9 Lessons Entrepreneurs Should Learn From Athletes

This is a topic very close to my heart ever since I realised that my athletic performance and business success are closely related.

In the past people told me I need to choose hats, will I be an elite athlete or a successful entrepreneur?

I understand why they said this, but in the same time you cannot take half of someone’s heart and expect them to survive.

My answer to them was (in my mind): I will do both, I will be successful in both not matter how long it takes. It will be my life’s challenge.

Before I go any further, for those of you are not familiar with me, besides being the Founder of The Merisoiu Technique – Institute Of Health & Human Movement, I am also a Karate Shotokan international competitor, representing England. I have several National and World podiums and titles.

I have been on the Martial Arts path since 1995, and I have learnt a tremendous amount of lessons, many of which being through what some would call failures (and what I used to call them as well).

Now I am going to share with you 9 lessons I learnt as an athlete that now helps me as an entrepreneur, and I believe everyone who is or wants to become an entrepreneur should know about.

1.  Injuries Happen

They happen, and there is not much you can do about them after they happen. You can either recover, leave it behind, get over it and resume training or give up and go home.

An entrepreneur experiences “bumps in the road” like an athlete experiences injuries. The same situation applies, you can either get over it and keep going, or give up.

2.  Sometimes You Don’t Want To Get Up And Go

If you think we always feel like training, pushing our limits, and being in pain, you are in for a surprise. After years and years of training, particularly if you have experienced as many failures as I did over the year, you just want to give up.

As entrepreneurs, especially working from home, it’s easy to sleep in, hit the snooze button and just avoid work, especially when you messed it up the day before, or things don’t work as well as you expected.

3.  It Takes Time

Champions are not born, they are made over years and years of training. It takes time to develop the abilities, strategies and tactics to become a champion. We train for 10 years to compete for 2 minutes……and lose in the first minute. Yes, just like that. You work like crazy for years and then…..nothing. Now you can either give up or leave it behind and keep going.

As entrepreneurs we must understand that sometimes we work for long hours, not taking breaks or holidays and things are still not as we planned or wanted them to be. You have a choice; you either give up and get a job, or keep going and hustle.

But remember this, if you keep going something is bound to happen sooner or later.

Think about belt colours in Martial Arts. Entrepreneurs go through the same process, from white belt to black belt. It’s exactly the same. But you cannot jump from white belt to black, and sometimes along the road you might fail some when you go for grading. But that’s ok because you will try again in a few months and pass.

4.  Fuel Your Body

You knew I was going to get here. If you don’t eat properly your body and mind will not give their best in your training, or in your work.

Your mind needs to be alert, sharp and ready to make quick decisions, waking up early and going to bed late, be fresh in the morning and ready to take on new challenges, whether you are an athlete or entrepreneur. More so if you are both.

DO NOT take this element lightly. Eat high quality food, if you want success.

5.  Condition Your Body

A strong body also means a strong mind. The fitter and stronger you are the fitter and stronger your business will be. The reverse if also true.

6.  Athletes Commit…. For Years Not Months… For Life

I don’t understand entrepreneurs who are playing at having a business. Maybe I am not the top, the elite entrepreneur, but for me this is my life. There is no other option, none that would satisfy me.

As athletes when we decide we want to be successful we commit, body, mind and heart.

The people you see on the podium didn’t train for 6 months with a coach, or 1 year, lose 5-10 competitions, and say “This is not working, I’m giving up, this is not for me”. No, they keep going. They are fully committed, not just half while keeping other options open.

The path they chose is the path they follow.

7.  They Always Show Up No Matter What

The only reason I would skip my training would be if I was in the hospital or my coach told me to take a break. In my sport I experience injuries and even so I go training (unless my coach puts me off training as he recently did). But if coach doesn’t put me off training, I fight with one hand and hoping on one leg. It doesn’t matter. I SHOW UP, whether I’s 100% or not.

Entrepreneurs, especially working from home, can choose to not go to work, or post pone it. It’s so easy.

This is where a coach comes in. A coach will keep you accountable and they will also see you from the outside, and see the whole picture, something you cannot do yourself.

8.  They Have Coaches …For Years Not Months

You will never see a successful athlete without a coach. So why would you see a successful entrepreneur without a coach?

I’ve been coached since the age of 8. I am not looking to be good, I want to excel in everything I do. I want to make a difference and leave a legacy. For that I need to always grow, develop and move forwards.

What do you want to leave behind?

9.  Not Always 100%

It doesn’t matter whether you are 100% or 50, 20 or 10. Wherever you are, go there and give that 10%. That 10% is progress.

Stop using the “I’m not 100%” to procrastinate, skip your training routine, or leave the work you were supposed to do today for tomorrow. Just go there are give it your best.

I can write and talk on this topic for a long time. But I think I have made my point.

Look at athletes, listen to them and understand what it is needed to succeed.