Everyone Has Something to Offer

As I watched the rugby world cup a couple of weeks ago, I was inspired to write a couple of posts about life and career lessons I learned on the rugby pitch. Here is another one.

If you look at a rugby side, you’ll notice that there are lots of different body types. When I played for the Harvard Business School Rugby Club, we had one guy who was 6’7” and weighed about 220 pounds – long and lean. On the other end of the spectrum, our scrumhalf was about 5’6” and weighed about 150 pounds. I was 6’2” and weighed about 240, on the heavy side but useful for my job as a tight head prop. The other guys were all over the place.

While we joked with one another about size, we appreciated the unique contributions each of us made. That’s one of the great things about rugby. It takes all sizes of people with a diverse set of skills to create a strong, competitive side.

I learned an important career success from this…

In business and sports it’s important to value every member of your team for the unique contributions he or she brings to the team.

In business, it’s not about size or body type. It’s about different skills and ways of thinking. Successful people value their colleagues for who they are and what they can bring to the team.

Tweet 124 in my career advice book Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less says it well. “Everyone has something to offer. Never dismiss anyone out of hand.”

When you meet somebody who thinks differently than you, listen. When you deal with people from other cultures, pay attention to them and learn what you can. When you meet people to whom you take an instant dislike, figure out why and cut them some slack. Your life will be richer for it, and you’ll be more successful

In my experience, I’ve found that successful people have a deep respect for the dignity of each individual. It doesn’t matter if the person in front of you is the President of the United States, your boss, a co-worker, a taxi driver, a security guard or the housekeeper at your hotel.

I remember running into Jim Herrick at the airport in Honolulu a month or two after he coached UCLA to an NCAA basketball championship. I said hello and congratulated him on his accomplishment. We then had a 10 minute conversation. He treated me as if I were the most important person in the world – not just some college basketball fan. PJ Carlesimo was the same when I ran into him in a hotel the morning after his Seaton Hall team had beaten a Big East opponent. These guys knew the value of relationships. One great player can make a big difference to a college basketball program. College coaches know that if they make a positive impact on people they meet, those folks may send a recruit their way.

Cathy, my wife, is the best example of someone who values every person she meets. She is friends with everyone – the pharmacy techs where we get our prescriptions, the couple who own the dry cleaners where we do business, the supermarket checkout people and baggers, the servers at the restaurants we frequent, and on and on and on.

Cathy is genuinely interested in these people. She knows their names, their spouses’ names and their kids’ names. She inquires about their lives. She knows about their vacations, what grades their kids are in school and lots of other things about them – all because she values them as individuals and takes the time to get to know them. She is one of the least judgmental people I know.

When Cathy meets someone who is different from her, she does her best to understand what make him or her tick and why he or she thinks the way she does.

If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, take a lesson from Cathy. Pay attention to the people around you. You will learn a lot and your life will be richer for it. More important, you’ll be better able to work collaboratively with them. Don’t judge people by what they do, how they look or how they think. Get to know then as unique individuals who can help you create a strong high performing team. You’ll be surprised at what you and they together will accomplish.

Teamwork is as important in business as it is on the athletic field. On a solid rugby side everyone does his or her job and assumes that everybody else is doing theirs. As a tight head prop my job was to anchor the scrum, helping us to win the ball. I trusted that if we won our share of ball our backs would be able to score points. The nice thing about rugby is that it is a fluid game, so I got a few chances to score during my playing days.

When you appreciate people for who they are and what they bring to the table you are well on your way to creating a high performing team. And it takes a team to win – on the playing field and in business.

The common sense career success point here is simple. Successful people are good teammates. They follow the career advice in Tweet 124 in Success Tweets. “Everyone has something to offer. Never dismiss anyone out of hand.” Following this career advice will help you create the life and career success you want and deserve. More important, it will lead to a richer and fuller life. When you engage people, when you expect to find them to be interesting, you will open yourself up to a world of ideas that will not only help your career success, but will also help you succeed in your life and career.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to https://budbilanich.com/join to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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