The 10 Commandments from an Athlete in Business (6 to 10)

Here are commandments 6 to 10 to follow to follow to derive the most out of your affinity for sports in your entrepreneurial order to make the most out of your affinity for sports in the course of your career as an entrepreneur. (see 1 to 5)

6. Visualize

Having a vision for your business is key. But constructing a mental image to help bring that vision to life is another story. While I may succeed in golf by visualizing the flight my ball will take when I position myself a certain way, I have more trouble trying to visualize techniques to fulfil my corporate vision. I am, by nature, instinctive and visceral, but I’m getting better! Trusting your instincts is still a good idea, in business as in sports!

7. Set realistic goals

Yes, we need to aim far and wide to become successful. But if you don’t have your feet firmly planted on the ground when you set your goals, you’re heading toward failure. To help me set realistic goals when running, I rely on my mobile phone. A running application shows me the KPIs that will enable me to plan my route and evaluate my ultimate performance. A good strategic plan and well-grounded tactics to help you succeed require that you constantly adjust the controls to stay on course. Two things: set your goals between workout sessions or during a rest period and have your plan evaluated by someone from outside the business before adopting it.

8. Know your limits

Elite athletes who reach the podium strike the right balance in preparing for the race. To avoid overtraining (or, its workplace equivalent, burnout), they apportion their efforts, taking their limitations into account. When I run, I monitor my heart rate to keep it at 75% effort. I use running to maintain my fitness level, so that’s why I don’t try to push it farther. For sprinters, interval training would be appropriate; this way, they can push their heart rate to 90% effort. The point is that risk tolerance, perseverance, and discipline are about balance, and they require a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, some people only understand this when they are injured or burned out. When your workouts are no longer pleasurable, or when they cause you pain, it’s time to change the routine or stop altogether. The important thing is not to exhaust your energy reserves too early and to give yourself the required time to recover after exercising. If I overdo it at the office, my response is to take a power nap!

9. Keep focused

The place where you are completely focused and sense there are no distractions is called “the zone.” Elite athletes know how to find that mental state of concentration before a race. While it is relatively easy to find that space, the challenge is to stay there. The trick is to decide the specific thing on which you will concentrate. Only one thing – not three or six, but one. As an exercise at work, I challenged my team to focus on just one element of management every week. By separating it out, this became the rallying point for our decisions. And, since our offices are open-spaced, everyone listens to background music on headsets in order to jam the areas of the brain that are not being called into action. Exactly the same principle I use when running!

10. Get active!

Finally, on those days when you are not at your best – when the usual stress-management strategies are not working, when you feel like there is a power outage, or you simply have too much on your plate – you need to have mechanisms to avoid allowing your negative mood to affect others. Often such preventive work can be accomplished at the emotional level. My response: these are excellent opportunities to leave the office a little early … and go play sports!

Stay yourself

Succinctly put, you lead according to who you are. If I lead as an athlete, it’s because I am an athlete. If your leader is a bad loser, he will tend to pull his team down with him. If you are enthusiastic, you will manage enthusiastically. Don’t try to change yourself. It will take more energy to correct your weaknesses than develop your strengths. The strengths you have developed in sports can now be developed and adapted for business. If you are a sprinter, delegate the long-term projects to a marathon runner! If you are a daredevil, team up with a golfer. If you love team sports, take the time to manage the most difficult contracts. Whatever sport you prefer, learn to use it to your advantage in the office. You won’t not see your role in the same way … take it from an athlete in business!

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