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.
By: Kraig Doremus, @Kraig_Doremus
Let’s be real, I’m no expert on the topic I’m about to cover, I simply want to pass along tips that have helped me succeed, because I know that no matter if someone is 23 or 63, they do not (and never will) know everything. Below are three points that have helped me become a lifelong learner and continually strive to improve.
1. Don’t let your ego get in the way
I’ll admit that this point was hard for me to swallow at first. I used to think that at a young age I was ready for a big time position without any true experience. So what did I do? I applied for a position that I was clearly not ready for. After receiving a form email that said the position had been filled by a different candidate, I emailed the hiring individual and asked what she thought I could do to improve. Her answer was simple: “You have six months experience. That is not enough for a full time position.” It was truly a wakeup call and taught me an incredibly valuable lesson. While I was reminded that I wasn’t ready to take a leap in my career and skip several rungs, it motivated me to make the best of my current situation and be invaluable. Not matter what my job title is, I must do whatever I can to help everyone succeed and continue to learn new things.
2. Dream big
Do a quick google search on tips for being a lifelong learner and you’ll get thousands of results on various tricks and tips. One of the first things that popped up on the screen was the idea that we should dream big. I’ve heard multiple times that I shouldn’t sell myself short and need to have goals. The same goes for you too. Know your value, find something you want to achieve, and take steps to get there. In October 2015, I took part in Dr. Coye Cooper’s 28-Day Growth Challenge as part of his Impressions: The Power of Personal Branding in Living an Extraordinary Life book. Week one, day one began with creating a “dream list” of 5–10 things that you want to accomplish.
Related Read: Embrace the Grind
For example, I want to be a Division I Sports Information Director. I spent 15 minutes developing my list, but it didn’t end there. The rest of the first week dealt with setting short-term and long-term goals and how I could begin to work towards them immediately. In the following weeks, Dr. Cooper told us to revisit our goals each day. By revisiting them (I posted mine on the refrigerator door), they became ingrained my mind. I saw my dreams and goals each day and refused to sell myself short. Find something you want to achieve. What’s your dream? How can you reach it? Write it down and post it where you will see it each day. Do not sell yourself short.
3. Pick a specific area to improve:
Nobody knows it all. In my field of athletic communications, there are platforms we must learn on a daily basis. A number of years ago, professionals had to learn how to use social media like Twitter and Facebook. Today, graphic design is becoming a larger part of the description than ever (especially at a small college). Just as I suggested you figure out a specific dream or goal you have and take steps to achieve it, figure out one of your weaknesses and attack it. I’m not the best Adobe Photoshop user in the world. I can do some basics, but nothing extraordinary. I decided to improve my Photoshop skills, so I took two steps. I used social media to find graphic designs that I liked and attempted to create something similar on my own. Additionally, I used YouTube. There are plenty of tutorials on the web. When I opened Photoshop for the first time, YouTube was my best friend (and still is). Need to know how to cut out an image or make a background black and white? Call on your network, social media, or the internet. Don’t refuse to learn something just because it’s hard. Trust me, I’ve been there. Instead, use the resources available to you and take steps to turn your weakness into a strength.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found something that you are able to use in your daily life or profession. In point two, I mentioned Coyte Cooper’s 28-Day Growth Challenge. You can follow him on Twitter (@coytecooper) and find more information about his challenge here: https://www.coytecooper.com/challenge-information
Also be sure to check out his new book: Make Your Mark and the course associated with it.