6 Reasons to Work Like An Athlete and Think Like A Champion

6 Reasons to Work Like An Athlete and Think Like A Champion

By Kym Gordon Moore

Why are we so captivated by athletes? Why do corporate environments seek and hire athletes or athletically minded candidates? What drives a company to want to fill their roster with a team of players who may not have the career experience for specific vacant positions but have the relentless hunger to learn?

Every sport has a championship game. The NFL has the Super Bowl, the NHL has the Stanley Cup, the MLB has the World Series and the PGA has the Masters Tournament. When we think about champion thinkers to hire for our organizations, we examine the traits and work ethic athletes possess. While we are not necessarily looking to employ a roster of athletes for our business, here are some of their attributes we can apply towards leadership and innovation:

  1. Athletes have their goals in sight. They understand that effectiveness promotes efficiency. They know that failure is only a prerequisite for success, which makes them work harder.
  2. They have an entrepreneurial mindset. They see a bigger vision and they think strategically to turn their objectives into action. They turn short-term sights into long-term goals.
  3. Athletes are relentless, deal with the inevitable and never quit. They fight to the bitter end even if their game results in a loss. If they are defeated, they review footage of what went wrong and seek healthy ways to physically and strategically tackle the challenge again. They push themselves hard to get through their personal and team challenges.
  4. Many champion athletes have a unique approach to their game. With respect to their specialized skill sets, they have developed an exclusive way of playing the game. For example, Serena Williams has a unique two-handed backhand grip that is not the typical backhand stroke used in tennis. Her aggressive baseline style of play is a lethal weapon in her quest to outwit her opponent and win.
  5. Athletes know how critical a healthy lifestyle is to their performance. A healthy eating plan, exercise, and adequate rest are critical for optimum functionality. The consequences are too great without maintaining balance in nutrition, fitness, energy, sleep and overall good mental and physical health.
  6. Athletes understand the “team player” creed. They know each team member depends on the each other. They leverage their strengths and improve on their weakness. Team players train to have each other’s back. Their contribution towards the overall success of the entire organization affects the top, right on down to the bottom tier of the organization. If they only look out for “self” and get lost in their ego, it is not only self-defeating but team-defeating.

Organizations, whether profit or nonprofit look for champion thinkers who will become advocates and encouragers with a contagious work ethic. Businesses understand that overcoming obstacles is the key to success. That success depends on training, attitude, commitment, respect, overall fitness, collaboration and the hunger for the potential to grow. Such athletic traits are key to champion thinking.

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