Did I mention winning tips? Ah. I'm afraid they're career tips. But winning ones nonetheless.
There are some surprising parallels between the Grand National and building your career. The former is the ultimate test of endurance, stamina, skill – over four and a bit miles whilst negotiating 30 fences around a gruelling track. The latter, arguably also a test of endurance, stamina, skill – over more than 40 years and navigating an infinite number of obstacles.
I’m not sure how many of us had a ‘dream career’ as a child – I deperately wanted to run a B&B – but I can say with some certainty, not many of us wind up in a perfect job by chance or by simply walking into it. Over our working lives, most of us have had to dig deep, take jobs we’d have rather overlooked, roll-up our sleeves, dust ourselves down after set-backs and learn that every step takes us closer to where we’d like to be.
I have a fondness for national hunt jump racing and, in particular, for what one might describe as an old fashioned staying chaser. Horses that are brave and bold and have hearts the size of a lions and oh, their will to win. Their unwavering will to win. To watch a horse dig and dig, flanks heaving, head down, giving even more with every single stride can bring a lump to the throat of even the most cold-blooded gambler. Their courage knows no bounds.
It’s an emotionally punishing sport, racing, often leaving one wedged, uncomfortably, somewhere between absolute euphoria and utter despair. I’ve encountered similar swings of emotion in my professional life.
So when you’re thinking about your career, remember it’s a four miler, through the mud, at Aintree, it’s not a 5f sprint in the glorious sunshine at Ascot. Channel your inner racehorse – be brave, be bold, be courageous and don’t stop. Each step is taking you closer to the winner’s enclosure and your dream job.
My money’s on Anibale Fly. In case you’re interested.
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