Tag Archives: Lessons from sports

The best player plays

A lesson from football that applies to everything from the Angry Coach.

If there is a better player on your team at your position, he’s the one who’s going to play, not you. I had to explain this to one of my ex-players last night. This kid is a senior and three year starter at a 1-AA school whose starting spot has been taken away from him by a freshman. Jim Wendler wrote about this years ago, and I’m going to back up what he says. If you’re not playing, especially on the college level, it’s not about “politics” or the coach “shitting on your life,” it’s because the guy playing is better than you.

The coach, or your boss, or the hiring manager, gets paid to win. They are responsible for putting the best team on the field, and while they might make mistakes, it’s not about politics or who they like. It’s about who can win. If you lose a job opportunity to someone else, it’s because they were better than you. Man up, find your weaknesses (call the hiring manager and find out why the other person was better, find out what you can do to improve), and fix them. Deal with it, move on.

This happened to me not too long ago. I posted for a position (a lateral move) that would have given me the experience to move to a position I thought I wanted. I didn’t get it and lost out to someone I was convinced wasn’t better than I am. We work fairly closely on things, and you know what? He’s better than I would have been, by miles; and I add more value having stayed where I am (I’m one of the best at what I do). Turns out, I’m not so sure I want the job I thought I did, and I’m not so sure I’d be all that good at it. They made the right call.

Handle the situation with class, and do what you need to do to help the team win.


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