What March Madness Teaches Us About Career Success

I’m often asked where I find the inspiration for this career advice blog.  It’s simple.  I pay attention to what’s happening in the world around me.

March Madness, the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments start this week.  Like a whole lot of Americans I watch with great interest.  I watch because I really like basketball.  Also, I watch because of how much the young men and women who play care about the game.

As the NCAA ads say, almost all of the athletes will be going pro, but not in sports.  Very few will ever play in the NBA or WNBA.  Almost all of the seniors in the tournaments will be playing their last organized basketball games ever.  This creates a real sense of urgency and passion in the games.  It’s obvious how much these young athlethes care.

Tweet 100 in my career success book Success Tweets says, “Care about what you do.  If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer.  If you care, a lot you’ll become an outstanding performer.”  If you take the time to watch the college basketball tournaments, you’ll see just how much these young men and women care about basketball.  It shows on the jubilant faces of the winners.  It shows even more on the sorrowful faces of the losers.

It’s the same when it comes to creating your life and career success

Take me for an example.  I really care about helping people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  I care a lot.  That’s why I wrote Success Tweets and give it away for free.    You can download your fre copy at http://www.SuccessTweets.com

I wrote a series of career advice blog posts explaining each of the 141 tweets in Success Tweets in detail because I care.  I care so much about helping you create your personal career success that I committed to writing 700 or 800 words every day for 28 weeks.  You can see all of my posts on the tweets in Success Tweets at http://www.SuccessTweets.com/blog.

I’ve also committed to doing a podcast on each of the tweets.  I do this because I care.  I care a lot about helping you achieve the life and career success you deserve.  And I know that this caring will pay off for me.  Because of all ths writing and thinking about career success, I’ll  become an outstanding career success coach – somebody who gives really great career advice.

When you care you do your very best.  Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of one of my favorite books To Kill a Mockingbird.  There is a passage in that book that has always stuck with me.  It’s in Chapter 11 and spoken by Atticus Finch, the father, played by Gregory Peck in the film.  He’s speaking to Scout, his daughter…

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

As Harper Lee points out, it takes courage to care. Because when you care, you put yourself out there.  You do your best.  And doing your best can be a scary thing.  When you care — when you consciously do your best — and fail, it’s heartbreaking.  But at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you did your best.

I remember when I applied to graduate school at Harvard.  I decided that I was going to demonstrate to myself how much I cared by writing the very best application I could.  I wasn’t going to let myself off the hook if I didn’t get accepted by saying “I could have written a better application, but I just didn’t spend the time I should have.” 

When I put my application in the mailbox – we still did quaint things like that back in the old days – I was proud of what I had written.  I knew it was the very best I could do.  I was also frightened because I knew that my best might not be good enough.  After all, both of my other degrees were from state schools.  Who was I to think that those kind of credentials would get me accepted at Harvard?

This story has a happy ending.  I was accepted and got my degree.  Even if I had not been accepted, I would have been proud of myself because I cared enough to write the best application I could, and I dared enough to admit it to myself.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Just like the young men and women who will be playing in March Madness this year, successful people are proud of what they do.  They care.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 100 in Success Tweets.  “Care about what you do.  If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer.  If you care a lot, you’ll become an outstanding performer.”  Does your work show that you care?  Or does it reflect an “it’s good enough” attitude?  Take it from a career success coach, if you want to create the life and career success of which you are capable, make sure that how much you care shows through in every single piece of work you do.

That’s the career advice I take from March Madness.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my thoughts on life and career success.  I appreciate you and your input.


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