An athlete once — this has occurred many times, actually — shared a legitimate complaint with me.
The player found himself playing less than one of his teammates, a teammate who was not nearly as good as the complaining player.
The reason for this, the player alleged, was because this lesser player was the son of the coach.
The lesser player was getting an opportunity that he hadn’t earned, only because of who he was kin to.
We call this practice nepotism.
Nepotism: the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.
I wrote about Donald Trump Jr. recently, and how he was, surprisingly, much more competent than I’d thought he was.
But it would also be fair to state that Donald Trump Jr. is Donald Trump Jr. because he’s Donald Trump Jr. That last name does work for him that he will never have to do for himself.
It’s not his fault, but he will have to deal with that forever. And so will everyone else who doesn’t have that name.
But what about you, someone who may not have such an advantage?
Someone less qualified than you could take your spot just because of who their father is or because they grew up in a different neighborhood than you did.
There are two things you can do. I suggest that you do both.
1) Be so good that the effects of nepotism would be hard-pressed to hinder you. Have your game and performance so on-point that not even the metaphoric “coach’s son” could take your spot.Be so good that the effects of nepotism would be hard-pressed to hinder you. Have your game and performance so on-point that not even the metaphoric “coach’s son” could take your spot. Click To Tweet
In basketball, coaches call this “being so good that we have to find playing time for you.”
2) Don’t curse the practice of nepotism, since it will never go away. Don’t hate the game — play the game.
We are socializing creatures. We often favor our friends and relatives over perfect strangers.
Knowing this, here’s what you do: perform so well, for so long, that you have the power position — now you can give your kids a job.We are socializing creatures. We often favor our friends and relatives over perfect strangers. Knowing this, here's what you do: perform so well, for so long, that you have the power position — now you can give your kids a job. Click To Tweet
Now your last name will do work for your sons and daughters that they will never have to do on their own.
Now you can make the game easier for others than it ever was for you.
Life is all about constant change. And we need to understand that sometimes, the change is not in the game or system itself— just in the players.Life is all about constant change. And we need to understand that sometimes, the change is not in the game or system itself— just in the players. Click To Tweet
Nepotism — people getting opportunities simply based on who they know, merit and skill be damned — isn’t going anywhere. Only the names and faces will change.
Your job is to not let your kids and your friends have the same problems you had.
Check out these MasterClasses on performance and creating opportunities —
#89: Why Your Next Opportunity Is Already In Jeopardy
#1346: Your Current Opportunity Is Your BEST Opportunity
#1138: You Never Know When Opportunity Is Watching
#1095: How To Use Uncomfortable Situations As Opportunities For Growth
#1025: The Opportunity Is In The Opposites
#23: How To Relieve Pressure Before A Game Or Performance
#1168: How To Ignore The Talk When It’s Time To Perform
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