Take a step back and figure out what your "Super Bowl" is. This is the advice I'd offer if I were talking to my younger self as a student or 1st year physical therapist/strength & conditioning coach/fitness pro. 10 years of post-graduate experience at any profession/craft is hardly anything compared to folks who have 20, 30 or 40+ years of experience but during my 10 years that bit of advice stands out!
My advice to "find your Super Bowl" was something that one of my mentors offered as I entered the competitive and vast rehab/strength & conditioning/fitness field like most do; ready to change the world without a clear idea of how or where. My mentor explained that unlike the NFL where everyone wants to make it to that one big game, your career is different - everyone has their own Super Bowl.
I entered the competitive and vast rehab/strength & conditioning/fitness field like most do; ready to change the world without a clear idea of how or where.
Identifying your career "Super Bowl" early on is big because it calibrates your compass - it gives you something to shoot for and gives you direction. Figuring out your Super Bowl can seem frustrating and overwhelming but here are 4 keys that have helped me to simplify that process:
- Follow your gut/heart. This is hard to do but you need to take the time to tap into what your gut and/or your heart is telling you about what your Super Bowl is. You know, you just need to listen to yourself.
- Get comfortable with trial and error. Knowing your career Super Bowl before you get your career started isn't unheard of but it's not the norm either. More often than not, you will need to try different options that don't feel quite right before you find the one that does feel right.
- Constant reevaluation. WARNING: Your career Super Bowl is never carved in stone. It's up to you to never assume that just because you reach one Super Bowl or because you haven't landed the dream gig you thought was your Super Bowl that that's it, end of story. You should regularly challenge yourself to think carefully whether your vision is still the same or if it has evolved. This way, your compass isn't pointing towards outdated goals.
- Find a mentor. This journey of career and life is tough enough - no need to go it alone! Finding a mentor for some is easy and for others it's hard but don't forget that they don't have to necessarily be in your exact line of work or profession. Plenty of folks have "been there and done that," just in a different arena. Even if where they've been and what they've done isn't exactly where you're headed, their experience can still be very valuable.
Once you lock in on what your current career Super Bowl is, you can make sure your actions are aligned with that vision and start making moves. Speaking of actions and making moves, I chatted with Parham Nabatian of Infinite Communications about what's helped me as I continuously look to make my career Super Bowl a reality. Check out the juicy details of that conversation here:
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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the founder of TD Athletes Edge. He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
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