A few weeks ago, I had the chance to speak to a sports management class at Pepperdine University. During my time speaking, an extremely bright young girl asked a very valid question–one that I really wish didn’t have to be a topic of conversation in and of itself. She asked how you can implement your faith into a career within the sports industry? This came right after a brief discussion about the importance of genuinely being yourself, and the two topics can’t help but go hand in hand.
One of the most important things that I tell people who want to work in sports is that before you get caught up in the glitz and glam of what looks to be a super cool industry (which don’t get me wrong, it is), take a step back and make sure that you know who you are down to your core. If you cannot confidently and authentically answer who you are as a person, what your goals are, what your personal values are, and define your clear cut mission statement, I strongly recommend that you begin here. Speaking from experience, this industry will test who you are, and if you don’t know the answers to these questions, good luck navigating a field that will answer them for you.
Why do we get so caught up–and so scared–of people knowing who we truly are? Have courage and confidence to be your authentic self, and show up as that person every single day. Stop conforming to someone else’s idea of what’s right, or the belief that we are only as valuable as what we do, the accolades that we hold, and the goals that we reach. You are valuable in this world because you are a human being with a unique purpose.
Personally, there is nothing better than doing business with someone who is authentic to their core, and fully aware of this. Not only do these individuals show up as themselves one-hundred percent of the time, but they also understand, and accept, that not everyone is going to like their authenticity.
I tell my clients that if a brand decides it doesn’t want to work with them because of something about them, why would they want to work with that brand anyway? From experience, I also know that there are people who don’t want to do business with me strictly because of the fact that I am an outspoken believer. Again, that’s ok! I don’t want to do business with them either. My faith is part of the core of what makes me who I am, and I refuse to give any of this up all for the sake of a deal.
Just because you are a believer does not mean that you can’t work and be successful in sports; the same holds true in every other industry. It’s not a matter of steps that need to be taken, but rather, a decision that must be made to live and work for an audience of One in an industry that can pull your attention in so many directions. Stay the course.