3 Things You Can Learn From Sports That You Can Use to Grow Your Business

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I once heard of a bull rider in a bull riding documentary who turned into a multi-millionaire businessman. As you may know, bull riding is the most dangerous American sport.

Every bull rider faces the danger of getting stomped by a bull every time he’s in the arena. However, the attitude and the philosophy a person learns when riding a bull is phenomenal. Nothing is tougher to look at than the face of a bull. So, when he started his business, he was fearless.

The mental strength, discipline and consistency in training can be well applied into the business world. But it’s not just bull riding that has a big impact towards your attitude in business, sports in general have the same impact.

Tony Hawk, a retired X Games competitor now owns a skateboard company and a wildly popular video game franchise. Meanwhile, the two-time World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic gold medalist George Foreman is now known for his George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine. The list is endless.

Athletes like Magic Johnson , Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Arnold Palmer are some of the many athletes who became successful businessmen. These people learned that a lot of the traits that they’ve learned throughout their athletic career have been useful in creating valuable and profitable businesses. 

Here are three ways sports can impact the way you run your business...

  1. Sports condition you to be mentally tough

Each year, thousands of hopeful entrepreneurs start new businesses. However, statistics of all small businesses states that starting the year 2014, only 80 percent made it to the second year, 70% made it to the third year, 62 % made it to the fourth year, and only 56% made it to the fifth year.

With these statistics in mind, it proves how running a business can be a wonderful challenge to entrepreneurs. Because of this, mental toughness proves necessary when diving into the world of business. You can't just try business for 3 to 12 months and give up on your first failure.

In fact, failure is a must to win in this field. Because this is a field of constant innovation, you will fail. But, you can't stop because you failed.

Steve Jobs was fired from the company he helped found, but he stood back up and bought Pixar. Even Thomas Edison was told he was too stupid to learn anything. Now he's considered one of the most prolific inventors with more than 1000 U.S. patents. But they had strived despite the challenge, and improved their mental strength.

In the world of sports, we’ve witnessed exceptional performances in the Olympics and other sports events. The athletes exude great confidence, ability to be focused and the ability to strive despite pressure and adversity.

But behind all these are years of difficult training.

Training after training and game after game, these athletes learn how to deal with negative thoughts of “not being good enough”. These athletes learned how to focus on moving forward instead of lingering towards extreme positive or extreme negative outcomes like winning the Olympics or being in last place.  And through sports, these athletes learned to develop their ability to control your emotions rather than have these emotions disable them.

It's true that mental toughness is a necessary skill in business. However, it isn't a skill that we are born with. Good thing is that we can practice being mentally tough through a number of activities, including sports. 

  1. Sports teach you to have clarity in your business’ vision.
In sports, you have clarity on what winning looks like. Example, in bull riding, there is clarity in the goal of the sport -- stay on the bull for eight seconds. In basketball, the one who scores the most hoops wins. In baseball, cricket and softball, the team who scores the most runs succeeds. In football, the team that scores the most goals in a match wins.  To apply this in your business, the whole company must be one with your company’s vision. 

However, observing companies today, Most typical employees don’t have an idea what succeeding is. They don’t have a metric to see if they’re still helping the company achieve its goals and missions.

Employees then just do the bare minimum. They do what they’re told and don’t develop any sort of initiative because they don’t know what to perform initiative for. Because of this, the growth of the company suffers.

Hence, have clarity on what winning means to your company.

If you’re an outsourcing company, winning means having the greatest customer satisfaction. If you’re a marketing team, winning means getting your clients’ brand known, and getting them more qualified leads and sales.

Whatever your company is, with that clarity, you’ll be able to strategize, plan and execute the same way a football team trains to win the next FIFA cup. You and your team will know exactly the type of performance required to see visible growth in your business.

  1. Sports teach you leadership and team empowerment.

In sports, it’s the player who matters most. They’re the ones who shoot the hoops and score the goals. Although the coach is also important, the score of the match is determined by how the players play the game.

And in this context, teamwork matters.

For example, in basketball, it’s more challenging to try and shoot the ball nine meters from the hoop and risk failure than passing it to your nearest teammate. Your teammate is there to work cooperatively with you and  fulfill the same goal.

And the same goes with business. As your business grows, you can’t do everything on your own. Neither should you micromanage.

What you should do instead is act as the coach or the captain of the team and guide your company towards the vision of your company. Give your employees motivation and give them reassurance that success will come.

Realize the importance of their contributions and actively empower them. Give them recognition and appreciation through praises and incentives. Remember to always communicate and give feedback effectively.

Lastly, as the leader of the company, make sure that you match the right person with the right role. In the game of basketball, you often put the tallest and strongest player positioned under the basket to fight for rebounds and block the opponent from shooting.  Meanwhile, the shooting guard is potentially the shortest player on the team and is the best outside shooter.

The same principle applies to business. Promote the person with the best leadership skills to a team leader position. Put the person with the best people skills in the customer service position, so on and so forth.

I once heard of a person with OCD who loves his job in the janitorial position. He likes cleaning and ensuring the offices are spot clean. The point is, as a good leader, match your employees with roles that make them shine the most.

Final Words

Business and Sports do differ in a number of ways. Sports differ with running a business because being a competition, there is only one team/athlete that wins and all the rest of the competitors lose. In business, it’s not like that. Business opens doors for collaboration. Companies empower and complement each other to offer great products and services to the world.

Even so, you can’t deny that engaging in sports will help you develop mental toughness, work ethics, teamwork and leadership.

Imagine a life for yourself where you could rent a condoin a tropical country. You can get an SEO company or hire an SEO expert to help you with your travel blogs as you roam across the globe.

Your business is doing so well, just because aside from having all the technical side of business, you have engraved within you the attitude and work ethic of an athlete.