This post is part of the #YPSportsChat Blog Series! This series will give young professionals an inside look at the intricacies of the sports business world and advice on how to navigate it.
By: Rickie Alvarez, @RickieAlvarez_
Grinding. Let’s talk about grinding for a minute. No, I’m not talking about the style of dance that had to be broken up by your teachers. I’m talking about the philosophy that all successful individuals live their lives by. We’ve all seen the motivational videos. We know what it means to athletes and entertainers, but what does it mean to a young professional? Grinding will mean something different to everyone. To me it means one thing and one thing only: Making. Things. Happen.
The sports industry is full of bright, motivated individuals, and in order to progress and grow within the industry, you have to stand out. In order to separate yourself from the crowd, you have to be willing to go above and beyond the job description. When you’re grinding, you’re doing everything you can to make yourself and your organizations better. This is how you become a distinct individual.
Before I explain what grinding is, let me tell you what it is not. Grinding does not mean overextending yourself by taking on anything and everything. This technique, or tactic, or whatever you want to call it, will inevitably lead you to feel overwhelmed and burned out. People often construe grinding as a negative term used to describe the completion of a task through a herculean effort. In my opinion, a young professional needs to be grinding. Like an athlete trying to make it to the next level, a young professional needs to be putting in the hours to make their goals become reality.
When you’re grinding, you’re on top of your game and making things happen. You’re making yourself indispensable and irreplaceable to your organization. As young professionals, we sometimes forget the impact we have in the workplace. We bring a unique perspective and a type of work ethic that animates the office. When you’re first starting out in the sports industry, you need to embrace the grind as much as possible. Embracing the grind allows you to become a distinct individual within your organization.
I moved thousands of miles for an internship that paid very little, just to get into the industry. I had every opportunity to complain and have a terrible attitude about the situation. Instead, I took every opportunity that came my way to learn and grow as both a professional and as an individual. Eager to learn and progress my career, I threw myself into any and every situation I could in order to make my athletic department better.
I fully embraced the grind when entering the sports industry. If I had not don’t this, I would not have become the sports administrator or person I am today. Everything I worked on, and everything I was exposed to as an intern, shaped my perception of leadership and work ethic. I am a grinder. I’m going to work as hard as I can to make sure that everything I do is successful. No matter the title, institution, or conference, I will stay on my grind. In the words of Eric Thomas, "I want to succeed as bad as I want to breathe." Keep grinding.