Juggling the daily struggles of running a business, or managing your own work time effectively, cannot be underestimated. It’s tough.  

To be a successful self-employed person, sub-contractor or director of a company, you need specific personality characteristics. As the proud sponsor of former British Lions and Wales Captain Sam Warburton’s testimonial year, Indigo Group looks at his sporting strengths to help you replicate them for the benefit of your business.

  • Great communicator 

If there’s one thing Sam knows about, it’s how to get his point across. Whether on the field of play or in his official capacity as captain at a press conference, he always communicates clearly and simply. 

Anyone who speaks to him is met with respect and interest. He is a genuine man, whose knowledge of the game of rugby is second to none – but he doesn’t patronise those who don’t know as much about it as he does. 

From sub-contractor to business director, communication is essential for good working practice. Working as part of a team is all about communication, sharing with people what you expect and what is expected of them. 

An essential part of great communication is also praising those who have done a good job, or who are contributing to your achievements. Sam always praised others before him, and it earned him lots of respect both for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.  

  • Passion

We realise it’s easier to have passion for sport than it is for a job or business, but ultimately, it’s your career which allows you to enjoy the good times – there has to be some passion for it. 

Sam Warburton once said:  

For me success is simple, it’s about being the best.”

Being the best at what you do, no matter what it is, will always stand you in good stead as you are only as good as your last job.  

Having passion for a project, or passion for getting praise for a job well done, cannot be sniffed at. You will always be remembered by a contractor or by an architect for producing the best work if you have passion for every project you participate in – as hard as that is on a cold February morning.

  • Commitment 

Putting your mind and body on the line week in week out, whether it’s when you’re training while your mates are out at the pub or when you’re on that pitch on a Saturday afternoon, no one can deny the commitment of any professional sportsperson. 

To get to the pinnacle of his sport, Sam Warburton is fully committed. In fact, anything he undertakes including the work he does for charity is done with great commitment. 

You need commitment for a successful career as a sub-contractor or a contractor running big construction projects. You need to have the self-discipline to turn up to jobs, and the commitment to do that job to the best of your ability. You have to finish jobs on time and to a good standard or risk not being taken on again, let alone given a whole construction project to finish off your own back. 

Construction is also a very physical occupation. Working in all weathers, carrying and grafting to get a job done all takes commitment to look after yourself and your body, which is, after all, your bread and butter.

  • Leadership 

Being the boss isn’t always fun, whether that’s as a contractor or a sub-contractor.  You are in charge of your own work and your own destiny. 

Sam Warburton is considered one of the greatest leaders in his sport. His way of captaining both Wales and the Lions teams was to be himself, not to change his character and to find teammates who could be his deputies. He said:  

“I wouldn’t advise anyone to try to lead on their own; you need a good team around you.”

Your work and your character will give you success in the self-employed world. People remember you for your high standard of work and your can-do, will-do, attitude. Working with many different people on different projects also means you have to be adaptable.  

Leadership is sometimes not only heading up a team but being a key member of a team – being a dependable deputy who can step up at times of need. Again, a key trait of Mr Warburton.

  • Mental strength

It’s an obvious one, but having the mental strength to lead a team of burly international rugby players, especially those from different nations who are usually rivals, takes a special kind of mentality. One which Sam Warburton has in spades. But it isn’t something that came naturally to him, he has had to learn how to deal with the tough times just like anyone else.  

Sam talks about working on his mental toolbox – that is, having lots of coping strategies and mechanisms to get him through the tough times, as well as the good times. 

The nature of a construction worker means that sometimes you’re flat out, other times you are quiet, and learning to manage your time and what that does to you mentally is essential. Some people struggle with the downtimes, as they feel it is a reflection of their work. But using your own mental toolbox to emotionally manage those ups and downs is key to ensuring you enjoy both the busy and quiet times. 

This summer, Sam Warburton hung up his boots for good. He achieved 74 caps for Wales, lead his country 49 times, and got five caps for the British and Irish Lions, as well as captaining them to the historic test draw in June 2017.  

Indigo is proud to sponsor of Sam’s testimonial year, a year which has seen a great sporting career come to an abrupt end, but a year where we also get to see what happens next for this talented and genuine man. 

Being handed the captainship of your country’s national sports team at the age of 22 was no mean feat, but one which he met with confidence and gusto. He has learned a lot on the way, and we hope we’ve given you a few pointers and characteristics of Sam’s to think about and take on board as you look to build your own successful self-employed careers. If you’d like to talk to us about how Indigo can help you, please get in touch.



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