The “America’s Cup” as a Career Template
In just over two years, the US will host the 34th America's Cup on San Francisco Bay. This world-class event brings the fierce competition for the oldest trophy in international sport back to the United States for the first time in 18 years. The rivalry between the top-notch crews has already begun with extensive preparations among the contenders in full swing. Every aspect of each crew’s preparedness will be thoroughly examined, improved, refined and finely-honed into an unmatched contender for the Cup.
Your career deserves the same preparedness to sail the best race. This requires an excellent Assessment of your “team” and a winning Action Plan to achieve your goal of career success.
The America’s Cup teams are already hard at work assessing their team vision, sharpening their training and professional education programs, refining their financial plans to support their bid, applying the best of technology and design to yacht and rigging design, and racing tactics, building their team’s physical fitness levels and belief in themselves, and creating their marketing and communications programs to tell their exciting story to build support among their country’s fans. The teams are also ensuring that they are including their families in these plans as it is a long twenty-eight months before the starting gun fires and the America’s Cup is off and cruising in the lee of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Take a cue from these teams and take the same action with your “caree team”.
First, assess yourself and your vision. Do you know yourself and your talents in detail? Do you have a clear idea of who you are, what you are best at, and where you are going? The answers to these and other critical questions must be clear in your mind before you try to take action with your career. Sailors chart courses to win races by knowing a great deal about the tides, winds, competition and other key factors. You have to do the same.
Consider your educational and professional preparation for the future. Do you need to get an MBA or a professional qualification in your field to move ahead? Does your “career team” need key courses that you could obtain at a nearby college or university to improve your professional knowledge and candidacy?
Are you in good financial condition? If you were to lose your current job or decide to change careers, how long could you support yourself on savings and investments?
Are you well-equipped with the right technology support? Are you as hip as your peers in social media, personal computer skills and other pre-requisites for life in the digital age?
Are you healthy and fit, or do you need to take immediate action to lose fifteen pounds or get a physical to ensure your health can support your career activities?
How is your spiritual life? Do you have faith in yourself? Do you have a good group of friends and peers to provide the energy and support you will need to forge ahead?
Do you have a solid and persuasive personal marketing program? Have you created communications including a powerful bio and 60-second elevator speech that separates you from the pack and causes people to want to meet and help you? Does your resume summary paragraph explain who you are and what professional situations you are seeking in concise and memorable terms? When asked to “tell me about yourself”, can you do so in a confident, precise and impressive fashion that causes the interviewer to realize how clear you are regarding your talents, interests and fit with their company?
Last, but not least, like the America’s Cup team-members, are you including and involving your family in your preparations as well as your action steps? Keeping them in the loop will provide you with more energy and give them a sense of true team-work, a nice thing!
So, look hard at yourself, your “career team” elements and assess them and address them with improvements, refinements, additions and deletions.
Then, plot those next career steps, sail hard to each mark, round them with style and finesse, and drive to the finish line with a new job or industry role as the trophy for all your hard work and deliberate preparations.