Great Olympians and entrepreneurs share the mindset of a champion.
I present 6 of probably the greatest Olympic quotes of all time from American athletes – and I have spun them into lessons for entrepreneurial success.
#1 Your Biggest Competition is You
“The only victory that counts is actually the one over yourself.”
Jesse Owens, Long Jumper and american Sprinter
When Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, he did not only defeat athletes from around the globe. He also helped defeat the message of “Aryan racial superiority” that Adolph Hitler hoped the Germany held games would spread.
In a way, Owens was racing against racism. But in the mind of his, he was just racing against himself. As Owens set a world record in 100m dash, the only competition that mattered was the inner battle going on in Owens’ mind and body.
Entrepreneurs could be The Own Greatest Enemy of theirs – or perhaps Ally While business is actually perceived as an extremely competitive environment, most startups are actually faced with very little outside competition early on. A successful idea for a new business, website, or product usually exists in a market of its own, free from direct competition.
The battle then, is actually in the head of the entrepreneur. Does she or perhaps he have the ingenuity, the drive, and the perseverance to turn the idea of theirs into reality?
Adopting the Gold Medal Mindset:
“I Did not Set Out to Beat the World; I Just Set Out to Do My Absolute Best.”
Al Oerter, four time gold medal winner in the discus throw
Rather than thinking about every other business, product, and site as the competition of yours, focus your competitive energy internally. When you develop an outstanding, one-of-a-kind business, the competition is actually irrelevant.
#2 Do What You Love
“The very first thing is usually to love the sport of yours. Never do it to please another person. It’s to be yours.”
Peggy Fleming, gold medalist in figure skating in 1968
In case you have heard this advice before, that is since it is important and profound.
When Peggy Flemming was twelve years old, her coach William Kipp died suddenly in a plane crash. If it were not for the intense love of her for figure skating, she certainly would’ve been discouraged from continuing her training with a brand new coach. Rather, she won Olympic gold 8 years later.
Entrepreneurs Must Love their Businesses In case you start up a company that you do not truly care about, you are likely to be hard pressed to persevere when the going gets tough. Centering the business of yours on something you really love and believe in is actually the foundation for entrepreneurial success.
Adopting the Gold Medal Mindset: No Olympian has ever medaled in an event they did not like. In life, we must all do what we like and love what we do.
#3 Ignore Nay-Sayers
“When anyone tells me I cannot do anything, I am just not listening anymore.”
Florence Griffith Joyner, three time gold medalist in 1988
Florence Griffith Joyner (a.k.a. “Flo Jo”) is actually considered probably the fastest female of all time, according to the point that she holds the record in both the 100m and 200m. But even she’d folks telling her she did not have what it takes to win gold.
Entrepreneurs Inevitably have Critics One difficult lesson for every business owner to learn is exactly how to separate positive, criticism that is constructive from useless, pessimistic nay saying. The former helps you adjust the business of yours and make it much more successful, the latter will simply discourage you from continuing on your road to success.
Many people simply do not believe that greatness can be attained. They will tell you that your business is actually destined to fail, but they will have told the same thing to Steve Jobs or perhaps Mark Zuckerberg. Put simply, their opinion is not well worth the time of yours.
Adopting the Gold Medal Mindset: At every sporting event, there is someone booing. At every comedy show, there is a heckler. And also for every musician, there is a music critic.
Recognize that nay sayers are actually going to be there no matter what, so there is no reason at all to take it personally. Rather, have Flo-Jo’s attitude and stop listening when someone tells you that you cannot do something.
#4 Do not Get Caught Up with Tomorrow
“I am trying to do the very best I can. I am not focused on tomorrow, but with what goes on today.”
Mark Spitz, gold medalist in swimming in 1972 and 1968
There is an old sports cliche: “We’re just going to take it 1 day at a time.”
But like most cliches, there is a good reason it is so often repeated.
The only day you are able to accomplish anything is now. On training days, you cannot be day dreaming about winning the main event. When the day has finally come for you to perform, all you are able to concentrate on is the performance of yours – not the medal ceremony.
Entrepreneurs Cannot Afford to Daydream Sometimes it feels as a catch 22: you cannot succeed as an entrepreneur unless you’ve a good vision for the future, but you also cannot succeed if you are always looking never and ahead taking care of the grunt work of building your business day-in-and-day-out.
Successful business people manage to do both. But they spend a lot more time focusing on the present than imagining exactly how great the businesses of theirs will be down the road.
Adopting the Gold Medal Mindset: Remember that for every minute an Olympic medalist stands on the podium, they have spent a huge selection of hours in practice facilities.
#5 Success is Journey
“It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.”
Carl Lewis, gold medalist in 1996, 1992, 1988
As a track-and-field athlete, there is no better outcome than setting a world record. Lewis set several world records and won 9 gold medals, so he knows all about achieving the pinnacle of success.
However he says “it’s all about the journey.”
Entrepreneurs must Enjoy the Road Up As an entrepreneur, there is always gon na be another milestone. Make a million dollar company… and you are more likely to need to build it up to hundred million. This is not an issue – unless you plan to get happiness and satisfaction from reaching these ever changing milestones.
True contentment comes from appreciating the everyday struggle.
Adopting the Gold Medal Mindset: “The most important issue in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential point in life isn’t conquering but fighting well.”
Pierre de Coubertin, founder of modern Olympic Games
#6 Cherish the Challenges
“Hard days are probably the best because that is where champions are made. So in case you push through the tough days you are able to make it through anything.”
Gabby Douglas, two time gold medal winner in the 2012 London Olympic Games
Gabby Douglas has had the fair share of her of days that are tough – particularly in the last week. In this summer’s London Olympics, he has received criticism for the hairstyle of her and for shaky performances in individual events.
But for a 16-year-old, she’s a remarkably mature perspective on taking on challenges. The rigorous training schedule of her has taught her the old adage that probably “the strongest steel is actually forged in probably the hottest fires.”
Entrepreneurs Benefit from Enduring Challenges While building the business of yours, you will inevitably face major difficulties. But it is meeting and overcoming today’s challenges that empowers you to deal with the challenges of tomorrow.
Adopting the Gold Medal Mindset: Next time you are feeling frustrated by a tough client or perhaps a technical issue with the site of yours, ask yourself how facing this challenge can help make you a much better entrepreneur down the road.