The Olympics are in full swing, and people worldwide are watching in awe. The Olympics demonstrate expertise, athleticism, and mastery – no matter what sport you’re rooting for. If you’re an entrepreneur, there are many things you can learn from the Olympics.
This blog will break down a few of the top lessons business owners can take from the Olympics and how to apply them to your business.
Article by: Suzanne Robb, Alloy COO
10 Business Lessons Entrepreneurs Should Take From the Olympics
Whether you’re just starting your first company or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, these lessons will help you grow and scale your business and secure your legacy:
1. Give It Your Best Every Day
Olympic athletes leave it all on the mat, the field, or the hill. Every effort is their best, and they never stop learning and striving to do better. Entrepreneurs need to harness the same mindset.
Starting and growing a business can be difficult, and many setbacks will face you. When you put your best foot forward each day, you’ll be able to navigate these setbacks more gracefully and push your company further, faster.
2. Do What You love
Olympic athletes excel at what they do because they love it, and the people who make it to the top tier of athletics do so because they’ve found their niche. The same can be true for business owners.
The most successful companies out there are the ones that their founders genuinely love. Passion underlies performance, and it’s easiest to reach your goals if you honestly love what you’re doing. With that in mind, find a niche that you truly care about and focus your entrepreneurial efforts there.
3. Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Olympic athletes know what it means to build and work with a winning team. Even athletes who compete in solo sports have trainers, physical therapists, nutritionists, and other support people backing them. The athletes who play on teams know they wouldn’t be there without their team members’ support, skill, and insight.
If you want to go fast, go alone, and if you want to go far, you need to go together. As you build your team, look for people who see your vision, support your goals, and won’t quit on you when things get complicated. The stronger your team, the better your business.
4. Success Isn’t Guaranteed – Failure WILL Happen
Each Olympic athlete participating in the games knows what it feels like to fail.
Take Mikaela Shiffrin, who took a devastating fall early on the giant slalom course. Despite the fall, Mikaela got back up. She competed in other alpine skiing events during the Olympic games, saying only, “I’m sorry that was the performance I did today.”
Mikaela went on to say, “I mean, right now, nothing is guaranteed. And that’s the No. 1 lesson that I think many people learn at the Olympic Games — that there is no guarantee for anything. Not for performance or results,” she said. “But I think every day that I get on this track and I’m able to take a run, and just do a solid run top to bottom, it gives me the chance to be a little bit more calm in my mind. I tend to think way too much and that makes it hard to ski freely.”
Like Olympians, entrepreneurs will fail and success is not guaranteed. There will be setbacks, and there will be difficulties. When they strike, the most successful athletes and entrepreneurs know what to do: get back up, learn from the mistake, and keep going.
5. Exercise Kindness And Compassion
When Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s team gymnastic finals because of mental health concerns, she received a tremendous amount of backlash. However, what stands out more is the compassion and kindness the Olympic medalist also received.
Situations like these show that choosing compassion is always the best choice. Even if things don’t go the way we want them to, being compassionate will help pave the way for positive change and provide the fuel to reach our goals.
Again this is demonstrated with Mikaela Shiffrin and her ability to get back out on the slopes to continue competing. In an interview that went viral following her super-G race, she discussed the outpouring of support she had received.
“I would never have expected to feel in this moment – severely underperforming in an Olympics – I would never have felt that humans could be so kind,” she said. “I never would’ve expected that the most surprising thing of my Olympic experience is how kind people have been in the face of my failure. I mean, it is failure. It’s OK to say that. I am OK with that and I’m sorry for it, but I also was trying and I’m proud of that.”
6. Focus On The Long Goal
There are tons of tiny, daily setbacks – in athletics and business. When these things hit, it’s important not to get too tied up in the frustration.
Instead, focus on the long goals and the big picture of where you want to be. Keeping your eye on the prize helps you stay focused, stay committed, and go for gold.
7. Be Flexible And Adaptable
When things don’t work out your way, you need to be flexible enough to have a backup plan. Flexibility is critical to success, and many times it’s exactly what will separate successful athletes or business owners from those who quit the game. What doesn’t bend breaks. Sometimes changing course is the wisest option.
8. You Get To Define Victory
Your goals and your definition of success are personal to you. Temptation won’t help your business. Instead, it will rob you of joy and make you feel the pressure of “keeping up with the Joneses”. Instead, define what victory means for you, and keep that vision in mind.
You’re the one who knows what’s important to you, and you’re the one who gets to determine when you’re making progress, what success means, and what your focus should be. When you get a win, take time to celebrate. In business as in life, you’ve got to run your own race.
9. Remember To Celebrate
Life is too short not to enjoy what you do and have fun, even if you’re hustling for your goals. Relax and enjoy the journey amid all the hard work. Remember to celebrate the small successes, as well as the big victories, because each small step gets you closer to your goals.
10. Gratitude Is The Key To Success
Every day, take some time to be grateful for how far you’ve come and get excited about where you are going.. Studies show that a daily gratitude practice increases your goal achievement and improves decision-making. Jennifer Cohen states “gratitude is the key factor in achieving ultimate success and happiness “
“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins
Consider keeping a gratitude journal or finding another way to bring more gratitude into your everyday life.
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Article by: Suzanne Robb, Alloy COO
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