Business Lessons that Sports Teach Us

Business Lessons that Sports Teach Us

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Success in business depends on having the right mindset, and sports help you develop the positive mental attitude that makes the difference between winning and losing. Business leaders may have comparable skills and intelligence, but at the end, it’s the psychology that distinguishes successful businessmen from the rest. Here are the some of the positive mental attributes that sports help you develop—the lessons that you can apply to the business that you are leading.

It’s Winning that Matters

Sports let you taste the flavour of victory—that’s perhaps the most importance business lesson that they teach. Running a business is, in many ways, like playing a sport. The rush of emotions and excitement that you feel when scoring a goal, lifting a trophy or wearing a medal can be likened to the joy you experience when you achieve business success. Winning is important, and sports teaches you that.

Winning has a Price

Another important lesson that you learn from sports is that winning always comes at a price. In sports as well as in business, the price of winning is hard work. If you ever won a sports fixture, you know that it was endless training and strenuous practice that led you to the laurels. The routines felt tough when you were training, but it was winning that mattered at the end, not the toughness of the training sessions.

In business, success comes at the cost of grinding workdays that you spend improving processes, avoiding obstacles, providing leadership, boosting employees’ morale, attending meetings, and doing other things that are important for the success of your business.  If are a sportsman, you’ll be more focused on success instead of the routine.

Have you ever played for a side that has a bad leader? If the coach is sarcastic, or the captain is a bad communicator, or blames others all the time, this negative leadership reflects in the morale and the performance of the team. Good players hold back their best and players who are psychologically weak make negative leadership an excuse for not performing well. Sports teach you the importance of remaining positive as a leader.

Sports also teach you to lead from the front. When you think you can make a move, you shout to the other player to pass you the ball—that’s taking charge. In business, it is important to take charge and assume responsibility. Sports give you a practical demonstration for that.

The game isn’t over until the last whistle is blown. How many times has it happened that a lost game was overturned in the last minute? Even if you lose a game, you always draw lessons from it. There’s always another minute, another half, or another day to bounce back. When things are not going as planned, you don’t need to panic, just focus—that’s what sports teach you.

When a good side is losing, the players are still giving it their 100%. They are still dashing and diving and trying hard. These are the players who can turn failure into success. In business too, you need to have the same mental toughness to overcome obstacles and snatch success from the jaws of failure.

That’s hardly the end of the list and there are many other business lessons that sports teach you. For instance, you can overcome your weaknesses if you work consistently. A team that keeps a consistent pressure on the opposition usually wins and a team that plays defensively usually loses. Sports teach you that results are achieved by consistently sticking to your strategy, and that most often, offence is the best defence. And, of course, sports teach you a lot about teamwork.

About the Author

Dr Garry J McCLean writes for The Workplace Depot on topical health & safety issues.

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