1. Lead by example. Beckham’s dedication to training is almost as legendary as his right foot. Such hard work has earned Beckham the captaincies of Manchester United and England, and the respect and loyalty of his teammates.
2. Have a succession plan. Aware that his best playing years were coming to a close, in 2003 Beckham hired 19 Entertainment, a show-biz agency run by American Idol creator Simon Fuller, to help secure his future. It was Fuller, rather than a traditional sports agent, who landed Beckham’s US$250-million deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
3. Never say never. Upon signing with L.A. while still a member of Real Madrid, Beckham was told he’d never play for the team again and was banned from the training ground. So, Beckham hired trainers and practiced on his own until injuries to teammates forced the coach to put him back in the lineup. Real went on to win the league.
4. Resiliency is everything. Setbacks lie between every business and success. Beckham’s many comebacks have included his Real Madrid rebound, his recent return to his national team and overcoming the fan backlash spurred by his ejection from a 1998 World Cup playoff match that England went on to lose.
5. Stick to your knitting. Beckham makes his money by doing what he does well — playing soccer and pitching products — so don’t expect to see him at the movieplex soon. Despite his move to Hollywood and the numerous roles he has been offered, Beckham says he’s too “stiff” to be a successful actor.