Sports and a career in public relations may have more in common than you might initially think. Being an athlete provides many valuable lessons in life: focus, discipline, risk, and reward. I’ve found that many of these sports lessons can also be applied to a public relations career
Have you ever heard the saying “practice beats talent if talent doesn’t practice”? This phrase rings true for both sports and your career. Without applying the lessons you learn from your classes, perfect attendance and an “A” in every class alone can still leave you behind in comparison to those applying their skills in jobs, internships, club positions, and side projects. You miss out on valuable expertise when you remain solely in the classroom, so you must take the time to practice your skills in various settings.
A good support system is imperative in both work and play, especially when striving to reach a goal. Whether it’s winning the district championship or pitching a killer campaign, teamwork in the form of good communication and trust is the key to success. Everyone has their own strengths to offer, and multiple opinions on a project is rarely a bad idea.
A common interest makes it easy to form natural connections with teammates and coworkers, which can help you in both the present and future. We all know how important relationships are in public relations, so creating these contacts is a necessary part of the job.
Risk is an inevitable part of life, sports, and careers, which means there will be times where things don’t work out. Shooting for a goal in soccer requires a degree of calculated risk, and so does planning a PR campaign. When you take a chance, your creative limits can be expanded and success can be reached.
Rules are a large part of sports; similarly, rules are relevant in your career. You’ve probably learned about ethics in class, which are imperative when representing an organization and interacting with the public. To maintain a good image and remain a trusted and respected source, ethical behavior is necessary.
Sports and a career can be hard on both the body and the brain. Perseverance is necessary to maintain your physical and mental health to keep a healthy balance in your life. This is one of the most important life lessons to learn early on to reach your full potential.
There are ups and downs in everything, but you should generally enjoy your position. Even if it’s not your dream job, you can find joy in your daily tasks or the expectations of the industry you’re working in.
Past sports experiences may hold more transferable skills than you realize. These valuable lessons in resilience, ethics, and teamwork can be implemented into your current roles. Next time you encounter a challenge at work, consider thinking back to your sports days for encouragement.
Melina O’Neal is a third-year Media & Culture student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a minor in Digital Marketing. She currently interns in public relations and external communications. With PRSSA, she serves as a District Ambassador, National Publications Committee member, and treasurer for her collegiate Chapter. You can connect with Melina via LinkedIn.