Finding the balance between passion and professionalism, it’s sometimes hard to get it right but sports helped me to learn to respect and combine both. In fact, the basics you respect in your workout will also help you grow your business.

Plan your way to gold

When we’re young, we often try to run before we can walk. This can be fatal, as trying to perform your final goal too soon will literally “break your neck”. In the gym, you create a schedule based on your physical status and break your goal, whether it is for overall fitness or marathon training, into smaller goals.

At work, we should also take one step at a time. You will not get this project to shine within a week and you’ll not get this promotion tomorrow. Reaching smaller goals will bring the motivation you’ll need and pave the way to success. When defining these smaller goals, always link them back to the bigger one and tell yourself how it will help you to cross the finish line. Sometimes, however, we get lost along the way…

Respect the time

We have all experienced the dullness of days that made us believe we’ve got plenty of time to get a project going. In the end, we often find ourselves panicking in face of the swiftly approaching deadline.

I joined a committee to develop a programming concept for our new national sports network, FOX Sports 1. The purpose was to foster collaboration, build relationships and develop new skills. We were given six weeks to overcome time restraints, personality conflicts and communication breakdowns to successfully present the show pilot to the executive committee. Things were pretty close at the end and I swore to myself that I will not let this happen again.

Did you know that bad time management is the #1 reason for failure in sports and business? So, treat time like your most valuable asset.

Speaking about this topic with Fred Beasley, former 2x-All Pro Fullback for the San Francisco 49ers, he said something that changed my view on time and time management completely:

“It’s crucial that athletes treat time like one of their most valuable possessions. Not having discipline, not being consistent with scheduling for business and social life could lead to a short career. You have to learn to say no to a lot of things and people.”

Don’t be your own coach

Knowing your goals and respecting the time are a good starting point to think about how you can optimize your processes. For quite some time, I didn’t pay any attention to this at all; however, if you want to progress, you need to be honest with yourself. Consider your strengths and weaknesses, know your limitations and seek the advice and counsel of professionals. Getting together with a group of people who support you along the way is equally important to reach your goals.

When I began graduate school for a master’s in business administration in 2008 to make my next step at work, I started eating on the go more, and working out less. I gained 30 unwanted pounds. I consulted a nutritionist and devised a training schedule. I started to run three and half miles at least three days per week with a local running group. The running group and my nutritionist helped me to change my eating habits and made me commit to a training routine.

Finding a coach that motivates you whenever you get stuck is priceless.

With every new thing I am learning from others, I realize that there is a whole world out there for me to conquer. You’ll not see the opportunities, though, when you stay in your little bubble of contentment. A coach or mentor will make sure you don’t get stuck. He or she will help you to get more professional, more focused and more effective at work and at the gym.

Effort creates its own rewards. Proper planning, good time management, as well as expert advice will help you become more professional. With this in place, your passion for business now empowers you to cross the finish line.

Will I see you there?

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