Being Ready When Opportunity Knocks: Lessons We Learn From Sports

We are now two months into the year and one valuable lesson we’ve learned from two major sporting events is that you MUST be prepared to answer when opportunity knocks.  Over the last five weeks, we’ve seen both Tua Tagovailoa, the backup QB for Alabama and Nick Foles rise to the starting role from backup and lead their teams to victory.  While both scenarios were different, we can all takeaway the fact that both were successful when called on because they were prepared to man the ship.

In business and in life this is something we always preach but rarely expect out of both our people and ourselves. As managers we can all do better preparing our team and as people aspiring for more, we must be ready to capitalize when opportunities of advancement arise.

Translating this over to business, it’s probably most likely in a similar scenario.

The big pitch is today and the product expert leading it is stuck out of town… Next up is you.  Are you ready?

We need that piece of content by tomorrow morning to push out and our marketer is out sick, want to take a stab at crafting something?

You have an enterprise level client who needs a demo but the senior AE is pulled into a more pressing matter, do you risk rescheduling or try to run/close it yourself?

The example list goes on, but you get the point.

Now, to channel our inner champion and make sure we are ready, what can we do?

Be prepared. I can’t stress this enough.  As managers it’s our job to make sure they know their stuff.  As the person looking to rise to the occasion, it’s up to you to be ready at a moment’s notice.

Rule #76, “No excuses play like a champion.”  Whether you’re crashing a wedding or filling in for the CEO on a companywide meeting, this is imperative.  Have you ever been super stoked for a meeting or client pitch after somebody starts with, “I’m sorry Jane couldn’t be here today.  However, I’ll be filling in for her and I hope I don’t disappoint.”  Sorry, you lost me at sorry….not sorry.

Act as if.  Yes, it’s a Boiler Roomism, but it’s very true.  When the curtains are drawn, people don’t care you’re filling in, they expect a top notch performance by you, the main attraction.  It’s up to you to give them an Oscar worthy performance.

Last but not least, exceed expectations that were held for the starter.  It’s not easy, after all this will be your first chance.  However, if you can do this, I promise you’ll have the attention of everybody at your firm and will be taking your first step towards rapid advancement.

Ben Jaksich

Ben is the Director of the Sales Recruitment Practice based out of our NYC location. Are you seeking a new opportunity in sales? Reach out to Ben! 

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