The benefits of participating in sports are much more than just physical. Being an athlete promotes mental health, improves social skills, and develops determination, ambition, and integrity. Recent studies have consistently shown that those skills translate to the business world and that those who participate in sports become more competent leaders and entrepreneurs. Keep reading to find out how involvement in sports can impact one’s future in business.
Team Building, Confidence, and Leadership
Two recent studies published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies found that 43 percent of high school students who played sports have better leadership skills, more self-confidence, and more self-respect. Even adults who had played sports more than 40 years ago showed significantly higher levels of self-esteem and performed better as leaders.
Regarding team sports, the obvious skills that are beneficial in business settings are teamwork, collaboration, and leadership. Additionally, there are qualities in solo sports that can be equally effective. Solo athletes have complete control over their performance, and in business, leaders need to have the ability to hold themselves accountable.
Facing Fears and Taking Risks
In sports and business, it is crucial to be brave, face fears, and take calculated risks. Extreme sports, such as skydiving, are thrilling because of their inherent risks. Entrepreneurship depends on taking risks; however, fear is a huge obstacle for many people. Those who have played sports are usually less fearful of the unknown, and this mindset allows them to be curious rather than guarded in business.
Both extreme sports and entrepreneurship force people to reflect on their lives and analyze whether they are living life to the fullest. Successful entrepreneurs want to leave a lasting impact on the world and make meaningful connections. These are the same qualities that help an athlete excel; they want to take risks, create lasting memories, and defy the odds.
Experiencing Failure, Adversity, and Success
Failure can be crucial to both the development of an athlete and a businessperson. The way a person reacts to defeat can have a considerable impact on their future success. Many athletes have a natural drive to compete and therefore enter the business world intending to compete. They strive for success, and this ambition makes athletes marketable to companies. However, just as there is no one set path to success in sports, there is no one set path to success in business. Athletes can quickly recover from failure and keep moving forward.
Decision Making and Execution
Whether on a field, in the water, or flying through the air, sports often require one to make instant decisions and execute them flawlessly. Sports train one to perform well under intense pressure and to remain calm in stressful situations. These situations convert seamlessly to business situations, given that one is likely to face high stakes decisions and pressure at least occasionally.
Celebrate Improvement, Not Results
It’s the little victories that matter most. To train for a marathon, one must begin with one or two-mile runs. Identifying and improving a few metrics at a time is the best way to tackle large projects and meet goals. Similarly, in business, once the key outcomes are identified, a team can devise the best way to reach them.
Sports – extreme or otherwise – are supposed to be enjoyed! Whether you’re riding the high of a victory with your team, training hard for a competition, or are thousands of feet in the air about to jump out of a plane, you experience a rush of adrenaline and excitement. Business can be like sports – one should celebrate their victories as they would with sports. It’s crucial for someone in business to remind themselves why they chose entrepreneurship as their career and not to let their failures or setbacks hold them back.