I started competitive swimming at the age of seven and amateur boxing when I was 20. After 17 years of experience, I have come to the conclusion that the most valuable asset of practicing competitive sport, beyond the health and fitness outcomes, is the strong mindset it provides.
I realized this when studying at university and later on when I started my professional career, since my sportive background provided me a strong competitive advantage in both areas.
I would say the key professional assets that sport provides are:
Sport is all about goals. You need them to improve. These become bigger and more important when you compete. It’s all about breaking that record or bringing that medal home.
2. Planning and preparation
Swim training camps as a kid were crazy demanding but so rewarding. Every workout was pivotal. Six days a week, two to three hours per session during four-month periods, with barely a few days of rest in-between one camp and the next. It required constant dedication to keep going every day, to perform well without missing a session.
My reward was discipline.
In my professional life, this ‘training camp’ mindset has proved highly effective as I draw up plans and then execute them. On a daily basis I follow the plan while managing my motivation. Work camps are a long-distance run, but every day counts if you want to rock it out!
Combining work with sport improves your time management skills. It has taught me to prioritize and make the most of time – time wasting is a thing of the past for me.
4. Hard work beats talent
I have seen incredibly talented sportsmen fail and average athletes go to the Olympics through insanely hard work. I have also seen average minds beat brilliant ones through dedication. Attitude is everything.
5. Mental strength
Mental strength is the most valuable asset an athlete can have. I’ve boosted mine in the ring, training to be mentally and physically strong and give my best performance on fight night. I get nervous when facing a new opponent but I’ve learned to enjoy it and make it part of the game. I apply the same technique to a new challenge at work so I can maintain my focus.
6. Team building
If you want to be part of the game, you have to follow the rules. I particularly like to bring this approach to work. Ethical values are pivotal and they should underlie all our actions and decisions. If we lose them, what else do we have?
8. Have an idol
My room walls have always been covered with posters of my sport and professional idols, who are my benchmark of talent, hard work, self-improvement and value generation.
Be your own hero.
UPGRADING WORK LIFE THROUGH SPORT AND CREATIVITY.
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