Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Professional Athletes

Posted on April 07, 2020


Professional athletes and entrepreneurs have more in common than they think. The most important commonality between the two is one that is self-evident; their unbridled ambition to be the best. Professional athletes push themselves to the very extremes of their physical and mental capabilities in order to be the best, and compete on a larger scale. The entrepreneurial drive to attain goals is not dissimilar to that of most elite athletes. A careful analysis of the habits and practices of professional athletes can provide valuable insights into how to achieve success, whether on the playing field or in the boardroom, on the training circuit or inconference and meeting rooms. Let’s take a look at some of these lessons, and how they aid you in attaining your goals and desires.

Setting Realistic Goals

There is no success without patience and hard work. When starting out as an entrepreneur, the temptation is to dream big, think large, and aim high. While there’s nothing wrong with having dreams and big aspirations, working towards a vague goal or perceived state of being is setting yourself up for failure. A professional runner doesn’t train exclusively for marathons, but rather sets smaller, more achievable limits on their daily accomplishments. In order to get to gold, you must acclimatise your being to the long hours of running before you move on to feats of greatness and glory.

Managing Stress and Performing Under Pressure

Any professional athlete will tell you that there’s a reason diamonds are formed under pressure. When you compete professionally at a sport, every moment counts. You have to learn how to drown out the roar of the crowd, and the nagging thoughts of failure, in order to perform to the best of your abilities. The entrepreneurial world is not unlike that of professional sportsmen- both worlds are rife with expectations, chaos and a fear of the unknown. To survive in a world where the stakes are this high, entrepreneurs must learn to keep a level head, and drown out those negative emotions and external pressures that may weigh them down.

Learning from Mistakes and Managing Failure

The most important lesson to glean from the mindset of professional athletes is that all of us face losses and disappointments from time to time- and that’s okay! No athlete that competes professionally ever got that way from giving up. To succeed in the competitive atmosphere of the business world, entrepreneurs must remember that not every project will succeed, and when that happens, it’s important to take a look back and analyse why in order to improve, but it is ever so much more important to lick your wounds and get back on track.

Adopt a training ritual and stick with it. Dedication to your task and a well-managed office space are often all the tools you need in your arsenal. For entrepreneurs, as it is for athletes, dedication and determination can get you a long way, so the next time you feel like you can no longer go on, think of yourself as a competitor at the starting line, remember the thrill of competing and winning and then ask yourself if you are truly ready to hang up your running shoes.


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