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Football has been a huge part of my life from an early age. I was always found in a park kicking a ball around or at a game with one of my parents – one being a Chelsea season ticket holder, the other being Fulham, meant it was always good fun! However, I did not realise then how much of an impact football would have in helping me build a career in recruitment.

Here are 4 things I feel football has given me which professionally, I’m extremely grateful for:

CONFIDENCE:

20 years ago ladies football wasn’t the phenomenon which it’s starting to become (thank you Lionesses!). Growing up, I was often told it wasn’t ‘ladylike’ to kick a ball around and even sometimes asked if I was ‘actually a boy’ because that’s what I enjoyed doing in my spare time.

In the recruitment world, you’re often put down or told what you’re doing isn’t ‘right’. Getting past people being offended by girls kicking balls has certainly helped me move past the stigma that can be associated with the recruitment industry. It’s taught me to believe in my own ability both on the pitch and in the office!

DETERMINATION:

I currently play football for AFC Wimbledon Ladies and most of my Sundays are spent getting to, playing, and getting home from competitive fixtures. Playing football throughout my life has taught me that without determination, you will not reach the end goal. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win after losing for ages – persistence is key!

Having to persevere in football has taught me to commit to my work and learn not to give up when things get tough. Recruitment can be an up and down world and without having the ability to carry on, it would be very tricky!

RESPECT:

One thing I know for sure is football teams do not succeed without respect… dare I mention Kepa?! Coaching is a key part of success. Accepting why coaches or managers put you through rigorous training and give you a bit of tough love is fundamental for improvement. As well as this, in football you encounter people from all different walks of life and they become your teammates. Accepting not everyone is the same, however everyone has something different to offer is crucial.

Working in recruitment, you are often pushed by management and once you are able to respect the reasoning behind this, you see the best results. Being able to appreciate what colleagues, clients and candidates from all different backgrounds have to offer definitely helps achieve positive outcomes!

BETTER MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH:

Since getting back into more competitive football I have been training twice a week, Wednesdays and Thursdays until 10pm. It’s often tough getting to training and takes a lot of resistance to keep away from ‘Thirsty Thursdays’. Like most 20(something) year olds who work in central London a lot of my social life is based around a pub, a restaurant, or both! I’ve had weeks where I’ve over-indulged and sometimes even reached a destructive place because of it (story for another day). Playing football helps with balance, and I’ve seen improvements in my motivation, concentration and energy in the workplace. Almost three years ago I could write off Thursdays and Fridays to hangovers, now I look forward to the energy I have to source candidates or catch up with clients on these days. And then see everyone in the pub on Friday!

Ladies football is way more accepted now; it’s getting lots of coverage and also being more encouraged to girls as a whole. I’m excited to see how it will give others the same strength it has given me. In general, sport and exercise offer way more than physical fitness, and the more this is promoted in the workplace, I believe the better the results we will see.

If, like me sport has improved your career, I’d love to hear your stories!

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