5 Tricks To Staying Hireable & Happy, According to The CEO at Flywheel Sports
Take a glance at Sarah Robb O’Hagan’s resume and you get the impression that the world of high-profile brands was her playground; she monkey barred her way around Gatorade, Virgin, Nike and Equinox to name just a few, revolutionizing their branding strategies and picking up accolades like being named one of the most powerful women in sports by Forbes and one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company. But when it comes to the topic of her impressive successes, Sarah simultaneously projects the notion that it's not as easy as it seems, and way easier than it seems: you gotta put in the hard work, but you also have to get out of your own way and let you be you.
Presently the CEO of Flywheel Sports, this is largely what Sarah's book Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat. is about. Sarah details the numerous failures that led to her accomplishments and prompts the reader to be the most extreme (in a good way!) version of themselves. And it just so happens that we’ve got something of an inside scoop for you, dear readers: It's officially out April 4, but if you pre-order Sarah’s book and send a copy of the receipt to her team at Extreme You, you’ll get a PDF of The Workbook of Extreme Badassery. (You can also catch Sarah’s talk with fellow top-level exec Sheree Waterson at the Girlboss Rally a few weeks back with a Digital Ticket!)
Below, Sarah dishes out five tips to be forever tackling the career you want:
1. Know what blows your hair back. One of the things I hear over and over when I am talking to ambitious, awesome women is the pressure they feel to land the perfect job to keep that resume looking super impressive. But what if striving for perfection is actually holding you back from really getting to know where you rock? It’s true that in life, in fitness and in your career, you are going to do your best work and be your best you when you just freakin’ love what you are doing. But the only way to figure all that out is to experience a lot of stuff—both good and bad—so your “I love it” radar is in tune. I often find that when I am interviewing people for jobs, it’s not the role in the high-profile consulting firm that stands out so much as the small-print bullet point of working in a comedy club to pay the bills when they couldn’t get a “real job.” Now that is an interesting story to hear—what they learned about influencing people, attracting an audience and running an effective operation. Every experience matters in figuring out what makes you you, so just be sure to dive in and do as much as you can so you really know where you shine.
2. Put yourself on the line. We’ve all met those people we describe as highly driven to succeed—the ones that really push harder than the person next to them. Where does that drive come from? If there is one thing I learned from interviewing some of the world’s most successful humans, it’s that at every step of the way, it was their dream and their risk to go after it, and they put themselves fully on the line in pursuit of what they wanted. Most of them can recall parents, professors and teachers telling them all the reasons why their decision would not work out for them. And here’s the thing: All those advisors care about you. They want you to be careful and safe. Of course they do. But the thing is: They are not you. They don’t know what excites you and what is going to turn on the fire in your belly to make you succeed—only you can see that. Whenever you have a safety net under you, whether it’s financial or going into a new adventure with a backup plan, you simply won’t trigger the same drive inside yourself because you won’t have so much to lose. When you feel it, you’ve gotta go all in.
3. Get out of line. At some point in your career, you’re going to have to seize—or even better, create—an opportunity that others can’t see in order to take your performance to the next level. But here’s the thing: There’s a right way to do it and a wrong way. We’ve all come across that annoying person on the team that is clamoring to get attention to get the next promotion. So. Not. Cool. To successfully get out of line, you need a couple of things lined up. First, you absolutely must have the experience and credibility to bring your crazy new idea or opportunity to the team. Second, you should always be doing it in service of your team’s best interests—not just your own. If your department just had someone quit and things are falling apart without them, leaping up to take on their work because you’ve accumulated the right experience is a great example of benefiting the team and stretching yourself to the next level.
4. Buckle up for some pain training. If you’re not failing, you’re simply not trying hard enough to succeed. I really believe that. I tell my kids when we go skiing that if they didn’t fall that day, they were probably staying in their comfort zone, and that’s not going to help them get better. As a result, my rockstar daughter was already skiing black diamonds around the age of 6. You get the picture. It’s a great metaphor for your life and your career. You simply have to endure falls, embarrassments and epic fails if you truly want to be the best you can be. You need to reframe your attitude around failure. Instead of being scared of it, get out there and revel in it. I can absolutely assure you that when I am interviewing candidates and I ask them about their greatest epic fails of their career, those with nothing to say are the ones that I know just don’t have the courage and resilience that comes from failing.
5. Get over yourself. What blew me away the most about the amazing people I got to interview for my book—from a former secretary of state to a famous tattoo artist and everyone in between—is that they were all the most stubbornly humble people I have ever met in my life. They’ve achieved more success than I could ever dream of, yet in every way, they are still learning, growing and curious to understand the endless ways in which they can be better. It’s such a great lesson. Success isn’t something that you achieve and then you’re done. It’s a lifelong journey and a willingness to constantly break yourself down and put yourself into situations where you are a beginner again.