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9 Ways To Compete In Business Like A Professional Athlete

9 Ways To Compete In Business Like A Professional Athlete

One common thing businesses have with professional athletes is that they are always competing against someone or something. In any area of life there is competition involved, you can use this article to improve your life, even if you aren't a company owner.

"In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened."  - Tommy Lasorda

Businesses compete against each other, for a market share, for similar customers, for similar markets or even with small businesses who compete against huge companies.

Athletes know competition like no one. If you have a business or are thinking about starting one, you must acknowledge the competition side of the industry, and see the value of having a mindset like an athlete to prosper in your professional activity.

“I’m playing against great players, playing against the best in the world. The competition – that’s what I’ve always wanted.” – Kobe Bryant

We've selected 9 fundamental ways you can take to compete in business just like a professional athlete:

9 Ways To Compete In Business Like A Professional Athlete

1. Prepare Yourself By Working On Fundamentals

Athletes practice and practice on fundamentals of the game, so they can perform at a high level when the time arrives. In business, you need to always be working on your grind, stay sharp in your specific field, work on the fundamentals of your business. 

Prepare yourself and your company, by working on the disciplines of personal development and the core areas of your business, you will be ready to perform great in your daily tasks. Whether business meetings, presentations, sales or just phone calls, you must be ready for it, the best way is to practice and study ahead of time so you can be prepared.

“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” - Michael Jordan

2. Have An Untouchable Work Ethic

Gathered up with the last topic, to be prepared for any situation you must have an untouchable work ethic. You must work hard and smart on your business daily. It's all about consistency, always remember that you're not the only one doing it. There is always competition in business, even if you're unique in the market, someone will copy you and try to do it better than you.

You must outwork your competitors, you can only do that by being consistent with your tasks daily. Work ethic it's not just about doing tasks, it's about becoming. You must do it and do it, until things star to change, and you start to change also. Not only will you become skillful, but you'll become more confident and self-assured about your business. 

"Work ethic eliminates fear." - Michael Jordan

3. Play Every Game Like It's Your Last

Athletes have a sense of urgency about their profession. In any game or competition they are involved in, there is a time limit, they know they don't have forever to win the game or the competition. They must do whatever they have to do, in the time that is given to them. You must apply this principle to your business also.

You don't have forever to make that sale or to convince that customer. You must act on the now, not leaving things for tomorrow. Give 100% of what you got at any moment you're running your business. Establish time limits to achieve specific goals for your business, so you can push yourself to give everything you got to achieve those goals.

"I play every game like it's my last game." - Allen Iverson

4. Learn To Focus In Pressure Situations

Things won't be easy in business all the time. Matter of fact, the deeper you are involved in, more pressure will rise. You will have your doubts, and you will even fail. You must be prepared for both. Athletes are constantly living this type of situations, they most perform in pressure times and they most know how to deal with a loss.

Develop your focus in business, get a clear vision of what you're trying to achieve and what your business is all about. Write goals down, create your company's vision and mission. Those are crucial aspects to stay focused when pressure times arrive. When it seems that you're going nowhere and nobody believes in your business, you must be the one to believe it and follow through, you can only do that by having a clear vision about where you're heading. Focus throughout the whole process even when you fail, you must have the focus and determination to carry on.

"My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win... channel your energy. Focus." - Carl Lewis

5. Create A Strategy For Each Venture 

Athletes study themselves and study their opposition for every competition, so they can create a custom fit strategy for every game they have. Every game is a different game, so they change their approach for each game. Business can work just like this also.

Every venture is a different venture, so you must not make the mistake to treat each venture the same way. You need to study everything about a specific venture, and then create a custom fit strategy just for that case. Of course, your business has core values, just like a professional sports team has. Teams don't change everything about them each game, so should you in your business, you don't need to change the company's whole concept. You need to adapt and make some crucial adjustments by creating a strategy for each venture. 

"You know the best thing about competition? There's this whole strategy game, and when it all works out its like solving that hard math equation. You finally get the answer and you're so happy." - Shaun White

6. Analyze Your Performance And Improve Weak Points

Between games and competitions, athletes are always watching film of their performances. They analyze themselves constantly, they point out things that went well and things that didn't. They master their strong and weak points, so they can maintain what's good and improve what went wrong.

This is exactly what you need to do regularly in business. Analyze your performance, your co-workers performance, and the results of the whole business. Like athletes, maintain what's good improve what is going wrong. Emend your errors, so you can be ready for the next time. Don't get discouraged by what you see, constantly improve so you can get better and better.

"I always had to keep improving my skills in order to remain competitive and keep winning." - Edwin Moses

7.  Understand Your Teammates, Make Them Better

Individual sports don't require a team to play with, but there is always a staff working with the athlete. Of course in team sports, athletes have teammates to play with. Either case, athletes must develop a professional relationship with their teammates and work with them to achieve a common goal. It's not about individuality but all about teamwork. 

Businesses don't develop themselves with an individual, you have always a team to work with. Get to know your team, develop a relationship with them, where trust is a must! So you can always rely on your team. Business isn't just about making yourself better, you need to make your team better. Train them, invest in them, support them in anything they do. It's your business who can profit from this approach, don't let ego take the best of you. It's all about making your team work so your dream can work! 

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." - Michael Jordan

8. Give The Necessary Amount Of Rest To Your Body And Mind

You must work hard and smart, but to do that daily, you must take your time to rest. Don't make the mistake to be a workaholic, because each day you need a fresh mind and body, so ideas and creativity can flourish. Athletes train everyday but they also rest everyday to prepare for the next training session or competition. They give their mind and body team to heal, so they can excel at their best the next day or in between sessions.

Take this is approach to your business also, you can't be always working and worrying about your business. You need rest in between days or parts of the day. Whether is a good night of sleep, an early evening nap, or even a day off (if you can), take your rest. You'll see that your mind will become clearer and your body recharged of energy, therefore you'll be able to produce more and excel. 

If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” - Mark Spitz

9. Always Be Ready To Back Up What You Say

Professional athletes are public figures, they constantly have to make public statements to the media or even in their social media profiles. They must talk to fans or even random people they meet in their daily life. What they say can have a huge impact in the community or in their specific sport. They must be careful in their speech, some are strategic about it, making the so famous mind games. But one thing is for sure, whatever they say they must back up it when they play.

In business, you must take care of your company's message to the public and the way you relate with your customers. A good marketing strategy can solve some problems like this. But it's indispensable that you always back up whatever your message to public is. People hate companies that say one thing but do the opposite. Be true to your customers, always back up what you say, so they can be loyal to you.

"It's not bragging if you can back it up." - Muhammad Ali 

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