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Oldies again – I found this somewhere in the Interwebs…4 years ago…

August 4, 2010

Monday, July 17, 2006:

What You Can Learn from the World Cup and Apply to your Game and your Career

I enjoyed this:

The final score. You can control the ball as much as you want, but the final score wins the game. Getting ahead in the World Cup, and in your career, is about finishing – about quantifying the result. Your resume is your score-card. How many assists and goals do you have?

No one said it was fair. Sometimes teams get lucky. Sometimes cheaters or fakers don’t get caught. Sometimes the better team doesn’t win. Don’t dwell on setbacks, losses, or injustices. Keep your head high and train for your shot at greatness.

Pass the ball. You can’t do it all on your own; you’re a member of a team. Don’t wait to pass the ball to someone who can help or you’ll lose it altogether.

No one likes a drama queen. Spectators have an uncanny sense for sniffing out phonies, exaggerators, or fakers. If you’re tripped and you fall, avoid the extra somersaults and painful dive and just get back up on your feet again. Not only do you risk giving the power to your opponent, but one day, wolf-crier, when you’re really hurt, no one will believe you. No one will take you seriously if you fall to the ground every time your competition comes near you.

It ain’t over till it’s over. As long as the clock is ticking, it’s never too late for a comeback. Never write yourself off or underestimate the power of your competition.

Don’t rest on your laurels. Just because you’re one up on your competition doesn’t mean you should sit on the defensive. Keep on attacking. Never be complacent with the score. Always be hungry for more.

Be a good sport. Healthy competition is good, but you must be a gracious loser. No matter what the outcome, show sportsmanship and class. Congratulate the winning team. There will be plenty of other games for you to win. Having dignity alone will take you far.

Are you blind? There are good and bad referees. They can have a tremendous impact on the way the game is played. And yes, they can turn a game on its head. Don’t forget – they’re human beings. They make mistakes. That said, they have to make some tough calls under pressure, and a lot of the time, you may not see as clearly as they do. Trust that they’re doing their jobs.

Practice your penalty shots. What separates German penalty shot takers from the British? Sheer confidence and a mental fitness you can feel. Continually work on upgrading your skills, fitness, and finesse, but don’t let your psychological welfare fall by the wayside. What good are skills if your mind can’t take the pressure? You’ll psych yourself out every time. Interviews are always high pressure situations. In addition to studying Monster’s interview advice, psychologically prepare yourself for questions you won’t expect and won’t feel comfortable answering.

Admit when you’re wrong. If you knock someone down by accident, genuinely help him up. Be courteous and humble. If he doesn’t want to take your hand, he looks like the fool – not you.

Have a strategy. This is a game after all. What’s your play? Where’s your diagram? What’s your next move? Always have your next move mapped out in your head.

A common language. It’s quite amazing to think that the two teams on the field speak, for the most part, different languages, as do the referee and the officials. There could be as many as five or six different languages spoken at once, and many of the players don’t speak English. That said, they are all still able to still communicate with one another. There’s always a common denominator. Find that denominator in your interactions.

Don’t let your swan song be a head butt. Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest football players in the world and the most expensive player in soccer history. The World Cup final against Italy was to be his last game before he officially retired. The French player was known for being very quiet on and off the field. But he will be remembered differently; billions of people around the world watched as he charged at opponent Materazzi and forcefully headbutted him in the chest over a comment made by the defender. He was given a red card and sent off the field. The last memory of Zidane on a soccer pitch – a quiet man with a prestigious career – will forever be an angry headbutt. The lesson is this is clear: no matter what happens your final days at a job, always be the bigger person and leave with dignity and grace. Why negate all of your years of hard work and good reputation? Stay in control of how you’re perceived.

Remember, it’s just a game. Your career is not your family or friends or health. It’s extremely important – you should look forward to going to work – but it’s not everything. There are countless games in life. If this one doesn’t go the way you hoped, there will always be another game… even if you have to wait another four years.

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