Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Squash Arrogance, Be Humble

Working at the squash startup this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to witness some of the best squash professionals on a daily basis. Between professional coaches and players, one thing they all had in common was their humility. Never boastful, they cared more about improving than winning. Their skills spoke for themselves, so talking up a big game was unnecessary.

In the business world, and even the greater workforce, it so easy to get caught up in feeling the need sell yourself or work on your brand. While it is important to confidently speak on your core competencies, there is an art to selling yourself. Part of this art is having the emotional intelligence to know when to turn it on and off. Building emotional intelligence takes time, but awareness is the first step.

One of my last weeks at the squash startup, all of the coaches became level 1 certified. After we passed, one of the squash professionals said, “I am so grateful to have this title, but aside from it adding more credibility, this means zero to me.” In other words, she was acknowledging the wide range of squash skills someone can have, and that there is no limit. To this day, she is improving her abilities as a player and coach. That humility carries on into coaching style. For example, when coaching someone and their grip is “wrong,” she will never say “that’s wrong.” Instead, she will use “try holding it in way to open your strings up to get more power.”

It seems like a no brainer, but people will respect you more if they feel valued, heard, and not overshadowed by arrogance. Don’t let arrogant behavior be a deterrent for you to move forward.