1% Better Everyday

I once read an interview of an athletics director as introduction to their new university community. The person was someone whom I didn’t know personally, yet respected from a distance for not only their professional advancement, but their commitment to personal integrity and honor. As part of the interview process this person was asked about their philosophy for how they saw the operation was going to proceed under new leadership.

The answer was 1% better everyday.

In a large, established organization, change doesn’t happen quickly and this leader recognized that fact. Change is inevitable, however, and this person also recognized that as well. With the right channeled, controlled change, a little at a time, big changes result. Just a little at a time.

KAIZEN

This approach of getting better 1% everyday at life and work is called Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement.

Seth Godin called it the drip. Drip by drip, a little at a time things change until all of a sudden you realize how different things from when you started.

Both get at the same idea…the fact that big results can come from the small, continuous improvement of something over time. In finance, 1% compounded over time would yield incredible results, even if only for a short amount of time…and remember, you have your entire life ahead of you to start this 1% change in thinking and behavior.

DOUBLE DOWN

Do you recall the “penny” question from middle school or high school math class? If asked if you could have your choice of a million dollars at the end of 30 days or a penny doubled every day for 30 days, which would you choose? There’s not a correct answer, but if you’re going for the most money you should have chosen the compounded penny because that results in almost ten times more money. That’s a big change in a short amount of time.

This approach to self-improvement is not about a destination, it’s about just being better than yesterday and not as good as tomorrow. If you fall short on something, you’re never very far from getting back to where you started if you only focus on the process. If you focus on the process and the daily steps toward getting further along, then your dreams become goals become reality.

1% better everyday. It’s a lofty ideal, but what else do you have? You have today. And that’s good enough for me.

Go Forth.

People are Interesting Creatures

Tall. Short.
Wide. Thin.
Happy. Sad.
Content. Upset.
Introvert. Extrovert.
People are interesting creatures.

Many words describe people. When you examine all the many things a person can be at one time it’s incredibly overwhelming and yet completely comforting at once. No one “likes” being labeled, but our capacity to comprehend the vast array of qualities is our only attempt at understanding and dealing with our own existence and mortality.

The difference between animals and humans is that humans are conscious that they are conscious. Humans have a conscience. Animals are conscious creatures; they move, eat, sleep and operate independently but they act solely on instinct and their current mood or demeanor. I suppose some humans do this too, but I’m thinking about all of humanity in this post.

Humans have choice. Humans can define their own reality and can act either with or against their conscience. The word “can” is important here…possible, but not necessarily acted out. I’m not trying to get into a nature versus nurture argument, but choice is always present and humans have the ability to think and decide. Certainly there are consequences for those choices, but choice is always an option nevertheless; even no decision is a decision.

The older I get, the more books that I read and the more people I meet, I see how wonderful the world is and how mysterious creation can be…I see things all at once and not at all at the same time. I cannot often comprehend every aspect of what I experience, but I feel the wholeness and the magnitude all at once.

As I continue to age, and hopefully grow in wisdom as I do, I see the completeness of the human experience. People are not just words, but living beings trying at once to be something for themselves and something for others, some combination of the two. I see life and death as not just singular events in time but rather on a continuum of human existence in the world as we know it.

People are interesting creatures.

Whether I’m thinking about someone I’ve known a long time or meeting someone new, I can’t help but think about what that person is thinking and feeling and what led them to the place they are now and where they are headed in life. I also think about my own ability to think about what I’m thinking about and think about what I’m feeling. And it’s interesting how we connect or disconnect at various stages in time depending on how we and others are either thinking or feeling.

So many little things can get in the way of those fragile connections that aren’t readily apparent to all people at all times…and this happens constantly over time. We’re at once trying to deal with ourselves (either consciously or unconsciously) and with others whom we have thoughts and feelings for on a wide spectrum. And each person has various motivations and is being acted on both internally and externally and all of a sudden it’s no wonder that human existence has been plagued with horrible atrocities and wonderful advancements at every stage since its existence.

And yet the sun rises and sets.
The earth keeps spinning.
And time is constantly moving forward.

I don’t know what the answer is, or even if there is a question. But I do know that people are interesting creatures.

Back to School

School, Quad
Back to School

Well, it’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down. Schools are starting back up. Families are getting back from vacations. Labor Day will be here before we know it and we’ll officially start planning our fall activities…especially our fall sports traditions!

With this changing of the cultural seasons, let this be a reminder to us of the resolutions we set at the beginning of the year. How are you doing on those? Not counting the rest of this month, you’ve got at least another 4 months to close out the year strong. Every day is a opportunity to make things a little bit better than they were before. Fall down, get back up. Fall down, get back up. Fall down, get back up again. It’s only if you don’t learn from your mistakes that you’ve truly failed. Don’t do that. Choose the way of growth…without pain we’d never fully appreciate joy and happiness.

So with that said, how is your fall shaping up? Maybe football season snuck up on you and you’re not quite ready? For those of us on the West Coast, it can be somewhat awkward if your school is on the quarter system…things are starting up but we’re not quite ready for summer to be over yet. School won’t start until the middle of September when most other students have already had their first day of school today. It’s kind of weird going to a college football game with very few students actually attending, especially for a larger school with most of it’s student population not residing in the immediate vicinity, or at least a short drive away. If this is your school or team, do you best to get out and that show your support during this treasured time of warmup for what’s to come. These early days count and should be cherished for the unique atmosphere you’ll find.

Finally – good luck this fall! Now is a great time to re-evaluate, re-energize, and re-start whatever it is you want to improve. Hopefully your summer, or what’s left of it, has been an opportunity to refuel your physical and spiritual and emotional energy to take on the speed of all that the autumn season has to offer.

Here’s to a great season. Go Irish!

Seattle #SBWeek 2015 – Sports Business Networking Night

SBWEEK Seattle
Seattle #SBWeek – Sports Business Networking in Seattle, WA

Do you work in sports?
Will you be in or near Seattle, WA on Thursday, April 16th, 2015?
Do you want to work in sports?
Do you do business with or work for an organization that supports the sports industry?
Do you like “talking shop” with cool people?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should register for and attend the Seattle #SBWeek Sports Business Week networking event! Register here. This year’s #SBWeek will be held on Thursday, April 16th, 2015 at Henry’s Tavern across from Safeco Field (same as last year).

Your registration fee is encouraged and will support the V Foundation. If you cannot afford the registration fee, please send me an email or direct message on Twitter so I can still account for how many will be attending. Thank you!

More information about on this year’s event will be available as we approach the actual date, but for more information now, you can read more on my post from last year,Seattle Sports Business Networking Night, or on Russell Scibetti’s blog, The Business of Sports.

Thanks for reading – please register early and subscribe to my newsletter for more information!

How To Get a Job in Sports

How to get a job in sports - self identity, networking
Looking for a job in sports? Consider these tips below. Photo of Safeco Field, Home of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle, WA

Happy 2015! I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I last posted on Bill’s Sports Business Blog and I apologize to you, my readers. Right about the time I stopped posting, was also the time things at my last sports business job got crazy. A couple people in my office ended up leaving for other opportunities and it turns out I ended up leaving a few weeks later too! Yup, Bill got a new job. As a result of all that stuff going on, I didn’t really have a lot of time to myself, which left no time for posting to the blog. I’m sorry about that readers. BUT, I do think I have some interesting advice on how to get a job in sports – or at least I hope you find this information useful, depending on where you are in your career. I figured since I am only a few months into my new job I’d offer a few tips on how to break into the industry and get a job in sports.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll target my advice to those who are looking to get a job in sports and are just getting started with their career. Certainly it helps if you are entering the early stages of your career and just getting started working in general, but some of this could apply to anyone looking to get a job in sports.

FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO

First, you’ve got to figure out what you like to do and what you’re personal interests are, as there are several avenues to take. Are you a creative person? Do you enjoy art, drawing, painting? Are you a technical person who enjoys data, statistics and numbers? Are you a people person who likes talking and interacting with people on a constant basis? No matter what you like to do, there’s probably an application for your skills in sports somewhere. Consider sports information/statistics, IT, analytics, marketing, sales, ticket operations, equipment, operations, coaching, counseling and legal counsel to name a few. Some of those areas have more strict application requirements, but like I said, if you’re at the beginning of your career, the world is your oyster – or playing field…haha.

DECIDE ON WHAT LEVEL OF SPORTS BUSINESS YOU LIKE THE BEST

Where do you see yourself – really? If you really want to work in sports business, it can’t be all about the money. Sure there are some jobs that pay very well in sports, but the likelihood of you ending up in a high paying job in a short amount of time isn’t likely, so take that aspect off the table and think about what’s more important. With so many people wanting to work in sports, the competition for getting most sports jobs is as tough as the competition on the playing surface.

So – where do you see yourself, really? Did you love your little league team and find yourself managing the local club while you were a student in high school? Maybe a community organization would be a great fit. There are probably several non-profit and for-profit sport organizations in your local community – go see what they’re up to and start a conversation.

Did you enjoy playing high school sports and like how everyone came together to celebrate with their friends and family? Maybe that’s where you belong. There are more high school sports programs than probably any other level of play, so opportunity at that level seems rather abundant.

How about college sports? DI, DII or DIII? You’ve got quite a variance of experience and competition to choose from and really the only way to figure out what fits best for you would be to go see a couple of games and watch everything but the game itself. By that I mean take a careful look at how many workers are there, what the setup is like and what the game presentation is like. Another thing to consider with college sports is the size of the organization you want to work for – small, medium or large. Do you prefer to be a part of a smaller team, where everyone involved is expected to contribute to the greater good by performing many different tasks? Or do you think you’d prefer to be a part of a larger organization that requires most employees to specialize in something specific?

Next, there are the pros – the top level of competition. This is usually what people think of and dream about when they think about working in sports. If your dream was to be the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks or the general manager of the San Francisco Giants, what a great dream! Never stop dreaming, but also be realistic. The relatively small number of those types of positions makes it statistically unlikely that most people will ever advance that far in their career. That’s not to say that you can’t find enjoyment and have a great career in pro sports doing something other than being the top boss.

CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS

Depending on what your skills are, you should also consider other ways to be involved in sports business. There are many different industries that directly support sports business or are tangential to sports business organizations. By that I mean, consider working for a venue, stadium or arena. Working for a building or building management organization is a great way to see all sides of what it takes to make events happen on a regular basis. You get to see sporting events, entertainment events, community events and a whole array of different people that make things happen. This is the type of organization I work for now and am learning new things everyday.

Another way to look at getting a job in sports is to consider being a referee. I was a referee in graduate school and absolutely loved every minute of it. It was a ton of fun being involved in the action in a very important role, plus its an excuse to stay active and in shape year round. The other thing that’s nice about being a ref is that it’s not a full time job; that way you can stay involved in sports, stay in shape, and do something else you love.

On the other hand, do forget about non-mainstream sports and endurance sports – think bowling, biking, obstacle races, running – basically sports other than football, baseball, basketball and hockey. Those areas are growing rapidly and are great options to be involved in sport in a different way. Again – it comes down to who are you, what do you like to do and where do you see yourself?

The last option I want to mention is working for an organization that supports the business of sports. There are apparel and equipment manufacturers, media organizations, consultant groups, food and beverage organizations, specialized video and game presentation organizations and numerous other ways to get a job in sports without actually being “in” sports. Think about all the different pieces that make TV games happen – well…maybe that’s difficult because you don’t know what’s out there yet, which brings me to my next point:

NETWORK AND GET TO KNOW PEOPLE

The best way, in my opinion, to get to know if a job in sports is for you is to actually go talk to someone who works in sports. Go find someone who does something related to whatever it is that you think you’re interested in and find out what they do on a day to day basis. Also find out what it took them to get where they are and how long it took. Find out what kind of education and training they have. Find out what kind of work-life balance they have. Many people say that work life balance doesn’t exist in sports, but I say those people are bitter. Of course there’s balance, there has to be or you burn out and quit. Do we work a ton of hours in sports? Yes. Do we love it? Oh yes, absolutely (most of the time). But, it does take a supportive family and a strong personal character to make it work with a family.

Long story short, go meet people and talk to them about where you are in life and where your interests lie. If you’re honestly just looking for advice, I’m sure most people would entertain your questions or at least be able to direct you to someone who can help. I would. Send me an email and signup for updates in the side column.

BOTTOM LINE

There’s no easy way to get a job in sports. It takes a lot of hard work, thoughtful action and due diligence to get what you want. So figure out your passion, apply your skills and talents and show up everyday with a positive attitude, ready to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. If you do that, regardless of whether you end up with a job in sports, you’ll find happiness. The world needs more people who are alive with their passions and do the work they love. Don’t focus so much on “I want to work in sports” but instead on “I want to find a career (not a job) that I love.” Do that and the rest will work itself out.

Thanks for reading Bill’s Sports Business Blog. For further reading on this subject, check out one of these Sports Business Books (affiliate). I hope you find something you like – I appreciate your support of my blog.

Go Forth!