5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Olympic Athletes

Over the next several weeks, millions of televisions will be tuned to watch the most elite athletes in the world compete. While the competition is entertaining, there are poignant lessons every entrepreneur can learn from these high performing athletes and apply to our businesses.

  1. Olympic athletes practice for decades leading up to the big win. Entrepreneurs tend to want big wins in business seemingly overnight. We are obsessed with the rags to riches stories. What we fail to acknowledge or accept is the years and years of preparation it takes to reach the pinnacle of success. Just as athletes train everyday, entrepreneurs need to embrace the mentality of daily training in their craft in order to escalate their success. It’s important to stay focused on the journey and maintain consistency to help you move towards your destination.
  2. Rest and nourishment are crucial to your success. The hustle mentality in entrepreneurship will kill your business. The marathon mentality is something Olympic athletes understand that many entrepreneurs overlook. Approaching business with a hustle mentality results in inconsistencies and burnout because it’s not sustainable. The key to longevity is pacing. This means you’re not putting out maximum energy constantly, but rather finding your tempo and knowing when to slow down. Instead of negating the importance of rest and nourishment, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to see these things as crucial ingredients in the recipe of success.
  3. Rehearse your wins as much as you train and practice your craft. Michael Phelps is famous for sharing his secret of using visualization to help him become the most decorated athlete in the history of the Summer Games. In addition to swimming countless laps in the pool each day, his training didn’t end when he stepped out of the water. Phelps would commit time and energy each night to envisioning his world records and feeling himself standing in the top spot on the Olympic podium. Daily visualization is a powerful tool that can help entrepreneurs prepare for their success.
  4. Learn to roll with the punches. Flexibility is a key component of success whether in sports or entrepreneurship. Almost nothing goes as planned in life, sports or business. The athletes getting ready to compete this summer had to postpone their trials and elongate their training by a full year due to Covid. You can prepare for this in your business by always having multiple plans. Entrepreneur Mike Ganino recommends planning for the best case scenario, the worst case scenario and the most likely scenario. This approach will help you to see alternate solutions and options in the event you need to pivot your strategy.
  5. Success is impossible to achieve alone. Even for solo sports, Olympic athletes must work together to achieve their goals. While it may look like an individual sport, cyclists that are part of a team are more likely to take the podium. They have other people around them supporting their success, they are able to drift as needed without fear of falling back in the peleton and they know they cannot occupy every role necessary to cross the finish line on top. Entrepreneurs who attempt to do it all in their business without help, community or support are less likely to take their business to the top.

As you are watching the Olympics, watch for the athletes to display these lessons in their competition and their interviews. Which one will you pick to embrace and implement in your business immediately?

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