I recently started a profile on LinkedIn. I hadn't done it earlier because I guess I didn't quite get it. You make all of these "connections," hoping for--what? It's not like Facebook where these people are your friends and you post pictures of your adorable kid's latest exploits or your vacation to the Grand Canyon. It's really more of an online resume crossed with an opportunity to proudly display work accomplishments and subtly put feelers out for future employment opportunities. It's our "other" persona, beyond family life. It's that identity that most of us use to define ourselves. Go to any Happy Hour and you will hear over and over, "So what do you do?" Who we are and what we do are often one and the same in our minds.
I was hesitant for a long time to put myself out there on LinkedIn. Probably because before Personal Best Sports, I couldn't really define who I was--at least not through a particular profession. But now, I'm in. And it's actually been fun and exciting. Who accepted my invitation today? My network grows, people all over the world view my profile and find me interesting or worthy of potential assistance enough to "Accept."
It got me thinking about the power of connection. And it is a powerful thing. Humans are social creatures. We thrive with company. We like to interact and share. We are boosted when we receive praise, as well as when we give it.
Sports enables us to have connections. We are fans who celebrate together the thrill of victory, or join in suffering the agony of defeat. We are teammates who share the struggles of vigorous practice drills and swell with pride holding the trophies. It's all better when we do it together.
For any endeavor to be successful, a key component is connection. Take starting a fitness or diet program, for example. Numerous studies have shown the people who enjoy the most success have someone to work out with, or to be accountable to. Knowing someone is counting on us makes us more determined to continue. "Going public" by sharing our goals with someone almost guarantees adherence to the plan.
Connections can also breed healthy competition. LinkedIn is a constant reminder of what great accomplishments my network has achieved. It makes me determined to keep up my end of the bargain. I will not let my network down. I will let them know I am contributing to our collective strength as well. Strength in numbers, right? Silly? Maybe, but think about it. Have you ever felt any motivation to produce for others? Colleagues, bosses, teammates, coaches? Where did that come from? Your singular desire to do your best? Or maybe in some small way you wanted to prove something to others?
So what is my take-home message? First, consider your personal "profile." Who are you now? What are your skills, abilities, accomplishments? Go beyond work. Get personal. Raised three healthy kids? Organized a family reunion? Built a tree house? Lost 50 pounds? Who helped you get there? Can you pay it forward somehow? Where do you want to be? What do you want to be able to add to your profile in the future?
Second, get linked in. Not capital "L" linked, necessarily. Just make connections that can help you achieve the goals you desire. Connections can be professionals who would be a source of information or assistance for you. Family or friends with whom you share your goals and who keep you accountable. Or friends, colleagues, teammates, who are willing to actually get in the trenches with you.
Anything you put your mind to is possible. Remember that. And more minds can make the journey to possible that much easier. Invite connection. Accept invitations to connect. You'll be amazed by what you can accomplish.
"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."
Personal Best Sports
The sports world is filled with stories of perseverance, failure and success, personal struggles and public triumph. Each story provides insight into the mental side of sport and activity.