My top five lessons from sport and how they relate to business

As part of my #worklifebalance and #healthybodyhealthymind strategy I undertake cycling for exercise and compete at a masters level (occasionally winning, photo). I have found that competing in sports at a high(ish) level provides many lessons for being in business and performing at a high level for our clients.

Be consistent

In training, my biggest weakness has been a lack of consistency, if you just keep showing up, keeping plugging away, the results will come. It is more important that you are consistent, more so than hitting your numbers. In business this perfectly translates. Just keep showing up and keep doing what you said you would. How many times has a business let you down by simply not doing what they said they would. Often the customer is not asking for above the line performance, but just that you show up.

Be prepared

This is actually really easy in theory, but takes organisation to execute. When I raced track nationals I left my gloves in the car and had to go and get them just before the event. This small error caused unnecessary stress. In business, you will often attend presentations. Have you every been to one where the presenter is late and/or doesn’t have their computer set up/ IT issues. When presenting, be early, be set up before the start time. This will make you more relaxed and give you the best chance at optimal performance.

You can always be better

However much you train, there will always be a next level, and that’s ok. It is what makes life worth living. In business, you cannot and should not rest on your past achievements. If you are not constantly striving to be better, to know more, to understand your clients’ problems more, you are failing to offer your continued best.

Teamwork and your support team matter

In bike races, you often work as a team, but only one person can win. Like in business, one person from your team might take plaudits for a successful project but it is always taken on behalf of the greater team.

Your support network, such as your coach is vital to your performance. In business, seeking out a coach or a mentor is invaluable to hold you accountable and support you in achieving your maximum.

Enjoy it by working with great people

Sometimes cycling training can become a drag. It is at these times it is important that You Only Live Life Once. You must enjoy the process, and a big part of that is training with good people. Doing business is the same. Working with people that you value spending time with and respect is paramount. By working with great clients, you get to learn from them and better yourself, whilst assisting them. It provides a great win win situation.

So, stay fit and healthy and bring the lessons from your sport of choice into the office. Share your learnings with your team as we all bring a unique and different perspective that others can learn from.

What is your sport of choice and what have you learnt that translated to business?

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