Today’s blog below details some of my own sporting journey, in regards to my current mindset. It acts as a follow-up blog to Pt 1, which you can find here. In truth, it’s mainly just a ramble to get to know me better.
I am ecstatic to have been asked to join the #SportsVizSunday crew, having been a fanboy / participant for a while. I want to further congratulate Mo Wootten and Simon Rowe to what is already an outstanding team. Their impact on the SVS and the wider community has been amazing to watch.
I’ve always had huge admiration of the co-leaders, the way they run the initiative and how welcoming they are to individuals from all different sporting analyst backgrounds. When I was first starting out Simon Beaumont and Spencer Baucke were, and still are, individuals I look up too. They have made a huge impact on my journey. Kate Brown, I had the pleasure of meeting later in the year where we paired up to do reverse mentoring. Kate has been a great source of continual learning and it slowly became evident Kate’s skillset really complimented areas of data visualisation I wanted to improve on!
I’m pleased I can play a small part in what is a bigger journey for #SportsVizSunday, that is committed to showcasing talent from all backgrounds. You can read the full comms here.
When I was younger I use to give all sports a good go. I’d like to think that I’m fairly naturally good at sports, with a decent hand eye co-ordination. My interest in sports tended to vary, initially starting with football, then tennis and finally settling on field hockey.
When I say younger years, I mean at school. When you’re young it’s a sense of finding what is right for you. You tend to try a whole lot of different sports and find something that sticks, namely something you primarily enjoy, or you’re good at.
Realistically, I think the same rings true now for individuals at work, you do a job that you enjoy and or you’re good at. (Let’s ignore the team element, work culture and nice pay cheques for now)
I appreciate now the sentiment of developing new complementary skills. In the same way if you’re good at tennis, you’re probably good other racquet or club sports. I see working in data the same way. You might have a special talent and love for one area such as data visualisation, but having complementary skills in data engineer, data modelling and design will all raise your overall ability in the field.
“How to become the best in the world at something while being the best in the world at… nothing” – Steven Bartlett (CEO Social Chain)
There were a brief few years between 15-17 where playing international level was a strong possibility. I took pride in wanting to reach a certain level, to be acknowledged as a good player, and to be rewarded for it with accolades. I think if you want to be successful at that level you need to have that competitive mind set and strictly focus on what you need to achieve it.
In truth, what I took away from it, is that it’s okay to want that, but I would personally not apply the same logic to all avenues of my life.
At work, I use to take an approach of setting goals on achievements probably because of that desire to constantly feel like I’m winning. I’m a lot more settled now that I approach things as development goals and ways to improve, rather than just chasing shiny medals. It has the same end point but I’m taking in the journey, not trying to jump to the destination.
The only other thing I’ve self recognised is, rather than having a competitive mindset against others, I like to internalise that motivation. How can I be a better than I was yesterday at something, How can I be a better version of me?
“Victory is having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won” – Bill Bowerman (Track and field coach and Nike Co-founder)
BIG FISH SMALL POND SCENARIO
What do I mean by this? A big fish in a small pond stands out. Of course, it is the biggest fish in a small area. On the flip side a small fish in a big pond, won’t get as noticed.
I think mentally the shift away from playing lower league levels of hockey to tougher leagues knocks your confidence a little. Everyone around you is now exceptionally talented, relatively now, you have become a smaller fish. That transitional phase is hard to adjust to. It took me a while to realise that playing with others of higher talent will improve my own skills.
In the business setting it’s similar. They say if you’re the smartest in the room, you’re in the wrong room. If you surround yourself with exceptional talent you tend to be lifted to that level. These thoughts however start to creep in whether you’re really good enough.
Don’t let others talent stop you from recognising your own. After all, two people can be exceptionally good at something in tandem.
“Practice creates confidence. Confidence empowers you” – Simone Biles (Olympic and World Champion Gymnast)
KNOW YOUR WHY
I briefly alluded to this earlier when I said I initially played because of the competitiveness of the sport, but after a while, this drive seemed to slow down. I fell out of love for the game and a few years later ended up stopping.
What made me temporarily start again was the people around me at the club, I loved their energy, I loved the camaraderie and I loved playing for the mental well being, but I lost touch of wanting to be the best player on the pitch and I think that’s okay.
Same with my outlook at work/life, I now focus where I can, on things that bring me joy and new learnings. I think hockey made me enjoy working in teams rather than silo’s, and understanding the deeper side to what motivates others.