Athletes and Business Make a Perfect Match
In a collection of blog posts on LinkedIn, Olympians and business leaders speak about how the skills and life lessons they’ve learned through sport extend beyond the field of play.
The career of an athlete often seems to go by in the blink of an eye. But, as the Virgin founder Richard Branson notes on LinkedIn, life after sport offers a great opportunity for reinvention.
Branson’s blog post is one in a series published after the Rio Olympics, all discussing the ties between sport and business. As an avid tennis player himself, one key learning the billionaire philanthropist has taken from the court to the boardroom is to forget the last mistake and move onto the next challenge.
“Tennis, like business, moves so quickly that if you dwell on the past for even a few minutes, an opportunity will have passed and the moment will be lost,” he writes.
In another personal piece, Olympic Softball Gold Medalist Jennie Finch talks about her retirement from the sport and how she prepared for the transition while juggling motherhood, traveling, competing, and training.
“Softball taught me how to lead, how to get back up again after failing, teamwork, work ethic and time management.”Jennie Finch, Olympic Softball Gold Medalist
Echoing these thoughts is Olympic Hurdler Kevin Young who cites the lessons of tenacity, perseverance, and focus as assets when he was changing careers. Similarly, Eric A. Spiegel, President and CEO of Siemens USA, thanks football and his coaches for teaching him to be part of a team, and wiring him to address his weaknesses and improve his skills.
Elsewhere, economist Dr. Dambisa Moyo likens training for marathons to success in the workplace: “The same commitment and hard work that allows me to train in 90-degree humidity in New York City and push through that last 0.2 miles of the 26.2 mile race keeps me focused and on track in my meetings and my overall career.”
All writers are grateful how their lives as athletes have given them a boost in business.
Take Javelin Champion Mary O. Andrews, for example, whose Olympic experience helped her start a company specialized in coaching clients who are up to “playing a big game” and taking on work with that mindset.
“Is your workplace environment like a Global Olympic Village?”Marilyn King, Two-time Olympian in Pentathlon
You don’t have to be a natural-born athlete to benefit from these lessons. Drawing from her experience as two-time Olympian in Pentathlon, Marilyn King calls for everyone to embody “The Olympian Way” by adopting the same respect and curiosity that is prevalent in the Olympic Village.
King provokes thought with a series of questions: “Is your workplace environment like a Global Olympic Village? What if those from diverse backgrounds felt that their experiences, their skills and their perspectives were respected? What if in meetings and in the hallways people felt that others were curious to know how they came to be there and what their aspirations are for themselves and the organization?”
All posts on LinkedIn are an inspiring read in their entirety.
- How my Olympic experience helped me start my own business — Mary O. Andrews
- Athletes are built for more than sports. Here’s why we need to become businessmen, too. — Andre Iguodala
- How I bounced back from #120 to #2 on golf’s money list — Mark O’Meara
- Why your career in sports doesn’t end after retirement. Here’s how I learned how to do even more. — Jennie Finch
- Why Athletes Make Great Entrepreneurs — Richard Branson
- Why Women in Sports is Better for Business: My Experience Training for Marathons — Dr. Dambisa Moyo
- Going professional: Why you should never stop thinking like an athlete — Eric A. Spiegel
- I won Olympic gold — and had to learn how to lose — Stephanie Trafton
- From the Olympics to Home Depot: How I made the transition after breaking a world record — Kevin Young
- How to Incorporate “The Olympian Way” into your workplace — Marilyn King
- I spent eight years working towards the Big Leagues, but what’s most important is what comes after. — Dan Black
- What Olympic training taught me — and why we each embody Olympian values —Kimberly Carlisle
Athlete at heart. Always.
How do you blend your sports and business life? Tell us your story or share your favorite sports business lifestyle quote or article.Contribute