What influences the way you make decisions? Can you define your fundamental beliefs? These are your core values; they’re what you consider to be essential in steering the way you live and work. When you work in sports, and your job aligns with these values, you’re naturally more engaged and satisfied in your career.

Just as you have your own set of values, you also have your own mission. Your personal mission statement includes professional objectives and relates to your sense of purpose.

People who know their mission and values are ready to find work in sports and manage a successful career. This state of self-awareness is a great place to start your job search strategy.

To get a better understanding of the role values and missions play in a professional’s life, we contacted experts who work in sports and teach sports professionals at Georgetown University.

Here’s what they had to say:

A Mentor’s Wisdom

The value of learning from others can’t be overstated. This is a lesson Dr. Daniel Kelly, faculty director and associate professor of the Practice for the Master of Professional Studies in the Sports Industry Management Program, has learned through his own experiences.

He defines his personal core values as a strong work ethic, integrity, and competence. However, he didn’t just come up with these on a whim. He observed and learned from the best.  

“I had a mentor at Miami University in Ohio who communicated the importance of giving a full effort to all tasks I commit to,” he said. “He also taught me to stay accountable for my actions and consistently look for ways to improve as a scholar, a practitioner, and a person.”

These important lessons stayed with Dr. Kelly as he fully realized his professional self. Now, in his current role, he has a similar relationship with his students.

“I’ve been afforded the opportunity to pass along the same life skills and knowledge that my cumulative mentors bestowed upon me as a student,” he continued. “The bond between a professor and students is a noble relationship. I believe it is my responsibility to help students improve. Fortunately, my career aligns significantly with my personal core values and mission.”

Embracing Flexibility

No matter what capacity you work in sports, your values and mission will evolve over time. This is what Taylor Brown, an instructor at Georgetown University, learned as he grew professionally.

“The first institution that shaped my character was Camp Dudley in upstate New York. The motto was simple: ‘The other fellow first,’” said Brown.

“This simple slogan inspired me to think of others before myself. Then, in my experience with two Jesuit institutions, I was inspired by the Jesuit value of ‘women and men for others.’ This inspired me to live a life devoted to service, specifically to pursue a career as a nonprofit executive.”

His work with PeacePlayers International gave him the opportunity to develop the organization’s core values: Seeing People as People, Culture of Collaboration, and Inside Out Transformation.

“Working in an environment where we measure performance against those values has been a rewarding experience,” he continued.

“The key themes that cut across each of the institutions I’ve been a part of, along with my core values, have guided my own personal decision-making throughout my career. I felt a personal calling to serve abroad, which then fostered a career in nonprofit management and teaching.”

How to Find Your Own Mission and Values

Jamie Kralovec is an administrator and lecturer at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, where he teaches Jesuit Values in Professional Practice. This elective introduces professional and liberal studies students to the theory and practices of Jesuit values and their applicability to personal and professional life.

“What you do flows from who you are,” he said. “Professionals seeking to do work in the world that is aligned with their values and their mission need to first cultivate a healthy awareness of their self.”

Kralovec follows the Examen, a daily practice Jesuits follow. He suggests that making reflection into a habit is crucial for all professionals.

“Review your daily life and the emotions that arise in you from doing both small and large tasks. What motivates me? What makes me excited? What stresses me out or decreases my energy?” he explained.

“This practice of daily self-examination over time can help guide professionals as they better understand if their external actions are in sync with their interior feelings. This is a great way to chart a professional course that is rewarding, fulfilling, and, ultimately, good for society.”

Consider adopting a similar routine, where you learn more about what fulfills you. Then, as Dr. Kelly and Taylor Brown suggest, contact people you admire.

“Listen and learn from others,” Brown said. “Find role models who inspire you and observe the way they live their own lives and treat other people.”

Also, look for other tools and programs to discover what your strengths are. For example, as Dr. Kelly suggests, use values-based personality traits systems like Myers Briggs and Strengthsfinder.

When managing your career, focus on finding work in sports that aligns with your belief system and contributes to achieving your mission. Working with purpose and intention is vital to building a happy, successful career.