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Imagine that your favorite soccer team is leading 1-0. But then, all of a sudden, the team starts to run backward and defend. There is nothing more frustrating. 

And we all know what will happen next. The sequel is already known in advance: our team will defend and defend until we will concede the goal we deserved to concede.

In hindsight, when we understand the mistake of getting backward while leading, our team will start fighting back. But unfortunately, it will be too late. The rival team’s morale will be sky-high. And before you know it, it’s 2–1. We lost.

Then, Imagine the following game. It’s an away game. You can’t believe it, but your team has just conceded a goal at the 4’ minute of the game. 

This is a critical moment in the game to see how both teams react. We are one-nil down, the rival team has gone backward to defend. The final result? 4–1 win for our side.

Why can’t we always play like we are one-nil down?

Why am I telling you this? 

There is a chance you don’t even watch football at all, even though the game’s strategy and tactics are relevant to the lives of us all. It’s pretty impressive how much we can learn from a game’s strategy.

First lesson: 

In a matter of life decisions, you must act and think like you have just conceded a crucial goal. Always. You can’t rest for a moment because the rival team will snatch the ball otherwise. Next thing you find yourself up to them.

You are one-nil up

Let’s imagine situation A. You have the dream job. You are in your thirties and your life and future have never looked as bright and promising as now. You are one-nil up. You are one of the best workers in your company, you have great chemistry with your team and everything is just very very fine. 

In fact, you are in that spotlight. But the spotlight actually makes you pretty blind. While you were busy with your victories, you didn’t see what others around you were doing. You stopped learning because after all, you’re in a great place right now, you don’t need anything else. You are an expert, nothing can happen. Actually, it is not just that while you were daydreaming, you conceded 3 goals to your own net, even worse, you didn’t see that you were getting out of the competition.

You are one-nil down

Now, let’s imagine situation B. You are at a disadvantage: you are a junior who has just been accepted to your first job in the industry. You are about to do anything in order to prove your skills and abilities. You are determined and ambitious to prove who you are and what you can bring to the place you serve. Nobody expects you to do anything special at the moment because you are the underdog, and psychologically, you can lift it up for your needs. You are one-nil down, but you are about to shuffle the deck. You are self-learning and doing the extra to score your goals. You are about to win.

Finding the right mindset

When your football team switches and starts playing as if they are 1–0 down every second in the game, they will probably win, a big win. Of course, it is not as easy. You must have a well-trained team, with great chemistry, and probably good footballers. But without the right mindset, the players will struggle.

When you switch to the same mindset and start acting like you’re 1–0 down, the results of everything you do will change.

First, never stop learning. Continuous learning is a concept that begins to get widespread recognition. Continuous learning is about constant learning while expanding your set of skills and abilities. It is about recognizing the changes in the environment surrounding you and learning how to fit yourself. If you do not continuously learn, you will simply be left behind. Yes, in some professions you can stay with your current knowledge and succeed well, but you will have to ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I bringing something new to the place I serve? 
  • If I will lose my job, do I have any advantage over my competitors? 
  • Do I have something special to offer? 
  • Can I bring something different and make an impact? 
  • Has my knowledge advanced since I started my job?

I guess that if you are not continuously learning, you will hardly have a positive answer to the questions I asked above. It is important to understand  — knowledge equals power. The more you will learn (either by yourself or via an organized structure), the more power you will have. And no, it’s not a cliche.

Second, initiate the next move. You can’t allow yourself to settle down and wait for the opponent to take any action. Make the next move yourself. Invent ideas that can bring value to your workplace. Design your own strategy of progress, which surely includes continuous learning. When a football team waits for the opponent to take action, they are simply inviting them to attack. Attacks translate to goals. Never do that.

When you dare to attack, you may endanger your defense. So remember to make considerable decisions. At the same time, remember that you may concede goals during the game. That’s ok because you are attacking, and as we said, attacks translate to goals, and most important — the one who scores the most wins. The moment your team concedes a goal, that is the exact moment when you are testing your culture — if you react quickly and attack without letting the morale go down, you will make a comeback, and you will win.

Become a winner in DevOps

In the DevOps field, it is very important to understand your responsibilities within your role in the company. When you are a DevOps engineer, and this is not a recommendation — you must always play like you are one-nil down. That’s because of your main role in the company — you are responsible for taking the company forward. You are responsible for bringing new technologies and ideas and implementing the available tools and technologies. Your goal is to be ahead of your rivals, that’s for sure. You are not just another athlete on your team; you are the captain. You have to make your team act, work, and adopt the right mindset, always. You have to make sure that your team is actually working as one unit for one specific target — scoring goals and a lot.

If you do not look forward, even in your free time, searching for new tools and technologies to implement, you will simply keep your company behind its rivals. You will lose.

Be the winner you can be

Play like you’re one-nil down, always. Especially if you are a DevOps expert, but this attitude should be adopted by everyone who wants to bring their career to the next level. My advice is to embrace this attitude according to your perspective and find your soccer field. I mentioned here a few examples, but this is all yours now. Remember — never stop learning, initiate the next move and, prepare to concede goals to your own net, be ready to react quickly. Be the winner you can be. Even in DevOps.