Phil Neville was a professional footballer, currently coaches the England women's team and was a former captain of Premier League football (soccer) club Everton ... the team I have followed since I was old enough to kick a ball growing up in Liverpool.
Some time ago I watched an interview with Phil. I watched because of my interest in the team ... but was struck by some of his insights that apply to all of us in life!
He talked about the pre-season rituals, training camps and preparation for the season which will begin in August. Here were some quotes from the interview that really resonated with me.
1. You have to be "constantly making improvements to stay ahead..."
This is a proactive approach to development. In soccer he is talking about fitness and strength, but also about strategy, tactics and understanding your competition.
For people it means investing in yourself ... keep improving your skills, but also work on things like soft skills, understanding your company's business, the competitive landscape etc. For companies there is no letting up, they need to always be striving to get better!!!
2. If you "stand still, in soccer or in life, you get overtaken by those coming through".
The message is clear, your competitors are working hard and if you don't then you WILL be passed. This can apply equally to companies and individuals. You may feel your career is on track and promotion is around the corner ... but are you surprised when someone else gets the job? Does that other candidate want it just a little more? Have you settled into a routine rather than always looking to get better? Your company may be at the top of the heap today, but the world can change quickly ... just ask Nortel or maybe even RIM!
We can all learn from Phil Neville ... who at 35 has played more than 650 professional games, for club and country, and was at the top of the game for 17 seasons.
Lessons from Phil:
1. Don't stop investing in yourself.
2. The world keeps evolving, so your investment also needs to keep pace with those changes.
3. Its OK to reward yourself, to take time out from the HARD work ... BUT be careful you don't slack off too much! Keep an eye on the competition to ensure you are investing enough energy in your renewal!!!
DON"T EVER STAND STILL ... PLAY TO WIN!!