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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Dear Younger Me: Never Forget Where You Came From

Here are some things you need to focus on to make your dreams reality.

This post is part of the #YPSportsChat Blog Series! This series will give young professionals an inside look at the intricacies of the sports business world and advice on how to navigate it.

The road may not be easy, but it is worth it. Photo via pexels.com

Dear Younger Me,

So you want to work in the sports business huh. It will be an easy ride, you’re thinking, because you love sports, you are passionate about sports. You watch and listen to soccer games on TV and Radio every day in your home in Germany and think to yourself, “I can do that job, what will it take to get me there?” Well here are some things you need to focus on to make your dreams reality.


Listen to your parents when they tell you that education is important. Always be ready and willing to learn and continue to expand your horizons. Take your education seriously and don’t goof around “just to get by”. Learn and study with a purpose and with a focus on what your goals are, small and large. Take classes that make you think, make you feel uncomfortable and force you to collaborate with classmates to get good grades.


This will be your first opportunity to “network” and to understand the value of “Teamwork makes the dream work”. Don’t forget to have fun while enjoying your education though. Without fun, you won’t survive in college or in the real world. But always have a thirst for knowledge and try to become a sponge, soaking in every lesson you can. Wherever your education path takes you, whether you stay in Germany or decide to go to another country or continent like the USA, make sure you understand and value my next lesson.


This will have to become one of your biggest strengths in the years to come. You learned at a young age to adapt and accept differences. Continue to excel in this area as it will help you later on when you go out into the real world. All those lessons your parents taught you — growing up bilingual fluent in German and English, growing up in a household with two different cultures meshed into one working family — those will come back to help you and make you stand out.


You have to be willing to adapt to new situations, new cultures, new people, new friends. Otherwise you will box yourself into one spot, and may miss out on opportunities and friendships of a lifetime. Those friendships only come along if you continue to work on this next lesson every single day.


While you don’t understand right now what networking truly means, or why it’s so important, you will soon come to realize that this is the key to opening doors and dreams that you want to achieve. You’ve already formed a great network growing up at home. Your teammates on the soccer team, your classmates, your group of friends are all part of this thing called networking. They are connections that can help you as you grow older. But remember, networking is a two-way street. Look for opportunities to help your friends and colleagues, without expecting anything in return. You will likely be rewarded in ways you didn’t expect. And stay in touch. With help from today’s technology, it’s easy to make relationships last.


As you continue your education in college or university, networking will help you get your foot in the door. So don’t take it for granted now, start working on this much earlier and understand the value and importance of it for your career later on. Build those connections and let them grow and flourish like the flowers your mom planted in your German garden. But make sure they are built on our final lesson.

Honesty and Integrity

Your parents have preached this from the very start. Your grandfather was as brutally honest as they come. Build on that foundation and make sure that whatever you decide to do in life, you do it with honesty and integrity. These qualities will be some of the most important ones that employers, colleagues, friends etc. will judge you on. Stay true to yourself; be honest with yourself at all times. If you need help with a group project, then ask the group for help. If you see something that doesn’t look kosher, don’t shy away, stand up and say something.

If you exemplify these traits on a consistent basis, then people will value your opinion and your standing will grow in any setting. There is a big old world out there with plenty of obstacles in the way of your dreams, and not displaying honesty or integrity can be an easy way out. Resist the temptation. Stay true to yourself and your upbringing. You have the best parents in the world and they will support you through every endeavor.

Now understand that these aren’t all the lessons you’ll need to make your dreams reality. They are a good start for you to live by. Other things you will just have to learn along the way. Technology will evolve and you should evolve with it to stay ahead of the game. But never forget where you came from and where that spark of working as a soccer broadcaster, or in the sports industry overall, started. It will make the moment that much sweeter when the time comes.


Johannes Ernst Schneider (@jocoolwu)

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

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