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December 20, 2013

A News Reporter's Hidden Source of Inspiration

A journalist and obsessed college football fan reveals how she learned some of the best career advice from the game.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of CBS News

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CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford is something unique: A serious network reporter who happens to be a diehard college football fan. Growing up in rural Alabama, some of her strongest childhood memories are cheering for (and sometimes crying over) the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. She remains one of her alma mater’s most devoted fans. Crawford says she finds inspiration from the game, as there are many life lessons you can takeaway from the sport. Here are here top five:

1. People working together can accomplish far more than the same people working as individuals. Football is the ultimate team game. Each player has to trust others to do their jobs, and that’s true when you work in any organization—especially network news. You may see me on television, but I’m there only because of the hard work of a hundred other people—producers, editors, camera crews—who make it happen. It's a true team effort.

2. You have to play all four quarters, because games aren’t decided at halftime. If there’s time left on the clock, anything—good or bad—can happen. You may think you'll never figure out an assignment or finish a project, but you have to keep your focus and keep going. Don't slack off halfway through.

3. Get back up. Everyone gets knocked down in football, and sometimes you get knocked down hard, and sometimes you fumble the ball away. Life is the same way. In journalism, for example, reporters are always fighting for the big "scoop," and it's hugely disappointing if someone else beats you to it. But life is about perseverance. You're going to have setbacks—maybe you’ll even get sacked (literally). But you have to get back up and ready for the next play. You can't obsess over what you should have done.

4. Go all out every play. A few plays decide most football games—you just don’t know which ones until after they happen. That is why you need to give everything you have every time. You never know exactly when you're going to see that opening, and you have to be ready. That takes practice and preparation.

5. Don't be afraid to dream big. Football has great stories every year. Walk-on players become stars. Teams pull huge upsets. An unknown freshman from Texas A&M can win the Heisman Trophy. Appalachian State can beat Michigan. These things only happen when you believe in yourself and dare to dream—and you aren't afraid to fail. Yes, that can lead to crushing disappointments, but it also can give you some soaring moments that will make chills run down your back. I think that’s how I ended up going from a farm in rural Alabama to a job I love in network news. It was a dream I just had to try to live.

Where do you find the best career inspiration? Sound off in the comments below!

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