How an elite athlete mindset can help you win as an entrepreneur

photo of Liz Barker
by
Liz Barker
on
May 10, 2021
contributing author:
Professional boxer and entrepreneur Liz Barker | Fit for Living

As a professional boxer and someone who runs my own company, I believe there are some lessons you can learn from elite athletes to help you win as an entrepreneur.

Don’t fear pressure.

Top athletes learn to perform at their best under enormous pressure. They do not fear pressure, they thrive on it. Similarly, entrepreneurs need to learn to make decisions to the best of their abilities under enormous pressure and in often chaotic times when there is great uncertainty.

Embrace Failure.

A loss is always hard to swallow. Reaching the very top level of performance requires an immense mental effort, and when you care that much about winning, losing feels like cruel punishment but our greatest learnings come from these moments. Top athletes have a way of turning pain into rocket fuel. The defeat becomes a reason to push themselves even further. Take your losses, the setbacks, and mistakes and turn them into opportunities to learn and strive forward.

Play to your strengths.

Focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. In sport, we learn to maximise and play on our strengths. In business I sometimes see people focus on what they are not good at and that can consume them.

Set realistic goals.

Know exactly what you're trying to achieve. Entrepreneurs may find themselves setting grand and lofty goals. Athletes have their eyes locked on ambitious goals in the future, but they’re also firmly rooted in what they need to be doing in the present. They know they must set smaller goals to build skills and confidence.

Have grit.

It’s easy to say that the best athletes are the ones who are faster, stronger and the ones who have unique skills and talent. But there is something else that separates a good athlete from a great athlete and it is often just as important as raw ability and skill. It’s grit. Believe in yourself and keep working toward your goals. Work tirelessly and persevere when you’re tempted to quit, and you will get there.

Use competition to push you further.

World-class champions have developed their physical ability so they can push themselves even when others would give up. They have the mental agility to endure pain, injury, and what many of us would consider extreme physical suffering, all in the name of becoming a champion. They do this because they know what they’re capable of and recognise that it’s only through exerting themselves beyond their limits that they can achieve their best results. They do so because they know it’s the only way to win. You probably know what you are capable of, but do you ever really push yourself to find out? World-class success will never come from staying in your comfort zone. Only in embracing competition and being willing to take chances and accept risks do we truly learn how far we can go.

Stop comparing yourself. ‍

Elite athletes hone their competitive edge; they use their talents and skills to their advantage. But they don’t allow themselves to get sucked into the comparison trap. If you compare yourself to others it can mess with your mental game and cause you to lose focus and affect your performance.

Strive to be your best self professionally and personally. Define success as something you achieve independently of others. Focus on yourself, and on your dreams and goals. That is the ultimate key to your success.


On Mon, 10 May 2021 at 19:42, Liz Barker <lizbarker82@gmail.com> wrote:

As a professional boxer and someone who runs my own company, I believe there are some lessons you can learn from elite athletes to help you win as an entrepreneur.

Don’t fear pressure.

Top athletes learn to perform their best under enormous pressure. They do not fear pressure, they thrive on it. Similarly, entrepreneurs need to learn to make decisions to the best of their abilities under enormous pressure and in often chaotic times when there is great uncertainty.

Embrace Failure.

A loss is always hard to swallow. Reaching the very top level of performance requires an immense mental effort, and when you care that much about winning, losing feels like cruel punishment but our greatest learnings come from these. Top athletes have a way of turning pain into rocket fuel. The defeat becomes a reason to push themselves even further. Take your losses, the setbacks, and mistakes and turn them into opportunities to learn and strive forward.

Play to your strengths.

Focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. In sport, we learn to maximise and play on our strengths. In business I sometimes see people focus on what they are not good at and that can consume them.

Set realistic goals.

Know exactly what you're trying to achieve. Entrepreneurs may find themselves setting grand and lofty goals. Athletes have their eyes locked on ambitious goals in the future, but they’re also firmly rooted in what they need to be doing in the present. They know they must set smaller goals to build skills and confidence.

Have grit.

It’s easy to say that the best athletes are the ones who are faster, stronger and the ones who have unique skills and talent. But there is something else that separates a good athlete from a great athlete and it’s often just as important as raw ability and skill. It’s grit. Believe in yourself and keep working toward your goals. Work tirelessly and persevere when you’re tempted to quit and you will get there.

Use competition to push you further.

World-class champions have developed their physical ability so they can push themselves even when others would give up. They have the mental agility to endure pain, injury, and what many of us would consider extreme physical suffering, all in the name of becoming a champion. They do this because they know what they’re capable of and recognise that it’s only through exerting themselves beyond their limits that they can achieve their best results. They do so because they know it’s the only way to win. You probably know what you are capable of but do you ever really push yourself to find out? World-class success will never come from maintaining your comfort zone. Only in embracing competition and being willing to take chances and accept risks do we truly learn how far we can go.

Stop comparing yourself.‍

Elite athletes hone their competitive edge; they use their talents and skills to their advantage. But they don’t allow themselves to get sucked into the comparison trap. If you compare yourself to others it can mess with your mental game and cause you to lose focus and affect your performance.

Strive to toy best self professionally and personally. Define success as something you achieve independently of others. Focus on yourself, and on your dreams and goals. That is the ultimate key to your success.