What Playing Football Taught Me about Business

Here’s how my passion for playing football has helped me off the field.


 Trent Nate, business and football 

I grew up loving football. I played in high school and went on to play all four years in college. I loved it then and still do—so much that I coach my own team now. I didn’t know then that playing this sport would help prepare me for my career. But the lessons I learned from football turned out to be a natural springboard to my current day-to-day job. Here are five valuable things I learned:

1. Be willing to work hard

Football taught me the importance of discipline, hard work, and teamwork; it also taught me how to be mentally and physically prepared. Playing football requires paying attention to every detail, performing at a high level, and always staying above the competition. The lessons I learned on the field now help me in my professional career, because being successful at anything requires all these things.

2. Provide value

Every player on the field provides some sort of the value to rest of the team. In business, the key to success is knowing what your customers need. Without knowing that, we couldn’t possibly provide them with something they deem valuable. And if we can’t provide customers with a valuable solution, we won’t be a viable business.

At Select Health, we’re continually seeking customer input so we’re able to improve our products, tools, and solutions for customers. We want our customers’ experience to be as seamless as possible, so we use surveys, focus groups, and online forums to understand our customers’ journey. We also get feedback from our agents and partners, because they’re able to tell us what customers are seeking and what they value most. Health care is complicated, so it’s critical that we continually seek to understand what consumers want and need.

3. Stay ahead of the game

Any business must stay competitive to stay in the game. We’re continually working to provide valuable products to consumers. There are a few things that help differentiate us from others in the industry:

• Affordability – We offer competitively priced plans for individuals, families, and businesses.

• Access to care – Our members have access to more than 8,000 doctors and specialists and more than 50,000 pharmacies. We do not require referrals to seek care, and we have a Member Advocates team dedicated to helping members find a doctor and schedule an appointment.

• We’re local – We’re available where our members live—we have offices in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. This allows us to have local, responsive account management and to be more involved in the communities we serve.

• Customer service – This is such an important part of our business, and we pride ourselves on the superior service we provide. On average, you can reach a Member Services representative in 20 seconds or less. We try to solve every member issue in one phone call, and we’re able to do that 97% of the time.

Trent Nate, playing football, Utah State Aggies

Pictured: Trent Nate as a member of the Utah State Football team. 

4. Be able to adapt

A team must be able to adapt to constantly changing conditions—and this is always the case in business. Staying agile and innovative is critical in the realm of health care and in today’s continually evolving market. Because of this, we’ve invested in tools that help simplify the insurance process and lessen our members’ confusion:

• Medical Cost Estimator – provides accurate pricing for medical procedures

• Mobile App – allows members to pay their premium, find a doctor, see claims, and find plan information

• Connect Care – access to a provider 24/7 with the use of a smartphone, tablet, or computer

We also have a focus on wellness and prevention. In 2018, we introduced a gym reimbursement benefit and have since added a physical activity rewards program. Programs like these provide value to members who may not use insurance in a traditional manner, while reinforcing our commitment to our mission of Helping People Live the Healthiest Lives Possible.

We want our members to stay with us for the duration of their health insurance needs. That means we need to provide solutions for any stage of life. While the core elements of our plans are similar, our products are versatile enough to provide for an individual, family, or business. Certain parts of our business are always changing, but we’ll always provide the same quality, access, and stability to members on any of our plans.

5. Stay motivated

The passion I have for football and for the work I do gives me a strong sense of motivation. It’s that passion and drive that keeps me going. My personal motto is carpe diem—I choose to seize the day and every opportunity that comes my way.

Playing football instilled in me the desire to always be willing to improve (on and off the field), and it gave me the desire to always do better. I know there are times I won’t win, but if I’m willing to look at the bright side, remain coachable, and challenge myself, then every day will be an opportunity to be better than I was yesterday. The same is true in business. We can always find ways to improve and help our customers better than we have in the past. Success typically comes as a result of the details. And while fortunate circumstances can seem random, success most often favors those who have prepared for it.

Related: Here’s Why Getting to Know Your Prospective Employer and Employee Is a Critical First Step in the Hiring Process 

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