The great basketball coach John Wooden of UCLA began the first practice of the year with a very strange exercise: He taught his players how to put on their socks and shoes. When asked why he did this, Wooden explained that players whose socks and shoes did not fit got blisters, which hurt their game, and could even prevent them from playing. This story underscores one of Coach Wooden’s keys to success:
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
In our job search and career management, we have to pay just as careful attention to the basics. We need to keep an inventory of our skills and achievements, so we can present them well on resumes and during interviews. Another essential is to build and maintain a professional network that can help us navigate within our industry. Network contacts often know companies that have openings and people you can contact. We also need to keep learning. If we are happy in our current profession, the goal is to learn skills to move to the next level. If it’s time to change careers, we need to develop the new skills needed to meet that challenge. Learning never ends. It’s as basic as putting on your shoes and socks.
To coin a phrase based on what Coach Wooden said:
“Success is the result of preparing to succeed.”