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Managing Monday: Get Started

October 15, 2012

One of the questions I get the most since starting RulingSports.com is, “How did you get started?”

I always struggle with this question.  I struggle with it, because it seems that more often than not, my answer is not satisfactory for those asking me the question.

I got started on my sports business career by doing the most obvious thing:  just starting.

I was most recently asked how I got started by a new friend on Saturday night while celebrating another friend’s birthday.  He asked me how I got started on this journey and I kept saying, “I just started.”  Quickly into our conversation, I realized that this answer wasn’t satisfying him.  So, I would throw in other things.  For instance, I said, “Well, I knew I wanted to write, so I launched a blog.”  Or, “I knew that most of my friends aren’t sports fans, so I would have to find a readership elsewhere, and ultimately settled on social media use to attract readers.”  Ultimately though, the crux of my answer to him was that I just started.

There was no grand scheme nor a formal plan when I launched RulingSports.com, and subsequently the journey I’m on which now includes BusinessofCollegeSports.com, Forbes.com, radio show appearances, TV segments and an agent.  All there was on July 1, 2011, was a passion and desire within me to start something that would allow me to share my sports law and business knowledge with the world.  And with that passion and desire, I got started.

The advice to just start doing something to chase your dream or use your passion is perhaps the best career advice I can give you.  I believe it is the best career advice, because it is the foundation for every other thing you will do on your career journey.  You cannot get anywhere if you do not begin the journey.

The first weeks of RulingSports.com’s existence were some of the most exciting times of my life.  I knew that I wanted to write about sports law, but I had no boundaries.  Whether or not I wrote a story was solely the result of whether or not I was interested in the topic.  There were no editors telling me that something was uninteresting and that nobody would read it.  I truly believe that because my passion alone was driving my product early on, I was able to reach others the most effectively.  When you are passionate about something, you are the most inclined to do your best work.  Your interest in the topic bleeds through, because your passion drives you to learn the most about it, tell about it the best, and put the most effort into your work.

Given that I am a planner (see here), during RulingSports.com’s infancy, there were many days when I wanted to sit down and write out a plan to determine exactly where I wanted the website’s progress to go.  Luckily for me, at the time I was living with my roommate Alex, who tried to break me of my incessant planning habit.  Whenever I would say things like, “I just need to write out a specific plan for where I want the site to go,” she would tell me to hold that thought.  Instead, she would encourage me to keep doing what I was doing–that being pursuing my passion by putting my all into researching and writing stories–and see where it went.  This was critical, as it allowed me to begin to share my passion with others without putting too much external pressure on myself early on.

It has been a mere 15 months since I started RulingSports.com.  I always laugh about how much my life has changed in that short period of time.  The opportunities that have come my way are ones that I never could have planned, nor imagined.  They are chances that have only come my way because I started chasing my dream.

The point here, is that there is not a cookie cutter method to achieving a certain career goal.  Each of us has our own journey and every professional has their own path that led them to their current position.  However, if you were to ask every person in a position you admire how they got to where they are, one step is the same:  they got started.

How can you start chasing your dreams and pursuing your passion?  The key word is start; your actions don’t need to be monumental or exhaustive of everything you need to do to accomplish your dream.  Just get started, and the rest will follow.

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