The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success

The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success by Jim Roddy features 31 underdog athletes who parlayed their college experience into habits that led to career success. Here's an excerpt that explains what drove Jim to write the book:

I published The Walk-On Method to share a life-changing lesson I learned the hard way – and to clarify a misunderstanding. In 2012, I published my first book, Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer, which offered team-building best practices from the perspective of a cancer-surviving executive (that would be me). I was 10 years cancer-free back then, but many of my business associates were unaware of my colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy because it’s not exactly the topic one weaves into a conference call.

Shortly after Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer was released, one of my industry friends told me, "Now I understand why you’re so driven and do everything with a purpose – you’re relentless about every challenge. Now that I know you had cancer, I get why you are the way you are." I politely thanked him, but I couldn’t agree with him. I didn’t wake up every day thinking about myself as a cancer survivor. Except for hiring-related presentations where I mentioned my book, I rarely thought of cancer, so it certainly wasn’t a catalyst in my daily life.

Upon reflection, I realized I attacked cancer the same way I approached my role as a basketball walk-on at Gannon University, a Division II powerhouse in my hometown of Erie, Pa., from 1988-92. My walk-on attitude also guided me to launch and publish my own sports magazine (1993-98) and then rise the ranks from Managing Editor to Operations Manager to company President/General Manager at IT publisher Jameson Publishing (1998-2016). The behavior pattern I established at Gannon through four years of extreme commitment, hard work, perseverance, and resiliency is the blueprint for professional success – mine and yours.

That concept was intriguing and enlightening to me, so I scratched on a sheet of scrap paper the core elements of my walk-on behavior, which I eventually crafted into the five-part Walk-On Method which I’ll illustrate throughout this book.

Immediately I wanted to tell others about this formula so they could apply it to their lives. But I didn’t think my walk-on and work stories would provide enough data to encourage others to change. They could point to what I did as an anomaly, the stars aligning, being in the right place at the right time. So, I decided to test my hypothesis: if I interviewed fellow former walk-ons about their college experience and their professional path, would I learn that The Walk-On Method paid uncommon dividends for them, too?

After five years of internet searches, outreaches via email, phone, and social media, and interviews with former walk-on student-athletes, the answer to that question was yes. An overwhelming yes. While each walk-on’s individual path was unique, the mindset, skills, and behaviors developed and the outcomes achieved after college were similarly remarkable. Ordinary people will accomplish extraordinary feats when their energy is properly channeled.

Our walk-ons applied The Walk-On Method first to college football, basketball, rowing, golf, or track & field, and then they parlayed that behavior pattern into success in business ownership, engineering, coaching, law, finance, broadcasting, medicine, insurance, film, management, education, banking, acting, and ministry. These former walk-ons were behaving subconsciously, unaware that scrambling to make a college sports team and fighting to keep their roster spot was foundational to their life’s work. Going the extra mile in their profession is second nature, and they wonder why others don’t take that same (and seemingly obvious) path.

Most people don’t realize they’re in control of their career trajectory. We’re advised by family and friends to play it safe, follow a well-worn path, or choose the most financially prudent option. We’re encouraged to seek immediate rewards for our efforts and “look out for number one” because nobody else will. When we read a media account of a successful person, their accomplishments are often painted as a one-in-a-billion anomaly, a lightning strike of genius or opportunity. This book destroys those myths one walk-on success story at a time and reveals this important reality: your professional success is within your control. Repeated (and bolded) for emphasis: Ordinary people will accomplish extraordinary feats when their energy is properly channeled.

The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success is available in paperback or e-book format.