will win the day, or the number of Buffalo wings they’ll consume.
But the Super Bowl also offers many lessons for people pursuing success in their professional lives. Throughout the years, many players who have shined on the biggest stage of professional football have gone on to lengthy and successful careers.
In 1990, if you asked any football fan or expert about the prospect of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman becoming a Hall of Fame player and Super Bowl champion, it’s unlikely you’d find any who would think there was a chance of that happening. The Cowboys didn’t win a game with Aikman as the starting quarterback, and he threw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns.
So what happened over the next two years that would lead to the Cowboys winning Super Bowl XXVII and Aikman being named the MVP?
Over those two years, Aikman grew and matured while the Cowboys organization surrounded him with a talented offensive line and future hall of famers in Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith.
If you’re just starting your career and gaining experience in your work, don’t give up. Understand that success takes time and that as you learn more about your career field, you will experience more wins.
The other lesson to remember is that nothing is accomplished on your own. A successful career is often the result of teamwork, so make sure to learn from those around you and thank them along the way.
Known for his toughness, resiliency, and big smile, Hines Ward’s story is one of perseverance through tough circumstances.
Ward was a highly regarded wide receiver coming out of college in 1998, with many expecting him to be one of the top five receivers selected in the pro draft. But before the draft, it was discovered that Ward was missing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee from a bicycle accident during his childhood.
This news made many teams wary of his health, and Ward fell from being one of the top receivers in the draft to being the 12th receiver taken when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the third round.
Over the next seven seasons, Ward and the Steelers found success but came up short of their ultimate goal, a Super Bowl trophy. Then, in 2005, the Steelers won Super Bowl XL and Ward was named the MVP.
Throughout his career, Ward was known for his willingness to block for teammates and make the catches that would leave him vulnerable to big hits. This sacrifice for the good of the team towards a common goal is a lesson we can all take to heart in our professional lives.
The most recent Super Bowl MVP, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has played the majority of his young career with a spotlight on his efforts and an expectation of success.
Drafted second overall in 2011 by the Broncos, Miller was anticipated to be a highly successful player who could lead the rebuilding of the team’s defense. While he saw success early on and the Broncos became a contender, toward the end of the 2013 season, Miller tore his ACL and watched as his team made it to Super Bowl XLVIII. From the sidelines, he watched the Broncos suffer one of the worst losses in Super Bowl history, falling to the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8.
Two years later, Miller helped lead his team to another chance for a championship as the Broncos made another appearance in the Super Bowl. Instead of standing on the sidelines, Miller was instrumental in the Broncos victory, forcing two fumbles and winning Super Bowl MVP.
Just like Von Miller, many of us have expectations set on us for success, whether from leaders at work or friends and family members at home. Those expectations may put a heavy weight on our shoulders, but they can also move us to work harder knowing that others have confidence in our abilities.
And when setbacks happen, we know from the stories of each of these Super Bowl MVPs, they don’t have to define us. We can grow, learn, and reach new heights if we’re willing to put in the effort and fight to see success.
What other prime-time performers from past Super Bowls can teach us career lessons? Let us know in the comments section.
Every year, the best of the best in the NFL gather to put it all on the line for the chance to earn the title “Super Bowl Champion.” While most of us will never have the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, there are still plenty of important lessons we can learn from the teams who are gearing up to compete this Sunday. In fact, studying the players and coaches from both teams may just help you in your job search and career. To see how, take a look at these important career lessons from this year’s Super Bowl contenders.
Peyton Manning’s lesson on longevity.
On Sunday, Peyton Manning will become the oldest quarterback to start the Super Bowl. Manning began his career with the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, and is still playing nearly 20 years later. For an athlete, that’s an astounding feat. His longevity and perseverance are characteristics that make Manning an ideal employee. If you’re looking for a job, highlight any previous jobs you’ve held for a long period of time to showcase your dedication to your employers. If you’re currently in the workforce, consider Manning’s example of perseverance and remember that loyalty is a trait employers love.
The Panther’s lesson on competition.
The Carolina Panthers have never won a Super Bowl. While that may change this weekend, it remains a driving force that pushes them to excel. There’s no doubt they want to win, just like you want to land that interview or get hired. Last season, the Panthers finished the year with a losing record and now they’re playing for a championship. Take a lesson from the Panthers and polish up all aspects of your job search from your resume to your interview wardrobe. Spend a few moments updating your references and practicing popular interview questions so you’re prepared to take home the job search trophy when your opportunity comes.
Quarterbacks’ lesson on generational relationships.
When Peyton Manning and Cam Newton start the Super Bowl, they will have the largest age gap (13 years) between two quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. While 13 years isn’t a big difference in the workplace, its impact on the football game can teach us a thing or two about how different generations operate. Refresh Leadership, a blog for business leaders from Express Employment Professionals, recently profiled the five generations that exist in the workforce. Since knowing how to engage with all generations will set you apart from the competition, study the habits and preferences of generations other than your own.
The Bronco’s lesson on never giving up.
This Super Bowl marks the eighth appearance for the Denver Broncos. Of those trips to the championship game, the team has lost five times–the most of any NFL team. Despite their losses, the Broncos have not given up. Like the Broncos, you will face competition in your job search. And unfortunately, you may also face defeat. If you land an interview and do your best to prove you’re the right candidate for the job, but you don’t get hired, it’s easy to give up. But, you have to keep trying. When you’re faced with a stressful job search, remember to get back in the game and try again. Your next win may be just around the corner.
Ron Rivera’s lesson on mentorship.
The Panthers coach has been both a player and a leader in the NFL, and he didn’t get there alone. In fact, Rivera has been counseled by one of the game’s greatest coaches, NFL Hall of Fame member John Madden. According to Rivera, Madden’s mentorship style includes celebrating wins and being honest with his advice. If one of the league’s greatest coaches can benefit from a mentor, maybe you can too. In today’s digital age, mentoring is easier than ever before. And the benefits of building positive mentoring relationships can help with both your career and your personal goals.
Gary Kubiak’s lesson on improving your skills.
You may get knocked down in your job search or career, but it’s important to get back up and keep trying. Sometimes, you may even need to take a break and reassess your path. That’s what happened to Gary Kubiak, who took a year to reevaluate his strategy after it wasn’t leading to wins. To better his job performance, Kubiak recently completed an apprenticeship under John Harbaugh, a Super Bowl-winning coach. Apprenticeships and internships are great ways for you to gain hands-on experience in the field of your choice, improve your skills, and make important networking connections. Going back to school can also improve your chances of landing a job.
Peyton Manning’s lesson on teamwork.
There’s no doubt quarterbacks are natural leaders of their teams. But, it definitely takes the entire team to win a championship. In a recent interview, Peyton Manning highlighted the importance of teamwork when he said, “I haven’t led the team to the Super Bowl. Our defense has. I’m part of it.” Like Manning, recognizing your team’s input and efforts can help you win big on projects and goals. Even if you feel like you led your team to a win, it’s important to appreciate each contribution they made.
Michael Oher’s lesson on discipline.
If you watched The Blindside, you probably remember Michael Oher. He was the football player who grew up with a rough childhood before being adopted by a family whose past was unlike his. Oher attended 11 different schools during the first nine years of his education, moved from foster home to foster home, and had to repeat several grades. Now, he’s set to play in his second Super Bowl after winning a championship in 2013 when he was with the Baltimore Ravens. Oher’s determination to rise above his circumstances is a reminder of the importance of self-discipline and goal-setting. Like Oher, you too can overcome your obstacles. If you lack the skills you need for the job, learn them. If you lack experience, gain it. You have to remember not to give up.
What other lessons can we learn from this year’s Super Bowl teams? Let us know in the comments section below.
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
Excitement is growing each day as we get closer and closer to the kickoff of the big game. Friends are planning parties and fans are picking sides. And in the spirit of one of the world’s largest sporting events – it’s time to put your game face on and attack your job search. Here are five tips to help you become a champion in the job search competition.
Develop a Game Plan
Research companies you would like to work for and develop a plan of action to be part of their team. The most obvious search would be the company’s website to see if the company culture aligns with your values. Consider asking friends who might work at the company or individuals you might know through professional networking organizations. Execute your plan daily with determination, drive, and passion.
Fundamentals are Key
In football and in life, fundamentals are key. You need to practice your skills to make sure you are sharp and ready for any assignment. If you are just entering the workforce and don’t have the experience yet, consider volunteering with a nonprofit to gain some valuable skills like organization, time management, and team building. Or, if you are in the workforce and are looking for a change, you may need to think about career technical school or night school to acquire a new set of skills.
Outplay Your Competition
After you’ve practiced, sharpened your skills, and executed your plan, you’re set to outplay your competition. Here are some suggestions that can set you apart from the competition: dress appropriately for the interview, know what employers may ask in an interview, and be on time. Once you have an interview, make sure you follow up with a thank-you note to the interviewer.
It’s 4th down and inches and you are faced with a choice: do you go for it or punt. If you are willing to take a risk on a new job opportunity, but still have questions, it’s okay to ask the interviewer questions. You may consider asking what does a normal workday for this position look like or what is the biggest challenge someone in this position typically faces.
Leave Everything on the Field
You’ve prepared for that dream job and got an offer, now what do you do? Make sure you are on time for work and for meetings, work hard to hit your deadlines, and contribute solutions to projects at hand. Above all, work hard and celebrate with your new championship team.
What are some ways that you attacked your job search with a game plan and landed on the championship team? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
Beyond the joys of tailgating, catching up on your Fantasy Football team, or getting together for chilly games, football can also teach us a lot about business success. What we learn from one of America’s favorite sports demonstrates that serious training, making plays in overtime, and judging strategy are as easily applied to your career as it is on the 50-yard line.
So suit up, put your game face on, and check out these tips on how to apply football strategies to your career advancement.
1. Change Strategies Mid-Game
In 1940, the Chicago Bears were the underdogs in American football. They faced the superior Washington Redskins, and much to everyone’s shock and awe, beat them 73-0.
That game was one of the biggest upsets in football history. So how did a team with no shot of winning absolutely crush the more talented team? Did they cheat? Were they just lucky?
Neither. The Bears realized their current strategy wasn’t working, and they made adjustments. The team created the now-famous “T formation,” representing the first time a team created a new strategic formation in the middle of a game.
Like the Bears, if your strategy isn’t working in your favor, consider trying something new. Feel like you’ve earned a raise, but just putting in the hours and doing a job isn’t getting it for you? Re-strategize, collect supporting materials, and consider openly asking your boss for a raise.
If your management style isn’t inspiring your employees, change tactics and research different management techniques to get the results you want. If your resume and cover letter aren’t getting the responses you need, rewrite and reword it to highlight your abilities.
Today, coaches constantly look at which strategies work for their team and which are no longer effective. As an employee, you should do the same.
2. Never Stop Training
Every team from the little leagues to the NFL knows that consistent training is vital to the success of an organization. So, identify your key strengths and find ways to regularly improve them.
If your company offers training seminars or opportunities to cross-learn, take advantage of that offer. If you can take a night class to better your chances for a promotion or raise, invest in that education. If you have a weakness, work with coaches or teachers to increase your skill in those areas. In a team setting, you must also learn to trust co-workers and management to do their jobs in order to allow for the win.
By focusing on training and skills, you can create the best opportunity for team success and personal achievement both on and off the field.
3. Pick the Right Team, Play the Right Spot
In football, the right players have passion and drive. In business, passion and drive are just as important, but you need to find the right team for your skills.
What sets top performers apart from other team players? They’re excited, passionate, and invested in what they’re doing every day. You can’t fake passion, so if you have a career you love, you’ll help bring in the win for the organization. But, if you aren’t in a position that allows you to make the big run or go for the down, find out what you need to learn or accomplish in order to move up.
Your management team wants you in the right position too, but they won’t know where to put you if you don’t speak up.
4. Make the Big Play On the Fourth Down
Going for it on the fourth down is a gamble in football games. According to some analysts, being more aggressive on the fourth improves a team’s chance of winning, but coaches rarely make that call.
If you’re in a situation where you can make a big move, especially with a lot on the line, you might want to take the chance. Sure, you may be guaranteed a few points by playing it safe and taking the easy route, but working hard and having faith that a big move may win the game could pay off.
For instance, say you aren’t going to meet your sales quota this month. You have enough sales to slide by, so should you run the risk of making a big push on cold calls to gain a few more?
Absolutely. Of the 10 or so calls you make to companies, you might just score that touchdown and land your biggest client.
You’ll never know if you don’t go for it on fourth down.
What are some business lessons you’ve learned from football? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.