4 things I learned from working in the male-dominated sports industry

You can learn a lot from your professional experience. If you look hard enough, you will see a common thread between everything you’ve done and everything you will do. 

I began my stint in the sports industry as a junior in college by volunteering for player foundations in the NFL (National Football League). The work was grueling. I spent a lot of my time organizing volunteers to man concession stands for hours at the old Cowboys Stadium. Depending on how you look at the work, it can be training or brutal. I choose training. 

What I learned from my time in sports is that with enough passion and focus the ride to the top can be enjoyable. Here are four additional key takeaways: 

1.) Know what you want and share your goals with those that can help. Very often, we go into situations unsure of what we want but the reason I will encourage you to have an idea because those in upper management tend to be goal oriented individuals. How can someone assist you to achieve your goals if you don’t have any or don’t know where to start? I suggest you question everything. Ask specific questions. Dig. Find a blueprint that can help you uncover your wants and allow the journey to unfold. 

Specificity is the key to goal attainment. 

2.) Know who you are. What are your non-negotiables? How far is too far? I’ve found that by having a center of gravity, non-negotiables, that I have been able to avoid the pitfalls of a fast paced entertainment driven industry like the sports industry. If you don’t know who you are, there are those eager to define that for you. 

Decide. 

3.) Do you know the art of negotiation? You want something. Great! So does the other person. Michael Mamas of Entrepreneur Magazine put out a great article on the how to master the art of negotiation. To sum it up, building relationships is key. The best way to get what you want is by helping others get what they want, and the way you do this is by remembering it is not all about you. 

Eye contact doesn't hurt either. 

4.) Never give up on your dreams no matter where the journey takes you. I made up in my mind that the boys would not have all the fun and so my goal to be the first minority female majority owner of an NBA team is an homage to that way of thinking. 

What is your audacious goal? And what does it matter if it is in an industry led by men? The challenge is yours for the taking.

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