Lessons In Sports That Help In Business

As a former collegiate basketball player and amateur triathlete, much of what I learned in athletics has had a direct impact on how I conduct business. While you don’t have to compete in sports to attain the drive and energy to succeed in life, there’s a lot that can be said about the correlation between sports and business.

Here are 5 key lessons I use both on the court and in the boardroom.

  1. Practice — Whatever you do in life, you can’t practice enough. Hours of practice enable you to become nearly automatic. You want to be able to be so good it’s nearly instinct. Practice also helps you become more organized and focused. Remember if you aren’t practicing, your competitor is and they are working to beat you.
    2. Endurance — I’ve competed in several half-ironman races, marathons and open ocean swims. By no means am I the fastest but all of these required endurance. The ability to keep pushing long after the initial “fun” part is over. Having endurance in business is vital because success is not overnight and it’s often a long, long way away. The key is being able to preserve and keep pushing forward through each obstacle. 
    3. Build Your Confidence — I practically grew up in a gym. My dad was the varsity basketball coach and instilled in me a strong work ethic. One of the most important things to me was to never quit on miss. Always make your last shot before you call it a day. Why? You always want to finish your day on a positive note. Every positive experience embeds the “success mindset” and over time builds upon itself. 
    4. Competitiveness — In sports as well as business you have to possess a competitive drive. It’s a feeling inside that you want to do your best and be your best. Of course, you aren’t going to win every time, but if you have something to shoot for, it serves as inspiration. Win or lose, if you get out there and try hard, that in itself will go a long way into setting yourself up for success. Competition is good as it raises the bar and forces everyone to step up his or her game. Don’t be afraid to get inspired and compete to the best of your ability.
    5. Teamwork — One of the most important things that you can learn in athletics that translates to work is the value of teamwork. Sure, individuals can carry a team and win some big recognition but unless everyone chips in and works together, the team or the company won’t get to the highest levels. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and the team needs to come together and fill each of those gaps to create a rock solid unit that can compete against the best.

Ernie Bray is a high-energy, award-winning American entrepreneur, CEO, author and podcast host. Bray is a respected advisor in driving strategic impact in the areas of process improvement, strategy, management, social media, marketing and innovation.

“The effort you put in today leads to the results you will get tomorrow.”