Possibly the biggest story in Australian sport this year is about National Rugby League player, Jarryd Hayne, who has just been signed by the San Francisco 49ers to play professional football in the USA. Even if you are not a sports nut there are plenty of leadership lessons to learn from the man they call ‘The Hayne Plane’.
He dared to dream. Hayne has said that he has always dreamed of playing NFL. A kid who had a humble upbringing in the south west of Sydney, dreamed of playing professional sport on the other side of the world? Go figure.
He backed himself. Hayne is faster, stronger and more talented than most, but his greatest asset is his self belief. Many people were surprised at his decision to leave NRL and few thought he’d make it (me included). Hayne only needed one person to believe in him – Jarryd Hayne.
He took a risk. 49ers coach Jim Tomsula talks about the millions and millions of American kids who grow up playing the game, dreaming of making it, but never do. He is amazed that Hayne, who has never played the game, risked everything to make it into NFL.
He’s versatile. One of the reasons the 49ers have picked him up is that he can cover several positions and roles. That’s rare in NFL. He has worked hard at refining the skills needed for a range of positions and this increased his appeal to the 49ers.
He works hard. One of the things that impressed the 49ers was Hayne’s work ethic. Despite being an elite NRL player he had plenty to learn about the highly technical game of NFL and to be fit enough and strong enough to play it. He has been single minded about doing whatever he could to succeed.
I find the story inspiring and can’t help but wonder what it might be like if more of us took a leaf out of his book?