YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT IN A CULTURE OF SUCCESS SUCH AS CAROLINA, MY DEFINITION OF SUCCESS ACTUALLY CHANGED OVER THE COURSE OF MY FOUR YEARS.
By: DARCY MCFARLANE/ Illustration by: JASON MCCORKLE
It wasn’t that I realized winning isn’t everything, because as Mia Hamm put best: “The person who said winning isn’t everything, never won anything.”
I found in Carolina a place where my competitive fire was stoked and valued more than ever before; however, I realized that the small wins in each day, and the process of striving for those wins with a group that I truly cared about, was more important than the end result.
The women’s soccer program at Carolina is an environment that nurtures this process in a way that impacted my life far beyond the field. Our program may have the reputation for churning out Olympians, but this environment also prepares us better than most for endeavors outside of athletics. I’m no Olympian, but I was fortunate enough to pursue a childhood dream of playing professional soccer in Sweden and Scotland after graduating early in December 2016. It was an amazing experience and culmination of my soccer career that has undoubtedly shaped my worldview. Now, at the ripe age of 23, I have officially hung up my cleats to work for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.
I always knew the impact of Carolina soccer would be a part of me for the rest of my life, but what I didn’t realize is how much the culture Anson has built would pervade the work culture that I am a part of now. Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella has implemented a culture shift centered around psychologist and author Carol Dweck’s concept of the “growth mindset.” This is a page taken right out of Anson’s book, and the perfect way to describe what his program is all about. The “Competitive Cauldron” is Anson’s system of driving improvement by measuring, recording and ranking every possible drill in training. It may sound intense, which it certainly is, but there is no better way to tangibly track growth. Anson calls this goal of constant improvement the “neverending ascension,” while Dweck calls it the “growth mindset,” but they are essentially the same thing and applicable to any effort of achievement.
In addition to the growth mindset, in reading Satya’s new book, I was delighted to come across many other quotes and philosophies that I first heard from Anson Dorrance and the Carolina women’s soccer core values. One specifically that stood out to me is John Donne’s quote that pairs with the core value for “caring.” It reads, “no man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...”
At UNC and at a tech company in a rapidly growing industry, both uber-competitive environments, we can’t forget to work together and care about each other. Successful teams aren’t just successful because they are the most talented, they are successful because a group of individuals has collectively decided that the team is greater than its individual parts. Successful teams have cultures built on caring and the notion that your teammates are inherently valuable, not only for their talents but because they are
human. If you care about each other, then you have the ability to constantly push yourself and each other to get better, working towards a common goal – and you also have a lot more fun doing it.
The UNC women’s soccer program encouraged me to embrace the daily challenge of living a growth mindset, while also instilling the importance of caring about each other along the journey, lessons applicable no matter where life takes me.This story appeared in the APRIL 2018 edition of Born & Bred
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