Kaylyn Kyle: “You don’t have to know everything about a job to be successful”

You don’t have to know everything about a job to be successful. This is a common message for young people, but I learned it during my career change. I didn’t know everything there is to know about being an analyst or sideline reporter when I first started out. My job was to make plays on […]

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You don’t have to know everything about a job to be successful. This is a common message for young people, but I learned it during my career change. I didn’t know everything there is to know about being an analyst or sideline reporter when I first started out. My job was to make plays on the field up until that point. But I didn’t let the learning curve keep me from being successful. I pushed myself through the new experiences and learned on the job. I attribute that willingness to learn on the fly as a major reason for my success today.


As a part of our series about the work ethic lessons we can learn from professional athletes, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kaylyn Kyle.

Kaylyn is an Olympic Champion and former Canadian National Women’s Soccer player as well as a mother, a reporter for beIN SPORTS and Inter Miami CF, a Right To Play ambassador, and owner of Kaylyn Kyle Soccer Academy. In the last few months, Kyle launched two new digital shows with beIN SPORTS, Checking in with Kaylyn Kyle and beIN SHAPE, as part of the network’s beONE initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And now that soccer leagues have returned to play, Kyle is back reporting on the world’s biggest sports leagues for beIN SPORTS, including LaLiga, hosting “Magisterial!” alongside Ray Hudson, “The Soccer XTRA,” and “The Express.”https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/54b21b03830f2f27aa6c0df3474b2372


Thank you so much for doing this with us Kaylyn! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. It’s a small city and I absolutely loved growing up there. I was a bit of a tomboy and spent most of my time outside with friends, or up at the lake with family. I had a ton of energy and was constantly looking for ways to be active.

I grew up in a very athletic family. My dad played professional hockey and my sister was highly competitive in soccer. Athletics were always something my parents were going to enroll me in. They thought it was a great was to build confidence, communication and coordination. And now as a parent myself, I agree.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete?

I played every sport possible when I was a kid and I was competitive in gymnastics, soccer and diving until I finally had to choose one to pursue. Ultimately, I decided to go with the one I loved the most: soccer.

A big part of why I chose to pursue soccer was because of my sister. She was incredibly talented and played university soccer in Canada. I always looked up to her and wanted to be just like her. We are best friends to this day!

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Every person in my family helped make my dream a reality, but my parents were a major source of encouragement. My father was essential. He’s the reason I made it to where I am today. He played at a high level of sport, so he knew what it was like and acted as my mentor guiding me through the crazy world of sports. He never once pushed me into anything I didn’t want to do. And of course, my mom kept it all together. She was my sounding board and the rock in our family. Even today, in my media career they continue to support and guide me.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you tell us the story of your transition from a professional athlete to a successful business person?

I retired from international competition in 2017 and shortly afterwards started as a broadcaster for TSN. I moved to Miami and joined the beIN SPORTS team a couple years later and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

It was a quick transition from player to media personality, but one that felt authentic because I could still be part of the game I’ve loved for so long. As a player, I spent hours and hours watching game tape and learning the ins and outs of the game. It’s great to put that knowledge to good use now that I’ve retired from the pitch.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects new you are working on now?

In my role for beIN SPORTS, I report on some of the world’s biggest matches. In June and July as European soccer leagues returned to play after pandemic closures lifted, games were condensed into a thrilling and packed schedule, which means games aired on beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS en Español, beIN CONNECT and the network’s recently launched free 24/7 English-language live sports, news, and highlights channel, beIN SPORTS XTRA, nearly every day for weeks. It definitely kept me on my toes. It was such a unique season for so many reasons and we worked to cover every game for sports fans who have been craving live sports for months. And, I have much to look forward to. The next season is just around the corner starting with Ligue 1 on August 22 and followed by LaLiga on September 12, so I’m working on following the leagues as they make big decisions about players and the future of their clubs. It’s been great because every day brings a new set of challenges.

Do you think your experience as a professional athlete gave you skills that make you a better entrepreneur? Can you give a story or example about what you mean?

Absolutely. For years as a professional athlete I’ve had to manage my time between practice, weight training, game prep, interviews, traveling and so much more. Now I thrive on a busy schedule. It keeps me honest and homed in on my goals as I continue to build up myself and my brand.

Ok. Here is the main question of our interview. Entrepreneurs and professional athletes share a common “hustle culture”. Can you share your “5 Work Ethic Lessons That Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Athletes”? Please share a story or an example for each.

Lesson one: Don’t let circumstances derail you.

Over the last few months, I worked with beIN SPORTS to launch two new digital shows: “Checking In With Kaylyn Kyle” and “beIN SHAPE.” Both were part of the organization’s response to live sports being postponed and the stay at home orders issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People throughout the world were home looking for ways to stay healthy and connected with their favorite soccer stars. I went to beIN SPORTS and pitched “Checking In with Kaylyn Kyle” as a way of building community during an uncertain time. And it took off. We checked in with superstars like my friends Christine Sinclair and Borja Iglesias while they were quarantined about how things have changed for them and how they’re staying at the top of their game while the seasons were postponed. This is just one way of taking what life hands you and making the most of it.

Lesson two: Willingness to learn is one of your most important assets.

You don’t have to know everything about a job to be successful. This is a common message for young people, but I learned it during my career change. I didn’t know everything there is to know about being an analyst or sideline reporter when I first started out. My job was to make plays on the field up until that point. But I didn’t let the learning curve keep me from being successful. I pushed myself through the new experiences and learned on the job. I attribute that willingness to learn on the fly as a major reason for my success today.

Lesson three: Don’t be out hustled.

It’s something athletes hear all the time on the field, but it resonates in the business world. No matter what stage of life you’re in, there’s always new, better, more talented people out there looking to capitalize. I took that to heart and made a conscious choice to actively fight for the ball, for the job, and for new opportunities to grow in my career.

Lesson four: Don’t leave anything on the table.

There’s nothing worse than leaving a game feeling like you could have done more. That’s something I’ve taken with me in my new role. I throw my whole self into new projects because I know they’re meant to succeed and I don’t want to regret not putting in the work later.

Lesson five: Be present.

It’s easy to be caught going through the motions. Maybe it’s a monotonous call or a dull part of the game that causes the mind to wander, but I learned really quick that being found flat footed wouldn’t serve me. That’s why I consistently check in with myself to make sure I’m present and that I’m tuned in. It’s also a great way to remind myself of where I am now and that I’m on track toward my future goals.

What would you advise to a young person who aspires to follow your footsteps and emulate your career? What advice would you give?

Get the work in every day. Dreams don’t always wait for you to pay attention. Do something every day to move one step, or even an inch, closer to making that dream a reality. For me, that was getting out on the field every day to make sure my touch was right. Something so simple can have a huge impact on the future of your career.

You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m using my platform to shine a greater light on the excellence of women’s sports. Recently, I spoke out about the impact of women’s soccer around the world on a beINSPIRED segment celebrating International Women’s Day on beIN SPORTS. I aim to continue to spread that positive message through as many mediums as I can throughout my career.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am an advocate for women in sport, but really feel passionate about lifting up women in business too. Now that I’ve shifted from the soccer field to the business world, my eyes have been opened to the challenges businesswomen face on a daily basis. I want to correct the misperceptions that women cannot be successful in male dominated industries or as working moms. We can juggle kids, work and a relationship. I’m living proof.

I’m so glad I have been given the chance at beIN SPORTS to address these issues. In fact, Hope Solo and I made history earlier this year on beIN SPORTS by becoming one of the first, if not the first, team of analysts with two women to cover a men’s top-flight professional game. I also was one of the few women who traveled to Madrid to be an analyst for one of the biggest spectacles in the world, El Clásico. I would love to inspire a movement to continue to break down these barriers for women in the sports media industry.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

I live by the phrase, “you get what you work for, not what you wish for.” I’m a big believer in dreams, visions boards and making dreams a reality, but those aspirations have to be followed by hard work and dedication. Remember, good things are never easy to achieve, but when you achieve them it just feels that much better.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Serena Williams — mother, business guru, athletic legend — she represents the American woman. She’s broken down every barrier there is and she stands up for what is right in a sophisticated way. I would absolutely love to meet her.

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