What Do Athletes Possess That Allow Them to Make an Impact in The Professional World?

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Being an athlete comes with many perks, but requires a great deal of sacrifice. In high school, that may come as practice coupled with training, as well as additional lifting sessions on the weekends. At the collegiate level, the regular day consists of early mornings lifts, practices, training sessions, more practice, all while handling an academic course load as every other student at your school.  At the professional level, the best-of-the-best are competing for money, pride, along with their legacies.

Hours of sacrifice, preparation, and training are experienced by an athlete on a regular basis for competitions that can span 40-90 minutes of time. Because of this, athletes possess an attribute that can’t be replicated. It isn’t a cookie-cutter characteristic that is found inside of every person. At the core of athletes lies something that separates them from the rest with something special which is sought out by employers across the world at the highest levels in every industry. They are team players that know how to follow their leader.

What is the “X-Factor” that gives athletes a competitive edge in life and the job-search? The answer is simple – “GRIT.” According to leading minds in the psychological and science communities, the attribute “Grit” can be defined as, “a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.”

Taking a look at the success of former Division-One basketball player, Malcom Lemmons, “GRIT” was able to land him a job that others didn’t believe he was qualified for. With “GRIT” and coming out of college, he was never able to partake in internships or jobs that regular students were doing. Instead, he spent his college career logging hours on the basketball court. When he applied for his first job after college with Apple he was competing for a job with candidates who had two to three years of hands-on experience directly in the field that he had none.

After meeting with numerous people within the company that were going to be making the final decision on who to hire, Malcom was given the position. He was dumbfounded because he could not understand how he was given an elite position over numerous people that he thought were more qualified.  What Malcom came to realize was that his embodiment of “GRIT” was something more important than experience. He had an internal drive that constantly kept him achieving success.

When you’re on the field or court, simply being the most talented will not get the job done. Championships aren’t given out before an event occurs. At the highest levels, there is very little distinction in talent and skills between the best and the rest. The deciding factor is the ability for the best to find a way to win, no matter what the cost.  Being in a competitive environment with individuals that are at the highest level is an invaluable experience. An athlete’s time spent on the playing field, in the weight room, and with their teammates foster a mindset that is unparalleled.

Athletics allow individuals to grow as players, both personally and professionally. When an athlete is able to take work-ethic, competitive mindset, and relentless attitude, while applying it to aspects of life outside their sports field, they succeed at true greatness. In order to achieve any goal, sacrifice is necessary. Days, months and years of hard-work are needed in order to become successful. It’s not the short-term goal to look forward to, it’s the long-term. It’s the 20 years spent working toward a goal that yield the most positive results. If a company tries to base their brand image in a way to achieve success, why wouldn’t they start by adding someone to their team that is full of “GRIT”?

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