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  • Brett Zalaski

I'm Supposed to be a President by Now


The end of the year is coming. In #sportsbiz that means promotions and bonuses. It also means the end of inside sales classes with some not getting promoted. It also means being fired. I've had the incredible feeling of being promoted at this time of year. I've also been fired.


I started my career in #sportsbiz in February of 2007 at the incredibly prestigious NBA's Team Marketing & Business Operations group. Once I got a sense for the industry, I made a personal goal to become a Team President (and also SBJ's 40 Under 40). My first job out of TMBO was a Director of Ticket Sales for a pro sports team. I had PLENTY of time to get there by 2019.


(Quickly checks my own LinkedIn profile) And I'm not. But I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.


What my picture of success means today is so much clearer and so incredibly different than what it was when I was 26 entering the NBA league office building for the first time. It's also different than when I was 30 and starting MLS' National Sales Center. And when I was 33 and starting my own sales training business. And when I was 36 and accepted the VP position at the Houston Dynamo.


What I wanted to do when I did each of those thing? Become a President some day. What I wasn't asking myself? Who do I want to be? What truly matters to me?


You know what I want to do today? I want to help #sportsbiz teams and sales reps improve their sales approach. I want to challenge myself and my personal sales skills by tackling two projects with two sports technology companies (Season Share & ISBI), and I want to create an on-going dialogue with #sportsbiz sales reps so they feel supported in their roles (thanks for being a part of that!).


And, more than all that, I want to be a supportive husband. I want to be a step-father who walks his step-kids to and from school every chance I get. I want to be a man who prioritizes the family and friends who have allowed and inspired me to be here today. I want to be a man who is driven by his faith to positively impact as many people as I can.


Through successes and failures, with a goal of becoming a President, I gave myself nothing but anxiety and loneliness. Through having a true, genuine, and honest conversation with myself, and attacking what truly matters to me, I have a greater sense of peace and happiness than I've had in a long, long time...and I genuinely believe I'm helping and serving people, personally and professionally, more than I have at any point in my career.


Get promoted this time of year? Awesome, take stock of your successes and ensure you know EXACTLY what you want to get out of this next role.


Don't get promoted this time of year? Make sure what you're truly doing what you want to be doing...than isolate the areas of improvement you can make...and attack!


Get fired this time of year? Get up, dust yourself off, reflect on what happened, find your purpose, start making changes and proactively attack what you want next in life.


There's nothing wrong with wanting to be a President. And maybe I'll be one someday. But that's not for me, right now. And it will never again be the most important achievement, personally or professionally, in my life.


I've said it to anyone who will listen, but this website is the coolest job I've ever had...and will probably ever have. I'm so beyond grateful for every one who reads, who passes along, and who shares their challenges with me. Have a tremendous holiday season...and I'll see you back in 2020!