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Athletes’ discipline and dedication make them ideal employees

In our post-pandemic world, showcasing a strong work ethic is a sure-fire way for job seekers to turn recruiters’ heads.

This is largely due to changes in the way we work: through evolving technology and the decentralisation of the workplace, we now have 44% of UK staffers operating remotely, ONS data finds.

In the US, 12.7% of full-time employees are based at home and 28.2% follow a hybrid model – figures that are only set to grow, Forbes suggests. With greater autonomy, self-discipline has become vital to productivity.

Athletes develop incredible levels of self-discipline through their first careers in sport. It creates a foundation for many other sought-after skills and aptitudes, and this makes former athletes very attractive to hiring companies. I explore some of these skills below:

Goal-oriented mindset

Athletes set goals and push tirelessly to achieve them. Whether it's winning championships, breaking personal records, or overcoming setbacks, sportsmen and sportswomen are driven by this mindset.

Research connects the value of goal-setting to “greater self-confidence and motivation” – virtues that transfer smoothly into the corporate setting.

Exceptional commitment

Athletes understand the importance of sacrifice when hitting benchmarks. Their ingrained work ethic becomes their identity, enabling them to go above and beyond, whatever the task at hand.

In the office, this commitment not only delivers outstanding results, it also raises the bar to inspire the same dedication in colleagues.

Team player mentality

Building progress in elite sport depends on teamwork. This means cooperating, communicating, and supporting one another to accomplish targets.

Athletes are at home in collaborative circles where they can join forces with diverse groups. Their ability to integrate into teams and leverage the strengths of others makes former athletes assets to any organisation.

It should come as no surprise that 94% of women executives have a background in sport, while 80% of women Fortune 500 executives have played competitive sports (EY data).

Resilience in the face of adversity

Defined as “valuable in the process of performance enhancement”, resilience “enables individuals to function on a high level despite adversity and quickly adapt to changes in the environment.”

Recent studies show that athletes have “significantly higher levels of resilience” than average employees.

Athletes are tailor-made to handle high-pressure situations. They can navigate uncertainty with confidence and stay focused on finding solutions.

Strong time management

American former Olympic gymnast, Shannon Miller, “balanced family time, chores, schoolwork, Olympic training, appearances and other obligations to a very specific schedule.”

Being forced to prioritise gives athletes a methodical approach and an instinct to use time efficiently – talents to enrich any professional community.

“To this day, I keep a schedule that is almost minute by minute…Focus on those things that bring you further to your goal each and every day. Every moment counts!” Miller adds.

The power to go further

The discipline and dedication hard-wired into athletes make them ideal employees in today's competitive business landscape.

At Athlete Career Transition, we promote this dynamic, helping athletes to unlock their true potential in their careers after pro sport.

We identify and develop transferable skillsets – resilience, collaboration, time management, and many others – before placing candidates into roles that match their strengths and needs.


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