I waited three years until I was tall enough to meet the height requirement to swim in our outdoor Community Pool. Did it teach me perseverance, patience, and the idea that some things are worth the fight? Yes!
I was always on the move, enrolled in dance at the age of 5 because the neighbours told my parents it would be good for my extra energy. I started with ballet but got impatient at the age of 8, waiting to go “en pointe.” So I switched to highland dancing. Can you imagine an 8-year-old Asian girl with bouncing ringlets in a kilt, dancing the highland fling? What dance taught me was excellence and precision in what I do, my moves, my jumps, the smile when competing.
Building transferrable skills through sport
Those early years helped with the “transference of skills” to participate in high school sports where my 5 ft 2-inch stature did not deter me from being a cheerleader or being a guard on the basketball team. I loved being a part of a team, working together, achieving success or struggling through losses and just having fun, sharing in the camaraderie of the sport.
Today my favourite activities are swimming and dance. I can swim breaststroke mindlessly, loving the coordination, easy rhythm and gliding over the clear waters. Was it worth the wait, yes as swimming soothes my soul and clears my brain.
Having tried hip hop, jazz, tap, flamenco, belly dancing, my passion for dance is ballet, and yes, I take pointe class as well. What I love about ballet is the precision and the challenge of coordinating all your body parts, hands, fingers, arms, legs, core muscles, head, breathing and all making it look graceful and elegant. The energy it takes makes my glasses steam up some days. So it is more work than it seems. What I realize is that there is a strong correlation between who I am and the sport I love. I have a high standard of excellence, always striving to improve and produce great results, whether it is in dance or in the work I do.
The unexpected benefits of virtual dance classes during a pandemic
During COVID, my twice a week ballet classes stopped for 6 months. Recently, my classmates and I decided to take class virtually. What I discovered was the muscle memory returned. More importantly, the joy of participating in class with friends made it more enjoyable. To my surprise, I found an unexpected surge of creativity post-class that had me strategically map out my 4th quarter activities effortlessly. This energy and creativity even lasted for a further 24 hours. I missed dance and the destressing it always gave me.
I encourage all of you to find the sports that ignite your passion and give you joy. Then use these activities to stay active and keep moving. Whatever we can do to destress and maintain optimal health is so needed during these COVID times.
Today I have my own HR consulting company where the mission is to help small and mid-sized business owners develop the foundations of their success through their people. This includes creating strategic HR structures like policies and procedures, and processes for recruiting and retaining top talent.
When looking for top talent, I encourage job seekers to identify, and hiring managers to seek for achievement on the resume outside of their career. Especially in young adults who may not have much experience yet, I look for sports and other activities, especially where they have taken on leadership roles. These are training grounds for experience in non-technical skills.
What does the experience of an athlete, a coach, an official or a sports volunteer represent on a resume? It often shows character, perseverance, experience in dealing with setbacks, a striving for continuous improvement, drive, motivation and depending on the sport and the individual, a sense of team spirit and camaraderie. It represents hours honing in on skills both technical and non-technical in adapting to changes, showing flexibility and, in many cases, leadership.
More than just sport participation
Job seekers and hiring managers need to understand the value that these activities represent to an organization. As a job seeker, share these talents as strengths at the top of your resume and highlight these contributions you can make to the organization. Hiring Managers explore how their skills in athletics can benefit your organization.
We once hired a not so experience manager for a Senior Project Engineer role. On his resume, he played rep level volleyball and was currently coaching rep level volleyball. We saw that as a coach, he would have the patience and skills to support young engineers in their professional growth, and he would have the time management skills to lead projects effectively.
Today businesses need to develop and grow their talent. The best leaders are the ones who can motivate, inspire and lead their teams. Those who have a life long habit of athletics in their DNA can make excellent leaders.
My passion is helping build strong work cultures by building leadership success through the managers, executives and the business owners of the organization. In today’s COVID times, the sustained stress has taken a toll on managers, and their staff and managers need help to understand how to lead in these difficult times. The way managers have been leading pre-COVID may have been good or just okay, but with the sustained stress on individuals, managers need help to motivate, engage and inspire their staff.
My husband and I built an Engineering Consulting firm in the late 90s, and it became a Best Workplace in Canada, Top 10, twice. Our success was built on creating a place where people were valued and guided to develop their careers.
Today, I have used that winning formula and created a set of principles to Connect with REVUP™ that will transform leaders into REVUP Leaders, ready to motivate, inspire and uplift their teams and themselves. It focuses on building strengths and treat people with Respect, Equality, Valued, looking at their Uniqueness and tapping into their Potential. By adopting these principles, an organization can create a more inclusive workforce, building trusting relationships and engaging employees. When you look at the unique strengths of others and tap into that potential, you can create a powerful team, engaged and loyal.
Find, rate and review organizations that will help you do your thing on our Athlete Advisor, your athletic business directory.
Post your upcoming sport event or start your own active group in our SWSCD Hub.
Blog written by Hilda Gan. Hilda is the founder of People Bright Consulting, a Human Resources consulting business that helps others see that people are their greatest assets through employee engagement and leadership and management training. A serial entrepreneur, she has built four companies – in Healthcare, HR, Management Consulting, and Engineering. The latter, she co-founded with her husband. iTRANS Consulting was an award-winning, national Engineering consulting Firm that was recognized as a Best Workplaces in Canada® – top ten twice.
She believes in creating a great place to work for people and has a passion for helping women succeed. She created the Connect with REVUP™ Program to help individuals and leaders help others find their true potential. She loves to move to music and finds the discipline, beauty and power of dance, particularly ballet, soothes her soul.
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