Last Saturday, the small Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC won sufficient games in their season to advance into the English professional league for the first time in 15 years. Wrexham soccer club was purchased by American actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney back in 2021 and since then the club’s comeback story has had a Hollywood trajectory. Capturing the attention of soccer fans and champions of the underdog around the world, the team’s popularity has been growing with the help of its celebrity owners and the documentary Welcome to Wrexham.
What lessons can we take from Wrexham AFC?
1. Never give up and learn from your mistakes.
Fifteen years is a long time to be languishing in the lowest tier of British soccer but the third oldest professional association team in the world didn’t quit. As a result we all get to enjoy the Wrexham AFC comeback journey.
Sometimes you may feel it’s impossible to overcome your challenges but more often than not you can prevail. Don’t give up trying just change your approach. Think about and plan what your success will look like and what actions you need to take to make it happen. Ask yourself what mistakes you’ve made and how you can learn from them? Success requires grit. Find your grit and you’re on the path to achieving your career goals.
2. Find supporters
Wrexham AFC nearly folded a decade ago due to financial issues but was saved by supporter fundraising. Later the club received the significant financial boost of celebrity ownership and growing sponsorships.
Find people who are supportive of your goals. This may be a mentor who is further up the ladder in your career, a financial backer or a business partner. Achieving what we set out to in our career is much easier with support.
4. Work hard
Financial investment aside, the players at Wrexham soccer club still needed to work hard at what they do – playing soccer! Without working hard as a team and winning games, advancing to the professional league wouldn’t have been possible. Show up every day and do your best. Eventually you’ll be rewarded for this.
5. Don’t undervalue yourself (or anyone in your team)
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney recognised the value of their players and brought in significant bonuses for every game won. They also apparently hired many hard working people who had been volunteering for the club.
In your career it is very important to know your worth. While some businesses will recognise your value, more often than not, if you aren’t prepared to advocate for a pay rise then you won’t get one. Compare your salary to similar roles in your industry and make sure you’re not selling yourself short. If you’re a business owner it’s important to remember that salary is arguably the most important factor in retaining talent.
6. Celebrate your success
When you do achieve an important goal in your career and in life, it’s important to take the time to enjoy it. Take the infectious rejoicing of Rob, Ryan, Wrexham AFC soccer fans and team players after their promotion for example! A fun idea is to celebrate with a pre established reward such as booking a fancy restaurant or a holiday.