Have you ever met an athlete-turned-entrepreneur? Well, I did. Quite serendipitously, I managed to encounter a professional athlete who has made remarkable contribution to the sport of wrestling. After a few years of significant success in the arena of professional wrestling, he decided to quit wrestling and move ahead with his much awaited entrepreneurial project of building a startup.
Although our conversation was very brief, we managed to conclude a few vital things that are most commonly found in an athlete and can be very useful for an entrepreneur. Of course, you will come across plenty of blogs talking about attributes such as focus, hard work and determination. But, this article is different.
Read further to know what these interesting things are that a budding entrepreneur can learn from an athlete.
If you fail to remain flexible, bad consequences will be inevitable. Remaining flexible holds profound significance in the life of an entrepreneur and an athlete as they both remain susceptible to the outcome of their hard work.
Fancy being an entrepreneur? If yes, you need to understand that there will be many factors playing their own parts, and you will have very little or no control over them. Usually, in a scenario where we cannot control things, we are left with only two options: a) lose composure and become baffled, which guarantees failure, and b) remain flexible and adapt, which helps in overcoming obstacles in a quick manner.
The key is, remain calm and use the circumstances in your favor. Have a plan, have a backup plan, but ensure that you are prepared to face the unknown. Clearly, we don’t live in a utopian world, so make peace with it! As Daniel Kanheman, author of Thinking, fast and slow, puts it, “when in cognitive field, slow down, use your System 2 and then act”. In other words, slow down, zoom out and use your thinking brain to face a situation.
Keep Investing In Yourself
Don’t expect your startup to be an overnight success because it won’t. Irrefutably, the battlefield is tough and competition is fierce, which means you are going to have work hard on it before you actually begin to see the traction that you have been dreaming of. Of course, you don’t have to start a business by being pessimistic or under-confident. On the contrary, be positive and confident in your abilities. But a few times, you will question your abilities only because things aren’t going your way. Just like an athlete, there will be numerous things that will disappoint you; however, ensure that you work harder to achieve your objectives.
Make no mistake, but you need to keep investing in yourself in all stages of your startup. Don’t be a know-it-all businessman. Instead, try to be a better version of yourself. Don’t fail to look at opportunities that help you grow, and make the most of the platform to learn and grow.
Remember, investing in yourself doesn’t happen overnight. It takes perseverance, focus and committed efforts to get better, and thereby, help the business to get better.
Try the ‘Complimenting Your Competitors’ Tactic
This particular lesson is a bit offbeat, but according to professional athletes, it works! The wrestler I conversed with whom wishes to remain anonymous said, “Don’t ever insult your competitor. As a matter of fact, shower them with genuine compliments. Talk about their strengths and past achievements.” It’s pretty much like playing with human psychology. Anytime we hear an interview of a well known athlete, most likely they will be talking about how great their competitors are and how exceptionally talented their opponent team is. This particular tactic is hugely popular because it works.
With your startup, make sure you don’t defame your competitors for their bad products and services. There are many entrepreneurs out there who leave no opportunity to speak ill of their competitors. However, it is strongly recommended that you instead complement your competitors and discuss the competitive landscape arouse between you and your competitor than wasting time and energy behind criticizing your counterparts.
Strive For a Positive Media Image
Always, always, and always show the best side of your business to the world. Whether you are giving an interview to the local radio station or to the BBC, make sure that you treat every medium seriously and try to build a positive image of your startup. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the smaller channels, ensure that you value them as much as you value the bigger folks.
High-profile athletes leave no stones unturned in ensuring that they say the right things when the camera is on. An entrepreneur too should follow the same rule and make every media interaction as an important opportunity to make great impressions. Each and every interaction of your company will define how the customers will treat you. We live in a well connected world, letting information be available at the tip of the fingers, literally! One negative media interaction will see a snowball effect, and the whole world will come to know in minutes. Therefore, be wary and develop great interactions with media.
Take Care of Your Health (Physical and Mental)
Lastly, but most importantly, take very good care of your health. For athletes, there is nothing more pertinent than having a good health as even the smallest of a health issue can cost them their career. The same rules apply to an entrepreneur as well. An entrepreneur needs to take good care of his/her physical and mental health to prepare and withstand all sorts of challenges that a startup throws. Overall physical and mental well-being is of profound significance for an entrepreneur.
An athlete follows an unprecedented personal hygiene care routine to keep skin infections and other deformities at bay. They know and understand the vitality of hygiene tips that can benefit them in the long run. For instance, an athlete will always use the best bathing soap to shower before and after the match. In addition, they will never share personal hygiene items such as towels, soaps, razors, and so forth.
An entrepreneur too needs to follow a good personal care routine in order to keep health concerns at bay. Besides, go for a run, practice yoga or swim to keep work stress away! Remember, it is imperative to follow a good hygiene routine to have a good physical and mental state. Your health is in your hands, and so is your business!
It is believed (and, rightfully so) that entrepreneurs can learn numerous things from sports, especially from qualified athletes. Like we can see, there are many obvious similarities between an athlete and an entrepreneur. Clearly, the hustles demanded by a startup is a tad bit different, but on the flip side, there are plenty of things in common between an entrepreneur and an athlete.
Therefore, regardless of what your aspirations are, a small business owner or a successful entrepreneur, ensure that you don’t ignore these valuable lessons that athletes provide. As an entrepreneur, you will be expected to deal with people, press, and competitors, which undeniably isn’t an easy thing to do. In such situations, consider what a professional athlete would do, and unsurprisingly, you may soon produce effective results in your business.
Amanda Dawson is a fitness coach and health writer based in Boston, MA. Her passion is to encourage others to rediscover their lifestyle and get inspired for organic living.