Don’t call me Jerry

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When people ask me “What do you do?” my reply generally sounds like this: “I am a sports and marketing consultant and athlete manager, specialized in the Outdoor field.”
But if the question is “What exactly do you do?” this is what happens.

  1. If I know that it is not really an interested query, I have an automatic reply: On behalf of the company I support and help create a sponsorship program meanwhile on the other hand I help the athlete to define and improve his or her image, improve the management of their communication channels and support the interaction with sponsors, media and fans.
  2. If instead it’s an act of courtesy, rather than an interested question and I sense it,  before replying I wander between the images of the huge amount of things I accomplish and carry out on a daily basis, be it for the company or for the athletes.

I have more or less the same reaction when someone tells me that they would love to do my job, the first thought that crosses my mind is

“Yeah yeah, you wouldn’t say that if you really knew what it actually involves! “

Ok, this might seem a melodramatic thought but it perfectly summarizes that appearance is far from reality!

Moments like:  the Event of the Year of the “La Gazzetta dello Sport” where all sports celebrities are present, or the First performance of the Banff Film Festival, the launch of a new book or the shooting of a new film, a photo shoot, an athletes speech during a company convention facing an audience of over a thousand participants, a corporate training context with 30 managers attending, an outdoor lunch on a sunny day in Messner’s castle with the most famous worldwide climbers, are really unique and exciting!  The moments I usually reveal and share on the social channels.

And then, there are moments… dark ones like last week where I don’t even take time to eat or drink for the whole day (I totally forget to) where, if I had space in my agenda, I would cry! When I don’t really sleep well as I go to bed with an obsessive thought and wake up with the evolution of it!

These are the times in which I have the perfect perception of the value of my job, of what it concretely involves and its’ importance: the importance of a highly functional “behind the scenes”.

So to reply to the question “What exactly do you do?” recalling the memory which is still fresh,

A) On a normal day,

I plan the mid term future by implementing my creativity (my athletes don’t want to hear anything on a long term basis, according to them “long term we’ll all be dead!”) I create and implement action plans, I manage both my agenda and my athletes’ ones, I check and update the social media channels, take calls, send emails – in short I dialogue with current and potential partners, training corporates, journalists and fans, I find solutions to problems.

I’m executive assistant, service manager, negotiator, marketing & communication manager, PR, intimate friend, agent, lawyer, diplomat.

I do and am, probably what you also are and do in your job.

B) On full crisis days,

I manage both my agenda and my athletes’ ones, I check and update the social media channels, take calls, send emails, I dialogue with current and potential partners, training corporates, journalists and fans, and find solutions to problems. I listen to everyone and find solutions to problems, I exert my self-control and find solutions to problems, I try to please everyone (even if I know that usually this has a boomerang effect) and find solutions to problems.

I’m executive assistant, service manager, negotiator, marketing & communication manager, PR, intimate friend, agent, lawyer, diplomat.

I do and am, probably what you also are and do in your job;

Hence, as a result if you also do all the above in your work, you could easily take over mine, right?

In principle, Yes – What more does it really take?

(the following is my reply to the corporates who ask me who I would choose as an athlete manager)

  • The longing to do it.
  • Love and passion for what you do no matter the circumstances.
  • Ability to adapt and live without anchor or reference points. (How will you have anchor points if you created your own employment?).
  • Avoid feeling guilty for being a consultant who delivers consultancies which are rarely applied.
  • Avoid being a victim of traditional schemes (i.e. working days and time – here it works the 24 h on 7 – or i.e. “this is not in my task list”, because if you need to sweep you sweep!).
  • Passion for selling including selling oneself (and 1. selling oneself is a lot harder than selling someone else 2. if you aren’t paid for the work that you do, it’s not a job then but a hobby).
  • Passion for negotiating.
  • Great ability to engage and interact (with both senior and junior colleagues alike – don’t tell me you believe that hierarchies don’t exist).
  • Strong communication skills (which I would even call generosity).
  • Strong problem solving skills and an ability to overcome any obstacle.
  • Steadfastness and ability to continue without feedback (if things go well, without positive or negative feedback; and if things go badly without positive feedback).
  • Ability to stand back (even when it’d be in everyone’s best interests to take the lead).
  • Ability to defend others and accept blame when a scapegoat is needed.

Yes, and of course other skills that are needed include:

  • a background in marketing and communications
  • preferably in sport
  • but if it’s in the automotive industry, supermarket chains or fashion, etc.; this might even bode better (three cheers to cross-channeling!).

Have you ever watched Jerry Maguire? Well no, my job is not exactly that of him, or to say it better:  I am in part Jerry, only from the moment of his crisis of conscience onwards, plus a lot more.

N. B. And then an athlete calls me just to tell me he/she is fond of me, it might even cross my mind he/she is being a bit of a smart-ass, but nonetheless I am tickled pink and I easily forget the dark moments.

Probably this is not easily recognizable as the competence of a “pro”, and difficult to add to one’s CV, but

“WITHOUT A DOUBT IT IS A SKILL WHICH HELPS RELATIONSHIPS, EVEN WORK RELATIONSHIPS, LAST A LONG TIME.”

And is this not an important point? Or is it enough just to use this concept as the daily quote on a Facebook post?