Introduction: Life is a Contact Sport by Ken Kragen
In Summer 2016 at the eWomenNetwork Conference in Dallas, I heard Ken Kragen speak. I was so impressed by what he had to say, that I wanted to buy his book. The book, Life is a Contact Sport, is out of print, so I had to settle for a used copy.
He worked with entertainers such as Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Trisha Yearwood, Olivia Newton-John, The Bee Gees, Burt Reynolds, and The Smothers Brothers to help them move to the next levels in their careers.
Although Kragen worked with a lot of entertainers, there is lots of useful information in the book, that is suitable for professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners. If you apply the information, you can accelerate your career and grow your business fast.
Life is a Contact Sport by Ken Kragen has 10 strategies that you can use to move to the next level in your career.
UPDATE: First Published in June 2017
Have you read?
What is Life is a Contact Sport by Ken Kragen About?
Life is a Contact Sport by Ken Kragen is a 10-Step Program to turn ideas, causes, and careers into success stories.
Strategy 1: Event Strategy
You can use the event strategy to build your image to increase your personal power. High visibility and momentum can provide a competitive edge. Stardom is crucial for success in business. You need concentrations of three or more events within a short period of time to set the stage for major career breakthroughs. An event is any out-of-the-ordinary accomplishment that gets the recognition of your boss, industry, or the general public. What does this mean for you? What activities would do that for you?
An event strategy allows you to jump from one level to another. With an event strategy, apply concentrated activities in a concentrated time. You can also take one event and build around it. You keep expanding it.
The Event Strategy
To advance your career you have to get noticed. You have to grab the attention of the right people. To get ahead you have to hold events. Remember that an event is an activity. This could be a meaningful project that has no sponsor. It could be an activity that will improve productivity. It could be a way for the organization to do good in the community. With that in mind, what events can you create and implement? It has to be at least three in a short amount of time.
Characteristics of Events That Get Noticed
- Special or Unique
- Founded on Real Substance
- Capture People’s Attention and Imagination
For the Newly Hired
- Do the job you have been hired to do exceptionally well.
- Make a positive first impression. Follow up with something that will grab attention.
- Take the time to build goodwill.
What can you do the first week on the job to make a positive and lasting impression? During the first few weeks, spend time gathering information. Listen more. Learn who are the people who are critical to your career advancement strategy. When you’re the new kid, take a bit of time to learn the lay of the land before you start creating events. You do not want to isolate others. Take two to six months to understand how things work, then start to plan a series of concentrated events. Events must fit the culture of the organization.
Strategy 2: Creating a Personal Balance Sheet
You have to deliver at key moments in your career. Set realistic and achievable goals to get ahead. Set an overall goal at first, then intermediate ones. What are assets and liabilities?
Things that bring pleasure (swimming, going to the movies)
What you like most about your job
Maximize the things that are fulfilling and pleasing
|Things that make you unhappy (Public speaking, traveling for work, boredom, routine)
What you like least about your job
Minimize the things that are not fulfilling and pleasing
Financial & material assets
(Financing for your business, own a home, confidence, creativity)
Lack of experience
Personality traits that prevent you from working harmoniously with others
(Lack of financing, just graduated, impatient, inarticulate)
Set Goals and Use the Balance Sheet
- Prioritize Your Goods: Focus
- Establish your career priorities.
- Give priority to the career goals that will yield the greatest benefits.
- Tailor Goals to Reality
- How feasible are your goals?
- Break down a grandiose dream into small, realistic goals.
- Narrow objectives into manageable goals. Work on them until you reach your ultimate goal.
- Do Not Underestimate Your Abilities
- Put all your capabilities on the table.
- Your abilities may be worth more than you think.
- It is about the complete package.
Overcoming Your Liabilities
Accept Fears: Face your fears. They have no power over you! How does your fear affect your career?
Stop Making Excuses: Conquer your fears. Stop blaming it on circumstances. Solve your own problems.
Commit to Change: Learn to identify your fears one at a time, and work through them. Confront each problem head on,
Stop Relying on Others: Find ways to become more self-reliant.
Admit Ignorance: Admit you do not know everything.
Don’t Blame Others: Use misfortune to improve your situation. Take advantage of your situation.
Risk Failure: Try things that make you uncomfortable. You get better with practice.
Set the Stage Right: To set yourself up for success, ask yourself these three questions:
- Are you giving yourself enough time to thoroughly learn the basics of your skill?
- Do you have the resources you need?
- Can you practice your new skills without interference from anyone?
Strategy 3: Backward Thinking for Forward Motion
Create opportunities for yourself. What is your ultimate goal? Work backward, then recreate a map to move forward. Start with the end in mind. Getting a promotion depends on your boss. So, he is a gate keeper, who you have to get past. You have to find a way to motivate a gatekeeper, who stands between you and your goal of getting a promotion. Backward thinking starts with you setting your ultimate goal – your destination. Think about the obstacles you have to pass through and who controls the gate. To get the gatekeeper to open the gate to let you through, you have to find out what motivates him or her. Ask them. Get them involved by asking about their opinions. Ask for their advice.
Think of your ultimate goal, who are all the gatekeepers you have to get by?
- Make a list.
- What motivates each one of them?
- What kinds of things will influence each one of them?
- Talk to each gatekeeper to find out what motivates him or her.
- If it is impossible to talk to them, talk to others who are qualified to give advice.
- Research the gatekeepers. With social media, this is easier than when this book was first written.
- Take a look at each gatekeeper, what does each one need to succeed?
- If you want a promotion at work, who are the gatekeepers you need to convince that you deserve the pay raise?
- Demonstrate that you are worth promoting. If you are promotion worthy, how do you need to prepare? What steps do you have to take? Use this information to create an outline or roadmap to move forward. This process works in many situations.
Stuck-in-a-Rut at Work
- How do you get a new assignment?
- What skills do you need?
- How do you get those skills to become more marketable?
- Should you get a part-time job to acquire those skills?
- Should you read books, applying what you learn?
- Should you create your own stretch assignment?
- After you get the gatekeepers to open the doors for you, you have to follow through.
Sequential Focus: This is used to identify long-term objectives and immediate goals. Break down your long-term goals into a sequence of focused objectives.
Strategy 4: Your Life is Not your career
Your career is a tool to have a good life. It is not your life. Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. Try not to be something that you are not. To evaluate new opportunities, ask yourself:
- How does this add to my life? Do I really need or want it?
- Will it challenge me to do something I have never done?
- Will I have a great time doing it?
Most Important Things in Life
- Physical well-being
- Social relationships
- Outside interests
Work in a job that you love.
How to Survive a Burnout
- Temporary reassignment
- Job swap
- part-time work
- Take a course
- Take a sabbatical
Strategy 5: Optimism and Enthusiasm
Rule l: Have the Right Attitude
- Reach for the stars, catch them, and run with them.
- Decide to become a success.
- Have a positive career attitude.
- Do not squander opportunities.
Rule 2: Spread the Word
- It is not only about you.
- Share a little bit about you and find out about the other person.
Rule 3: Do Not Be Cool
- Be passionate about what you do. People will sense your enthusiasm.
Rule 4: Always Mix Business with Pleasure
- Enjoy the process of work to enjoy career success.
Rule 5: Be Real
- Show yourself.
Focus on the positive, so there is no time to feel sorry for yourself. Throw yourself into every challenge that comes your way.
Strategy 6: Life is a Contact Sport
A wide-ranging network of family and friends can benefit someone’s career. Socialize with the higher-ups. Play sports with them. Approach each deal as a series of long-term relationships.
Strategy 7: Everything in life is an Opportunity
Negatives can be turned into opportunities. Let others know about your contributions. Negatives can become opportunities.
Organization and Delegation
Do only the things that you can do, delegate the rest.
Strategy 8: Honesty is the Best Gimmick
Honesty can disarm.
Strategy 9: Timing is Everything
Timing is a crucial element of career planning.Click To Tweet<click to tweet>
Get your demands straight before you go into a negotiation. Know when to persist and when to walk away.
Strategy 10. The Power of Giving
The power of giving can bring some of the greatest rewards in life. The little things matter. Let others know you appreciate them. You have to believe in the ultimate success of what you are doing. People will respond if you give them something unique, innovative, and meaningful to respond to.
3 Rules of Giving
Rule I: Give ‘Em More
Give people more than what they are expecting
Rule 2: Give to Increase Business
Loyalty programs fall under this category.
Rule 3. Give to Your Career
Invest in your career if you want to achieve success.
- Know how to read people.
- Having a conversation before negotiation begins is a goldmine of information
- See the other person’s point of view.
- Be honest.
- Timing is everything.
- What is in your life that is worth promoting?
- To get publicity, you have to understand what motivates the media.
- Find news value in what you are pitching.
- Find one or two-sentence phrases that can sell your story.
- Success or failure
- Celebrity Packaging
Final Thoughts: Life is a Contact Sport by Ken Kragen
Life is a Contact Sport is worth the read, but you may find it hard getting your hand on a copy. Implement one strategy at a time.
Quotes I Liked
“You learn more from the mistakes than you do from the successes.” John Y Brown
“Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them 0n your way down.” Wilson Mizner
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them. “Ann Landers