I write content for a company that generates leads for home improvement contractors. I write about home improvement. It's the only subject I ever write about.
And yet, with the Super Bowl just a few short days away, my boss might accuse me of sleeping on the job if I didn't write something football related. (I've actually been caught napping at work. It wasn't my finest 2 hours.) So a football article it is. Here goes.
Easier said than done.
I thought the article would be a breeze - I can write (I'll admit, poorly), and I'm considered a pretty big football fan by all who know me. (I watch and go to as many Giants games as I can, and, on February 5th, 2008, I reached the pinnacle of my Giants fanhood when I had the unbelievable luck of driving a truck down the closed-to-traffic Broadway shortly before the Giants' Super Bowl 42 victory parade in lower Manhattan. But that's another story.)
Despite my qualifications (?!), I couldn't think of anything football had in common with home improvement. It seemed like a real stretch. Sure, it's easy to write "5 Home Improvements You NEED to Prepare for that EPIC Super Bowl Party," but what would that accomplish? It's not like anybody's actually gonna paint their den because they're hosting a Super Bowl party. People are coming to watch football, for God's sake! Nobody cares about what color the walls are or when they were last painted. (Of course, it might be a different story if someone was hosting a "Commercials and Halftime Show" party, but don't get me started.)
Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not disillusioned or arrogant enough to believe an article on the similarities of football and home improvement will accomplish much either. However, even if this has the feel of a seasonal fluff piece which isn't very informative, I can only hope there's a contractor out there that finds some aspect of this prose encouraging and is somehow able to improve his business because of it.
So, with sincere intentions, I sat down to write, but struggled with the concept for a while without getting anywhere. (The hours of Minesweeper and Youtube didn't help, that's for sure.)
And then it hit me.
Football players are some of the most physically fit individuals in the world. They train and practice for years, learning their positions and sharpening their skills. Sure, it helps to be talented, but without hard work, they'll never make it. They never stop striving for greatness - to be the best at what they do. And nothing feels as good as it feels when they've played a great game and the fans are happy.
What does it mean to be a qualified home improvement contractor? To become truly great at your craft, you need years of training and apprenticeship. You need to get licensed. You need to constantly hone your skills, gain experience, and build your reputation. It doesn't matter which industry you specialize in, you strive to be the best at what you do. And nothing feels as good as it feels when you've done a great job and your customer is happy.
And that's just the beginning. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much alike home improvement contracting and football are. Here's another one:
Before every game, coaches spend many hours devising a strategy that will help their team win. They watch film of their opponents to determine strengths and weaknesses. Once they're satisfied with the game plan, there are team meetings and lots of practices. By the time the game begins, everyone knows what they need to do and it's a matter of executing the game plan.
But things don't always go as planned. Sometimes the game plan that was perfect before kick-off seems terribly flawed once the game has begun. Coaches need to make real-time, in-game adjustments on the fly and they trust their team will adapt.
On a smaller scale, the quarterback might call one play in the huddle, only to change that play at the line-of-scrimmage after he sees the defensive alignment and realizes that the play he called won't work.
Before every job, contractors need to come up with a game plan as well. Of course, that strategy will vary based on the industry and size of the project, but the game plan will include every detail - what needs to get done, the budget, the timeline, the cost of materials and labor, and so on. Once the contractor and homeowner agree on the strategy, the contractor knows what he needs to do and it's a matter of executing the game plan.
But things don't always go as planned. Complications may arise that will extend the timeline or budget. A contractor will need to make adjustments to the original plan and adapt accordingly.
There are other similarities. Contractors and football players alike need to be able to learn from their mistakes and improve because of them. They need to feel confident in themselves and rise above the competition. I can keep going, but I'm tired and distracted and my brain isn't working properly anymore. (Was it ever?)
Ultimately, whether it's football or contracting, the goal is the same: The drive to be the best in your field and to do the best job possible.