Don’t Be Like Mike

Don’t Be Like Mike

Yesterday, I touched on two foundational tasks in Career Activism: making sure you select an occupational field where you can use your talent to excel at your work and then nurturing that talent to ensure you do.  Let’s use the experience of a famous athlete to explore those two actions in a bit more detail.

Most of us have heard of Michael Jordan.  He’s probably among the top two or three best professional basket players in history.  His talent was obviously hand-eye coordination coupled with speed, strength and agility.  Unfortunately, such clumsy descriptions of talent are the norm as there has been no codification of the vast array of human talent the way there has been, for example, with workplace skills.

Now, Michael Jordan realized early on that he could build a career around the application of his talent in the game of basketball.  He was a star player in college and then in the NBA.  But, after the basketball phase of his career was over, he decided to dedicate the next phase of his career to the game of professional baseball … and learned the hard way that his talent wasn’t suitable for that occupation.  It may have been what he loved to do, but it wasn’t what he also did best, and a couple of years later, he moved on to another endeavor.

What’s the lesson?  Our talent can be expressed and experienced in some occupations, and not in others, and a Career Activist makes sure they’re in an occupation where they can excel at their work.

However, it’s not enough to be working in the right occupation.  You also have to train your talent in the skills and knowledge of that field in order to do your best work.  Michael Jordan also learned that lesson the hard way.  Even though he would go on to fame and fortune as a professional basketball player, it took him awhile to hone his talent to that level of performance.  In fact, he was actually cut from his high school basketball team because he hadn’t yet done so.

What’s the lesson here?  When working in an appropriate field, the key to success is to expand your ability to excel through continuous practice, and Career Activists make that commitment.  They dedicate themselves to a regimen of personal development so they can play their game like a champion.

Thanks for reading,
Peter