By Kaitlin Flaherty
I am very fortunate to have a job in an industry I am passionate about. I was asked recently to write an article called “Success Secrets” for a newsletter associated with an organization I am involved in through the USPTA. I was extremely flattered that one of my mentors thought that I was successful and wanted me to write about my journey to success.
As I sat down to write the article I thought, what constitutes as success? The definition of success isThat being said, I still feel like I have a long way to go before I can call myself “successful,” however, here are some of the things I am doing now to help me get to where I want to be in the future.
Here are my “10 Success Secrets for Young Professionals”
#1: Time Management– I am the type of person that likes to stay busy. In college I was involved in many different clubs and organizations – I held leadership roles in most of them, I played college tennis, I graduated with Magna Cum Lade honors, and I had a social life. I was often asked “how are you able to do it all?”, and my answer always was, and still is, “time management”. As a student I would write down my schedule, or to-do list, and include club meetings, study time, team practice, class, going out to dinner and assign a time to each task. I continue to do this in my professional life and it has significantly helped me maximize my time and get the most out of my days.
#2: Follow Through– If you say you are going to do something, do it! When you are given a task or make a commitment, always follow through and do so in a timely manner. This means complete tasks early, return e-mails and calls within a day, and stay in touch with people on a regular basis. Life moves at such as fast pace and I find myself getting caught up in it all the time, but if you are a compulsive planner (like me) schedule times each week to call friends, co-workers, family, etc. This will strengthen all of your relationships (business and personal).
#3: Build your “Brand”- YOU are your brand, so it is important to figure out ways to promote yourself. Be a constant professional in your day-to-day life and online. I love social media and I now use it as a tool to build “my brand.” When an employer “Googles” my name he/she will see my professional blog, my Linkedin profile, my professional YouTube channel, and my Facebook page. I want all of these social networks to be a positive reflection of who I am. YouTube, blogs, etc can be used as catalyst for growing your career. For example, start a YouTube channel where you do a “tennis tip of the week” and send it to potential employers.
#4: Details, details, details! My first employer preached “details, details, details!” He understood that the ultimate goal could not be obtained without doing the small tasks correctly and efficiently. I tell myself this when I am writing e-mails or letters, I re-read every e-mail at least twice to make sure I do not make any typos. Typos and grammar can reflect negatively on you so always take a little extra time to re-read your correspondence and/or anything else you write.
#5: Find a Mentor (listen and observe) – I am extremely fortunate to have a great group of mentors. I have wonderful parents who have taught me honesty, integrity, morals/values, and the importance of work-ethic. I have the privilege of working with USPTA Southern Board Members and Southern Division Presidents – all people I look up to tremendously. Last, but not least, I am fortunate enough to work with Tom Daglis. I work with Tom on a daily basis and I see how much he loves tennis, cares about all of his students, and genuinely wants the people around him to succeed. Tom has done so much for me; he has connected me with the USPTA, he has shown me how to handle difficult professional situations, and has been someone I strive to be more like. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of these great mentors.
#6: Help Others– We are all looking for people to help us in our journey, but in my opinion it is just as important to “give back” and help others. I feel like most of us have chosen a career in tennis because we enjoy giving back and helping people have fun, find confidence, and grow through the game of tennis. Do your best to volunteer, mentor, network, and most importantly – treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. It is a great feeling to watch my students grow and mature each year and land great jobs upon graduation.
#7: Work Hard-ER– “If you’re not practicing, somebody else is, somewhere, and he or she will be ready to take your job and your customers.” Keep yourself motivated, educated, and innovative. Always try to outwork the competition.
#8: Don’t get complacent – Keep setting new goals! Each year I make a list of goals I would like to achieve that year. I like to put my goals into my smartphone so I can refer back to them on a regular basis. If you are not a smartphone person, people also make “goal boards” and put them in their office or home. Either way, it helps to look at your goals on a regular basis so you can aim to achieve them all. My goals motivate me to work hard and go after what I want.
#9: Glass “Half-Full” – A positive attitude is everything. People are attracted to positive people and enjoy being around them. Always look for the silver lining in a difficult situation. Find at least one good thing each day to be thankful for. Trust me, when you think about it, everyone has so much to be thankful for.
#10: Establish “Who You Are” – On a day-to-day basis I have learned that people face ethical dilemmas in the work place and in life. I have found it increasingly important to have a strong sense of “who I am” and “what I stand for.” Having a strong understanding of one’s self can be developed through an understanding of ethics, morals, religion, experience, and company codes of ethics and rules.
This article was first published on LinkedIn
Kaitlin Flaherty is the Assistant Director of the Professional Tennis Management (PTM) Program at Methodist University