When I was around the tender age of 20, I plunged myself completely into the world of football, and the pursuit of a full-time, university-level head coaching position.
Back then, I had just become the video coordinator for the McGill Redmen football program. Generally speaking, my life was going through a huge upswing: my marks in class were improving, I was dating this really awesome young woman, and my side hobby of house music DJing was picking up steam. Many things in my life, at least during this brief moment in time, were looking up!
After several difficult semesters in university that saw my marks fall precipitously from the kinds of grades I’d been used to as a high school student, my attention shifted from aiming to become a doctor (still the quintessential goal of many research university science students) to becoming a paid football pro.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this career goal made absolutely no sense whatsoever! At first glance, going from seeking a job title of “doctor” to “university head football coach” may seem fairly simple, especially when you’re just in your early 20’s. However, there is a very significant difference in how one goes about attaining these roles.
These next two statements won’t surprise anyone. A doctor typically goes through many years of university-level education and practicum training before becoming a qualified, regulated professional and member of an order of physicians. A university football coach is chosen by – mostly based on their experience and how they present themselves in an interview – an academic institution to lead its football program.
What makes these two pathways so different? To me, it’s not the obvious difference in education. It’s the words “is chosen by,” in the case of the university football coach, that puts this career goal – by definition – outside of the locus of control of the individual. Put another way: it is for someone else to decide if you are a university head coach, not you.