By Madison Conradis
(This article ran on floridatoday.com 10/30/2017)
When my parents first signed me up for Little League baseball, I do not think they fully grasped how those experiences would help me succeed later in life. Growing up I played as many sports as I could possibly sign up for. My athletic priorities shifted from trying everything under the sun to fast pitch softball. This led to me eventually receiving a full ride scholarship to Eastern Florida State and University of West Florida.
Study after study has found that people who play team sports show career success later in life. EY Women Athletics Business Network research shows that among senior businesswomen in the C-suite today, 94% played sports and over half played at a university level — suggesting that successful female athletes become successful in business.
There are a number of lessons competitive sports have taught me that have served me well in the workplace:
1. Be Open to and Welcome Constructive Feedback. As an athlete you are constantly being evaluated and given constructive feedback in order to improve your game. For most people, constructive feedback can be tough to hear, but it always helps you improve — whether you are in the locker room or the Boardroom. Feedback is valuable to me as I want to know what I am doing right and where I can improve.
2. Time Management Student athletes have a lot of responsibilities. An average day as a collegiate athlete consists of starting your day before the sun rises in the weight room, classes, conditioning, studying, and practice. Many times the schedule of a student athlete is as time-consuming if not more so than a full-time job. I had to learn how to juggle practicing three times a day while still keeping up with my schoolwork. This is where I learned how to prioritize my time. I credit sports with helping me become an organized businesswoman that juggles many meetings and day-to-day job requirements effectively.
3. Work Ethic and Doing What You Say You Will Do. After discussing time management, it should be apparent the work ethic required to thrive as a student-athlete. You can always learn different skills and job requirements but you can’t change a person’s work ethic. I feel that athletes have that dedication engraved in our minds and it helps when we enter the work force.
4. Working With a Team. Learning to become a team player is a crucial skill that student-athletes master at a young age. You must learn to work together in a collaborative manner with people that you may not have connected with in any other circumstance. Some of your teammates may be your best friends, some you may not like, and others you may just be indifferent with. You learn how to deal with conflicts and different personality types. From sports, I learned how to put my differences aside in order to reach a common goal of winning. This skill applies on the field or in the office.
5. Confidence. Confidence is an important trait to have, especially as a woman. Playing sports taught me to speak up. Whether it was communicating with a coach or confronting a teammate, I learned to voice my opinion in a tough situation. I credit sports in teaching me many lessons that help me succeed in business. I would encourage all parents to think about inspiring their sons and daughters to stick with sports — your decision could help them succeed later in life.
Madison Conradis is the Marketing Director of Your Logo by Geiger in Melbourne and is the Immediate Past President of the Space Coast American Advertising Federation.
Columnist series are sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.