I don’t know about you, but I’ve been incredibly inspired by the Olympics. I’ve heard quite a few people say that initially they weren’t that bothered, but now that they have actually started, everyone is feeling very enthusiastic and above all proud and inspired.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, there’s a lot we can learn from athletes, by looking at what makes them successful:
They do something they love
The really successful athletes do something they truly love. And because they love it, they are willing to put in the effort to make it a success. They are willing to put up with the hours of solitary training and the many sacrifices they have to make, because they know that in the end it will all be worth it. They can visualise themselves with that gold medal, long before they actually get one.
As business owners we need to know WHY we’re doing what we’re doing. Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve is absolutely crucial when you want to be successful.
They are committed to working hard
It’s been said that the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work and there’s a lot of truth in that. The athletes don’t get to the podium by just cruising along; they get there by working incredibly hard, day after day. I heard that Mo Farah runs 120 miles every single week and I’m sure that none of those runs are anywhere near as exciting as the one he ran on Saturday evening.
You as a business owner need to do all the boring things that you might not always feel like, in order to get to reap the rewards afterwards. So that means regular marketing, staying up to date with trends, doing your accounts and chasing people for money.You need to contact your customers, ask for testimonials and sometimes even make those dreaded cold calls to get more of them.
The secret to success without working very hard is unfortunately still a secret!
They are focused
I loved watching the 100m hurdle runner Sally Pearson from Australia. They showed her race in slow motion, and you could see the steely determination in her eyes. All through the race she focused 100% on the finish line, and nothing was going to distract her.
As business owners we can be very easily distracted. There are phone calls and emails that pop up, staff that need questions answered or truthfully, especially for those of us who are self-employed, it is very easy to get lost in the online world. You start off with some serious research and before you know it you’re watching cute kittens playing with a puppy in a cowboy outfit.
However, the super successful ones make sure that they are focused on one single thing. Whether that’s finishing a report or writing material for the website, or creating new products and building the business they want.
They get professional help
Every single athlete that has won a medal has thanked their team, including their coaches, physios and technicians. They are not doing this alone: they get professional help from people who may not be the very best at that sport, but who are the very best at helping them.
So, do you think that you’re better than an Olympic athlete and don’t need any help? Probably not. At the very least you’ll have an accountant (unless you are one) and you might also be lucky enough to have a mentor. You may also read business books and be inspired by the likes of Richard Branson and Warren Buffet.
Have you worked with a business coach before? Coaching comes from the world of sport and it can really help you grow your business much faster and more efficiently than if you did it on your own. Perhaps something to think about?
They have a positive mindset
You might think that athletic success is all down to physical abilities and lots of training, but athletes know that their mindset is just as important. I thought it was interesting when Vicky Pendleton said that the fact she’d been relegated twice in these games really messed with her mind, and that might have affected her last race, which unfortunately she lost.
Mindset therefore is an essential ingredient for success, and this is exactly the same for business owners.
In order to be successful in business you need to be positive and pro-active. You need to believe in yourself and the business you’re building, and you need to stay focused on that.
And finally they don’t give up
We all know that athletes do not win every match or race they play. Take Andy Murray for example. He’s won lots of games, but lost many crucial ones too. It would have been easy for him to give up after losing another important Wimbledon match, but he didn’t. He picked himself up and he kept on trying, and on Sunday he finally triumphed over arguably the greatest player in the world.
Running your own business and making a success of it is no bed of roses. There are many times when it may feel like the best option is to give up and go back into full-time employment or start playing the Lottery.
But success comes to those who don’t give up.
It comes to those who dust themselves off after they’ve lost a big contract or been faced with changed legislation which means they have to reinvent themselves again.
And it comes to those who are persistent in their actions, who keep going and who never give up.
Because they know that even though that’s still no guarantee that they will win a gold medal, giving up is sure as hell a guarantee that they won’t win one.
So I’d like to finish off with the words of the great Freddy Mercury:
I’ve paid my dues, time after time.
I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime.
And bad mistakes, I’ve made a few.
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through.
And we mean to go on and on and on and on.
We are the champions, my friends
and we’ll keep on fighting till the end.