Since early childhood, my life has revolved around sports. I grew up in a household where my mother gave my little sister and me the freedom to participate in different clubs and after school activities, which led to many different hobbies and my love for athletics.
It didn’t matter how busy we were, where we had to travel on the weekends, or how tired my mother must have been from being our personal chauffeur, so long as we followed her golden rule, which was “as long as you’re still having fun, you can play. Once the fun is gone, you can move on.” Her words did not reflect the right to simply quit when things got tough, but to always play for the little girl inside who fell in love with the game. I chose to follow her words and by the age of five I was in organized Taekwondo classes with bi-monthly competitions, a competitive gymnast by the age of ten, a three-sport athlete throughout middle school and high-school and a division one field hockey goalkeeper for all four years of college. After twenty years of non-stop athletics, it’s safe to say that I’m extremely competitive and driven.
Although I doubt that my current manager will demand my presence for suicide runs at the crack of dawn, mandate my food options, or pop into random classes to make sure that I have perfect attendance, there are still many transferable skills from my passion for athletics that have prepared me for the fast-paced PR life. The parallels between athletics and the corporate world are numerous, including: wearing a uniform, which extends beyond clothing to signify unity and professionalism, collaboration amongst your teammates and making positive contributions to your team/organization. For example, throughout athletics you’re taught to be a team player and contribute where needed. It’s not only important to pull your own weight but to be willing and able to help others when necessary.
Here at LEWIS, my role of account coordinator demands that I am a member of a cohesive team that works towards the common goal of helping our client shape and elevate their brand. There’s an old saying that goalkeepers have the best view of the field. Not only can they watch the entire game before their eyes, they are also instrumental in helping guide their teammates towards open lanes of passing, mapping out different strategies for attack and highlighting the options available for the team to be successful in striding forward towards their goal. Much like watching the field, as an account coordinator, it is my job to keep track of what is happening in the media landscape and highlight any trends or happenings that might be beneficial for our client.
My experience as an athlete has developed many skills needed for success in agency life. These skills translate into perfect tips if you are starting off on your own PR journey:
1. Time Management
Much like juggling practices, games and training, being a PR pro takes time management – including scheduling personal time for your self
2. Perform Under Pressure
Whether in a playoff game or a simple scrimmage, you must always know how to perform under pressure. The same rings true as an account coordinator – you can never predict when multiple clients will have news breaking in the same day, or even afternoon
3. Teamwork and Mentorship
And, perhaps the most important skill is understanding the importance of teamwork and mentorship. Working with my team at LEWIS, I’m encouraged to take shots from out wide while still being able to learn best practices from seasoned professionals and grow a stronger understanding of PR.
What PR skills have you developed from past extracurricular activities? Comment below.