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Picking a Team: Career Insight from a Soccer Mom

This Fall, my soccer-loving son is playing on two different teams. One is a fairly competitive, local travel team , the other is a highly competitive, regional club team. Needless to say, soccer has taken center stage in our lives, creating a ridiculously busy and disruptive schedule of practices, games and travel. “Quitting” has never been an option for my children, but because of school work, professional conflicts and other commitments, we are seriously discussing the possibility of making a choice: Travel or Club Team.

Without sounding like an obnoxious soccer mom, I must admit that my son is a super star on the local travel team. He starts every game and his skills are high above his team mate’s. Some even say that he “carries” the team. On the other hand, my son is a B player on his club team, which is filled with elite talent. While he does not have star status on this team, my son is constantly challenged to improve his skills and elevate his game by the demands of the inspiring team trainers as well as the excellence of his team mates and the competitiveness of the opposing teams.

So, the decision comes down to this: small-time superstardom or big-time opportunity?

This soccer team quandary got me thinking about business: Should you, as an employee, stay at a ho hum, routine job where you are highly qualified and valued but clearly NOT challenged. Or should you look to grow in a more complex and demanding environment, where you can be surrounded by A players who can mentor you and help you grow?

While challenging jobs can add hardship to an otherwise mundane life, stretching your abilities lets you feel as though you’re growing and developing as workers — and as a human. Sure, it looks good to be at the “top of your game” in an uninspiring job, but it is human nature to strive to take on more tasks and responsibility. With the right training, a strong team and powerful leadership, “winners” choose to stretch themselves. This keeps them motivated and always growing as individuals.

Are you a “winner” stuck in a rut? If you can’t find new opportunities with your current employer, or if you can’t grow in your current position, it may be time for a change. Don’t let the headlines or the current economic trends keep you from achieving your full potential — you owe it to yourself to break out of your work comfort zone and choose the right team!

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