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:

1. Goals

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.

The same thing happens at work, if you want to rock that project, stand out at that job interview or lead your business to success. Goals are reasons why we keep pushing ourselves.

To follow a path you first need to establish a finish line.

2. Planning and preparation

A group of swimmers come together after a successful swim. swimmers, team, athletes, happy
With training comes discipline.

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!

3. Multitasking

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.

Two man fight in a boxing ring. boxing, sport, competition, strong, challenging
Mental strength is invaluable inside and outside of the ring.

6. Team building

Bonds formed at training camps, on the field of play and in the ring, are just unbeatable. They are unique friendships. This companionship is just as important to me at work, where I firmly believe that sport among co-workers boosts confidence, collaboration and, therefore, efficiency.

7. Sportsmanship

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.


Join the GamePlan A huddle and get fired up.

About GamePlan A


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by Henry Collins 30.07.2018
Good recommendations to accomplish your goals. I will personally apply them to my everyday life. Thank you.
by Aaron 20.08.2018
Great advice. Really helps as a pick me up and a way to stay focused.
Nice article