Thursday, August 2, 2012

CAREER: What I’ve Learned That May Help You


No matter the business you’re in, no matter the goals you have - always remember that you are the chief marketing officer of yourself.  You control image and reputation and you have exclusive rights to that.

Every day I go to work at the LPGA trying to create new opportunities for the players on our tour.  As a group we aim to showcase the tour itself in a way the raises its profile and build an identity that's different from other sports organizations.  Thus, our campaign "See Why It's Different Out Here."

Think about what CAN be
And that same thought process is something that I think we should all work toward.  Every day, we should go to work with a purpose… and a plan.  Otherwise, what’s really the point?

I read recently that great leaders are motivated by the answers to two questions:

*What keeps them awake at night?
*What makes them get up in the morning?

As I have told groups, “what we do means a lot, but how we do what we do means a whole lot more.”

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about the process of one’s career:
  
     1.   Having a goal isn’t just something… it’s the only thing

I knew from the time I was 7 years old that I wanted to be on television commentating sports.  I did high school games on radio, I went to the University of Missouri solely because of it’s highly respected journalism program, I did sports television internships to prepare for jobs after college, and I worked my way through local markets to the Golf Channel where I was a host for 17 years.

      2.   Goals begin to change… it’s a given

Goals Change As You Change
As my career at the Golf Channel progressed I began to take interest in the business side of sports and found passion and energy in the idea of sharing ideas to create a better product.  Ultimately, it’s led me to my current job overseeing communications at LPGA.

     3.    Priorities change too

When you’re young and fresh out of school, you’ll do anything and for however long.  Your focused on climbing the ladder at all cost.  As your career winds, the ideas of family and time become more important.  Don’t get me wrong, career goals and passion remain… but not without internal competition.  It’s ok to yield as it makes you better when you are working.
  
           4. Connect and Network…. Yesterday

I’ve had the good fortune to speak to students at various universities.  The one that stands out is Mississippi State and the PGA Golf Management students.  Standing in front of nearly 100 students in an auditorium, I made it clear that the friend sitting next to them is also quite possibly their biggest competitor for a job.  Jobs are precious and so are relationships – so build them before you need them.  Don’t collect business cards, gain value from people and tell them how you can help their cause as it will come back to you. 

       5. Branch Out and Brand Yourself

You Control Your Career Direction
What are you known for?  Everyone is known for something… but is there only one thing?  I was proud to be an ambassador and host for the Golf Channel.  Hearing “hey, it’s the Golf Channel guy” was flattering.  But I want to grow and I want to learn new things and add value to other causes.  That motivates me.  Starting a media consulting brand “HTK Media” in 2010, hosting college football and basketball for XOS Digital/SEC Digital Network, speaking to students, corporations and business groups is something that has helped me to grow.  Taking steps to gain new and different experiences helps control your career path.

My guess is that you’ve experienced some of the things that I have.  My advice is this: don’t shy away from internal questions - you might benefit from thinking outside your own box.

* Your comments and career stories are always welcome.

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