I’ve spent the majority of the past nineteen years either on the soccer field playing, training, or somehow preparing. Though the fitness tests and championship games have blurred together over time, the memories I have made and lessons I have learned with the help of teammates has managed to stick with me.
In many ways, the lessons I learn every time I step on the soccer field parallel to the values of the work world. The emphasis both roles place on teamwork is essential. Whether it was my club team, high school team, or currently as a member of the Brown University women’s soccer team, mastering how to be a successfull and respected team member has always been vital to advancing the team, my own career, and my own happiness. The atmosphere on a long bus ride back from Cornell or the dynamics in post-practice locker room talks are almost guaranteed to be more positive and gratifying when everyone is satisfied with one another’s commitment. Similarly, in the work world, especially as an intern, learning to act as a member of a team is necessary to keep operations running smoothly. It could simply be helping out a co-worker with a trivial task, taking part in valuable brainstorming sessions, socializing after hours, or extending a warm welcome to a new member, all of which strengthens teamwork within a workplace and pushes the company towards maximal potential.
In addition to cooperating as a member of a team, it is extremely important in both athletics and the work world to commit to giving full effort. “Maximum effort is a minimum requirement” as my former club coach used to repeat over and over again. He said it enough and demanded it enough that it became second nature. On the field, when one member of a team does not commit to bringing full effort to a training session or game, the rest of the team suffers for one person’s lack of hard work and in turn, our team potential is compromised. Just as in an office setting if one project team member does not complete their fair share of a project, the other team members must over compensate and the finished product is weakened.
Regardless of the level of competition or my position within a workplace, assuming the role of a team member can go a long way. Not only does teamwork better the production process of a company but also enlightens the environment and makes it a more desirable place to be. Being one of eleven players working towards a common goal during a soccer game has taught me lessons far more valuable than any individual trophies or awards could have, and interning in the work world has mirrored if not magnified this importance.
(Photo courtesy of: http://www.brownbears.com/sports/w-soccer/2014-15/releases/20141010mh9ewp)
— Maclain Lehan