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Focus on this ONE area and join the sporting elite

Focus on this ONE area and join the sporting elite

As we reflect on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, among the many attributes and skills that set elite athletes apart, there is one that stands out. Whether we’re experienced professionals or just starting out on our careers, focusing on this will differentiate us and greatly improve our chances of success.

That is PREPARATION. Competing at these levels requires intense and meticulous planning. From budgets and diet, mental coaching, off season training camps and recovery periods, everything needs to be prepared with the utmost precision. Especially for those in contention for medals, you can rest assured that coaches and administrators will have left no stone unturned in giving their athletes the best chance of success. The individuals gets the glory but it’s very much a joint team effort.

Here are 3 areas where PREPARATION will help get you those hoped for job/career results: 

Acing the interview/landing a new job       

As economic activity picks up and with many more opportunities available, now is a good time to start looking for something new – according to our LinkedIn poll, nearly 3 in 4 professionals were looking to move no matter whether they were happy in their jobs or not. Most careers experts will tell you that PREPARATION is key in helping you to stand out, so adopt that Olympian mentality and research the company you’re applying to, find out everything you can about its culture, its record on diversity, the leadership team etc. If you do get an interview, continue with your exam like studies and prepare questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

Impressing in your current role

Unfortunately, there is no manual or guide that will help you get ahead in your career. Hard work and being a nice person won’t always get you that desired promotion or pay rise. Improving your visibility, the perception others have of you and managing up are all areas to focus on. At the heart of all of this and what will get you noticed is PREPARATION. How much time have you spent on your next team meeting or one to one with your manager or director? Do you have any new ideas to discuss and bring to the table? Could that report that you’ve been working on be improved? Is there anything from your course or training that might benefit your team? Make sure you keep notes as you go along and always think about how you can add value. Keep learning and above all use your initiative!

Getting ready for your next career step

You may not realise it but all the work you’re doing is preparing you for your next career step. This is why it’s so important to learn as much as you can about your area of expertise but also from others. Ask your manager for advice and make sure you seek out feedback. Have you been assigned a mentor? The key once again is in the PREPARATION so be very tactical and strategic in terms of what you want to achieve and be clear on what you need to do to get to that next level (it might of course include passing exams and getting qualified). Like a sprinter, visualise crossing that line and being in that desired position. If there is no career path, you might have to consider moving roles and departments or even leaving.

Of course you can’t do it all on your own and there will be people who will help you along the way. But take your career in your own hands and prepare like an elite athlete would. They leave nothing to chance, so why should you?  

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