How Competing Helped Me Get a New Job

This past week, I accepted a new position at my company and will be transferring from the main corporate office in Bloomington to the satellite office in downtown Minneapolis.

While I’ll still be working for the same company in the same metropolitan area and in the same industry, I am beyond excited for this new role.

It is a huge departure as I move from a support position to a production role. There is more risk involved, but a much stronger potential for reward.

In reflecting about how this change came about, I can say without a doubt that my foray into competing this past year was absolutely responsible for helping me get this new job.

Competing has taught me so much about myself and how to approach life, from my career to my relationships.

It has provided me with a better sense of self and thus more confidence to pursue the things I want in life.

I will be joining the Advisory Services Group, which is focused on providing real estate solutions to nonprofits, religious and educational institutions.

It’s a niche part of the larger commercial real estate industry and a bit foreign to me after specializing in retail real estate for the past eight years.

A year ago, if the same opportunity was presented at work, I’m not sure if I would have pursued it. I’m not sure if I would have had the tenacity or confidence to set up a meeting with the team and be so direct with them in explaining why they should add me to their group.

I probably would have been too reluctant to stir the waters at work and be too hesitant to welcome such change in my day-to-day routine.

And beyond pursuing it, I’m not sure if I would have recognized that an opportunity was being given to me.

But thanks to competing, I have learned how to be more open to the opportunities in my life. Back in October 2013, my friend Alice asked me if I wanted to be her partner in the Freeze Fest Team Challenge.

I said yes in a fit of enthusiasm. It wasn’t until later that I realized that this was the opportunity I was looking for to challenge myself and go outside my comfort zone.

To be more than a participant. To push myself to be better.

Thanks to the good that competing has brought to my life, I was able to recognize the opportunity that was being presented to me at work earlier this month.

A coworker informed me that the Advisory Services Group was looking to add a new member. It was a chance to join a successful team and to propel my career forward.

I jumped on it because I now know that simply being complacent and staying with the status quo would be detrimental to my personal growth.

I know from competing that you never win just watching from the sidelines. You have to step into the arena.

I’ve also learned from competing that if you want to win, you have to allow yourself the chance to lose. In short, that means taking risks.

In a CrossFit competition, it could mean attempting a new PR in the deadlift as it might be the only way to score the extra points you need to win.

If you fail, it could cost you the competition. But wouldn’t you rather go for gold than just play it safe to take silver or bronze? You know the answer.

It’s why when you watch “Jeopardy” you always root for the person who bets it all on the final question. There is nothing to be gained nor any satisfaction from playing it safe.

Moving from a focus on retail properties to these special assets, like churches and school buildings, has some risk to it.

The “safer” move in my career would be to stick with what I know – malls and strip centers. Further, I am transitioning from providing support and consulting services to being focused on transactions (i.e. leasing and selling properties).

I’ll be entering a world in which you eat what you kill. So ahead of me could be some years of feast and some of famine. There’s a lot more on the line but I believe I’ve got a stronger disposition for it thanks to competing.

At the Freeze Fest Team Challenge with my partner Alice, I dropped her during a partner carry, my jump rope broke and we were in last place by the end of the morning.

But I demanded more of myself than just being okay with losing and fought hard and put in as much effort as possible to try and win.

Similarly, at the Dakota Games, I was at the bottom of the barrel for the entire two days during the competition, but I wasn’t there to just participate.

I was there to show my best self and treated each event with purpose and determination.

It’s a long-winded way to explain that competing has taught me to ask more of myself. To do the that set of 15 deadlifts unbroken, to sprint not run, to put in extra time at the gym training so that I am constantly improving and growing bigger and stronger.

And now I take that attitude with me into the office. The team I am joining is extremely hard-working, driven and yet also humble.

They pitch in wherever needed to make sure they are best serving their clients, no matter their title or seniority.

They also know that they have to keep learning and challenging themselves to be better. When we interviewed, I was able to demonstrate that I now take a similar approach and display these needed traits.

I learned humility when I hit a PR in the 3-rep max bear complex at the Dakota Games and then found out the guy who won the event lifted 100 pounds more than me.

I learned to hustle when there was only three minutes on the clock and Alice and I needed to do as many burpee box-jumps as possible so that we could score enough points to move out of last place.

I learned through my training how to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and how to be willing to ask for help.

I learned that I can survive all the sweat and pain and soreness and exhaustion and get up the next day to get right back in there and try again.

When being offered this new position, the team told me that one of the reasons they wanted me to join their was because they believed I had “grit”.

It was one of best compliments I’ve ever received in my career. What they don’t know is that my grit has unearthed itself thanks to my experience competing.

Now is the time in my career to put myself in the ring. To fight and really go for the win. I believe that I can do it in this new position and am really excited for all the ups and downs as I know at the end I will be better than I was before.

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