Bend It like Beckham: Five Lessons Soccer Taught Me to Conquer the Real World
Written by: Dominique Becnel, Communications Strategist
Sometimes I think I might have come out of the womb with a soccer ball in my hand and cleats on my feet. Starting the sport at age two, playing soccer is something that has always been engrained in my personality.
Over the years, playing soccer provided me with lifelong friendships, my favorite outlet for exercise and a shiny state championship ring. Though I had an inkling when group project after group project tested my patience in college, I fully grasped the invaluable experience I gained from playing soccer when I entered the professional world.
Five of the many important lessons I took away from my soccer career that I’ve applied to the professional world include:
Be a coachable player. In the real world, no boss wants to hire an employee who can’t handle constructive criticism. When your supervisor identifies certain points you can improve upon, be thankful for the advice. Embrace the fact that you work in an environment where your colleagues provide honest feedback on your performance. At Gambel, I’m constantly learning from my coworkers about industry and company-wide best practices.
Always put the greater good of the team first. You’ve heard it a million times. There’s no “I” in team. At Gambel, one thing I love about our team is the fact that everyone’s victories are celebrated. Acknowledging even the smallest of accomplishments brings joy to individual team members and encourages employees to take pride in their work and achievements. As a supervisor, recognizing employees for their accomplishments doesn’t cost you anything, and it really boosts company morale.
Learn from your mistakes. Albert Einstein put it best when he said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” No matter where you are in your career (from the new hire to the CEO), you can always learn something new. Whether you’re discovering a new method, best practice or different technology, embrace it. When you make a mistake, look at it as a learning opportunity and make a conscious effort not to repeat the behavior moving forward.
Hard work pays off. There’s nothing more rewarding than accomplishing a goal you’ve worked really hard for. Whether it’s securing client coverage in a targeted news outlet, having your content shared on a national platform or hitting those KPIs on social media, winning in the office and on the field gives you the same sense of pure joy. At Gambel, we keep a wellness chart at the office to track personal and professional goals. This keeps our team accountable and allows us to encourage each other along the way.
Success is even better when you have great teammates to share it with. Some of the friendships I formed while playing soccer over the years are my most valued relationships today. After all, the best thing about being on a team is getting to celebrate winning together. At Gambel, our office is full of camaraderie and genuine friendship. I feel privileged to be able to work for a company where I consider the people I work with everyday not just coworkers but friends. When you spend the most number of hours in your day at work, it’s very important to like the people around you.