Now, I am by no means a psychologist. I do, however, find the subject fascinating. So, when a contact mentioned that their business tended to come from people either interested in sports or who were sports people, this made me think…
Why was that? There must be a psychological reason for that? What drives sports people? And what drives business owners?
Now, I also wondered this because I am a business owner. And I’m also interested in sports (rugby). And I am a sports person (Tae Kwon Do). So I thought I’d explore this a little.
Psychologists all agree that motivation is the thing that drives sports people to win.
You have to be motivated in order to consistently work on your sports performance. Athletes and sports folk work tirelessly on the same things over and over again, until they’ve achieved perfection in a technique, or beaten their personal best.
This tireless effort means pushing through pain, fatigue, boredom and FOMO (fear of missing out) or the want to be doing other things. Often hours and hours are invested in training. And those hours and hours of training may only result in a marginal improvement.
But, motivation keeps sports people going. It keeps them pushing the boundaries to achieve those small increases, to ultimately achieve the win.
Now, depending on the level of sports person or athlete that ‘win’ can mean very different things.
At the highest level we’re talking about Olympians and professionals where the ‘win’ is huge. It’s medals, money and potentially global recognition.
For the laymen of us sports folks out there the ‘win’ might be lower level/lower stakes competition. Or simply personal achievement – that internal sense of achievement.
Some surveys of business owners have determined that there are four types of business owner
- People that started their business because they have a great love for what they do
- Those that want to control their environment, way of working and work experiences
- Individuals that want to build something for the future
- Folks that just struggle through without really succeeding and not knowing a better way to do it
Now, regardless of which category a business owner falls into they will all need motivation to keep their businesses going. And keep striving for their goals.
Motivation is defined as ‘enthusiasm for doing something’ or ‘a reason for acting or behaving in a certain way’.
Applying the Sports Mentality to Business
With these factors in mind then, what could business owners take advantage of from the sports person’s way of being, to help us succeed in achieving our goals?
- Firstly, we need to have goals; you can’t drive forwards without a destination in mind and what’s the motivation if there are no goals.
- The desire to learn, practice and perfect; as in sport you’re not the best you can be when you first begin. It takes time and training to be good at any sport. Business is no different. It takes time and hard work. And you might not get everything right the first time, but with dedication and commitment you’ll get there.
- You can’t always go it alone; sports people have coaches, trainers, physios, nutritionists and friends and family backing them. In business you’re not going to know it all. You might need some people ‘in your corner’, like a business coach, an accountant or businesses you outsource things to.