More Life and Career Success Advice From the Rugby Pitch

I did a blog post on Friday about the Rugby World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand. On Saturday, New Zealand won their third Rugby World Cup and second in a row.

As I mentioned in my post on Friday, I’ve learned a lot of life and career success lessons on the rugby pitch. Here’s another one…

If you stand on the touch line at a rugby match, “with you” are two of the words you’ll hear the players saying to one another most often. They are letting the person with the ball know that they are in a supporting, not off side, position.

In rugby, the off side law says that all of the players on the team with the ball must be behind the person who is carrying the ball. This means, that unlike American football, there is no blocking. In fact, if an offensive player comes between a defender and the person with the ball, he or she is assessed a penalty for obstruction.

You might be asking “if you can’t block, or even shield the ball carrier, how do you support him or her?” The answer is simple – you support the ball carrier by being “with” him or her. The ideal supporting position is approximately four or five yards to the right or left of, and a step or step and a half behind the ball carrier.

This creates two very good options for the ball carrier. As a defender is approaching and about to tackle the ball carrier, he or she can pass to the person in support. Or, the ball carrier can “dummy” the defender – fake a pass to the person in support and continue running up the pitch. If you are familiar with American football, the option play is based on a similar concept.

Rugby is a fluid game with possession changing frequently. Therefore, supporting the ball carrier is absolutely necessary for success. That’s why you will see rugby players running very hard to get into the ideal supporting position and calling out “with you” once they are there. In this way, they are letting the ball carrier know that they are in position and that he or she has the option of passing to them, or dummying the opposition and continue to run with the ball.

In my career, I’ve learned the value of supporting my colleagues and coworkers. I find the right supporting position, and then I let them know I am there if needed. On the rugby pitch, when the ball carrier hears “with you”, he or she knows that his or her teammate is in the appropriate supporting position and that he or she can pass the ball to him or her. On good rugby teams, the level of trust is high, because the players know they can count on one another to “be there” when they say they are. Everybody focuses on doing his or her job, because they have the faith that all of their teammates are doing theirs.

The same is true when it comes to career success. The best way to support a colleague or coworker is to do your job. In this way, your colleagues have the confidence that comes from knowing that you will be in position to accept the handoff when the time comes.

Practice “being there” — in the right supporting position – for your colleagues and coworkers. If you do, you’ll earn their trust, and a trust is the basis of all successful work and life relationships.

The career success point here is simple common sense. If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, you have to become known as a trust coworker and colleague. Just like in rugby, you need to support those around you, so you can all be successful. You need to trust that they’ll do their job, just as they need to trust you’ll do yours.

Remember the career advice in Tweet 132 in my career success book, Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less. “Trust is the glue that holds relationships together. The more you demonstrate trust in others the more they will trust you.” This is true in athletics and at work. You can download a free copy of Success Tweets at You have my very best wishes as you go about creating the life and career success you deserve.

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 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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