The game of football to many may look like a bunch of overgrown men running around in pads just trying to score a touch downtown but to me this game is life. Since I could remember as a kid I’ve always wanted to play football. I used to sit in my living room and watch the Redskins and the University of Maryland play any chance I got. My dad and uncles used to take me to Redskins park during training camp so I could see them practice. I remember watching Darrell Green run around thinking he was insanely fast. I grew up for a while idolizing LaVar Arrington for his play on the football field. I thought he was awesome and used to wear his jersey around everywhere.
While the game has not always been good to me it has taught me more than anyone will ever know. Football is the ultimate team sport but it teaches you more about individuals than you would think. Trust in football is the #1 if you can’t trust the man next to you to do what he is supposed to do on every play how are you to trust him in life and vice versa. Much of my success in business I could have never achieved without the lessons I have learned from the game because football brings together individuals from different walks of life together to accomplish one goal and business is the same way.
Football has also blessed me with putting several male figures in my life that have pushed man to become a better man. While my father was a great role model growing up, my coaches gave him great support. Enforcing what he was saying at home. My coaches growing up like Coach Ward, Kelly, Patterson and Gillespie to name a few all made sure I was always pushed.
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In life having good mentors can provide you with an incredible amount of guidance and perspective that you would have never had before. I have been fortunate enough in my life to have several individuals that have helped to develop me into the man I am today. From my dad, Gregg Colvin, Jon Klein, or Monroe Gorden they have all played a direct part in the man I have become. I have also been blessed to have a great stable of coaches to this day who during my childhood and teen years made sure that I never went down the wrong path. My mentors have opened so many doors for me and push me everyday to raise the bar for my success. While they are all leaders in their industry they continue to help me network and make my own path.
In my opinion Mentors should be someone you look up to and value their input. But this should also be someone who you can take honest and constructive criticism from and respect their thoughts. Unfortunately in the millennial generation many of us cannot take hard criticism and grow from it. What I always suggest is to never have a mentor who will hold your hand. A mentor should let you fail from time to time and help build you up to be stronger.
Having a mentor in business is a valuable asset. I say this because we all need someone to help us make it. As much as we all like to take credit and say we do it all by ourselves this could be furthest from the truth if you are honest with yourself. Mentors open doors and can help eliminate the noise. Having someone who you can call that has been in your shoes is powerful.
“I think that my biggest attribute to any success that I have had is hard work. There really is no substitute for working hard.” (Maria Bartiromo) My entire childhood my parents always told me that I could do anything I always wanted to do with hard work. While this was true for my parents generation, for my generation -the millennial generation– this couldn’t be further from the truth. I say this bold statement because when you look at my generation, you’ll see that we fail to understand what hard work is as a whole. While some of you may think this is an extreme overgeneralization, just think of how many people are obsessed with social media, and capturing their life I want you to think of how much nowadays people are consumed with the idea of being an instagram model or how easy the millennial generation quits when things get hard. But as a whole I believe that my generation just looks at things different. Our parents believe that if we work hard and are determined we will make. Millennials go about this very differently because we believe it’s more so about who you know not just what you know and how hard you work. I believe that millennials choose to work smarter not harder.
Millennials work smarter partly because of our deep understanding of how to use technology which has allowed many of us to automate things. Like with basic principles of math millennials believe that’s what calculators were made for. Which in part is true. While our parents would rather be much more meticulous about things and seeing the process the millennial generation would rather find the quickest and most efficient way of getting a task done but this also leaves room for errors.
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I want you to ask yourself this question “Do you network enough?” The answer is no! No one can network enough. I say this because there is always someone out there that knows more and can teach you. When I travel I often find myself talking to complete strangers and I do this because of the golden rule “Everyone can teach you something.” Just because of someone’s perceived status in the world doesn’t mean that they can not teach you something. You will be surprised at the conversations you get yourself in. Through conversations you have can often spark into new opportunities you would not have had before.
The key to networking often is being able to step out of your comfort zone and approach people you wouldn’t normally approach. But you must do this in a respectful manner or it can backfire on you. Strike up a conversation but also be aware that you must make a good impression and put your best foot forward. Drive to networking events and put in the effort. This effort will open doors for you that you never thought was possible. Every time you meet someone you should get an email address, phone number or address. Without one of those you have no way to follow up. Networking is investing in your future every time you meet someone is like putting a penny in the piggy bank.
In networking the follow up is a crucial stage. This is how you show someone you really value their conversation and this can take you far. Just a simple thank you card can go very far. Small gestures like a follow up email or a written letter will make a lasting impression and will make sure that person will remember you.
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