Elite Sports Tips for Business Success

Elite sports stars make it to the top with a lot of training and coaching; it is not just peak physical conditioning they strive for, it is also a psychological edge they seek. You are also looking for an edge that can give you business success, learn these techniques from top athletes.

If you follow or read about sports stars, you soon realize that there are several secrets from the world of sports psychology on which they constantly rely. These tricks are also relevant to everyday life and can help you reach your goals in business.

Winning Ways

Rephrase for Success

Being nervous has drawbacks, nervousness suggests an anxiety that will hamper your performance. You are worried that you are going to mess up, mistime your swing or miskick the ball. You start to worry about all the mistakes you could make instead of all the good things you could do. It’s the same in business; you start to feel nervous about your latest project and start thinking about failure.

Next time you feel nervous about pitching your business to potential customers, try this instead. Tell yourself “I am not nervous, I am excited”!  

Being nervous and anxious is a perfectly reasonable way to feel. Usually, you tell yourself to take a deep breath and calm down. But the sense of anxiety and butterflies in the stomach is so alien to a state of calm that your sub-conscience will not accept it.

Rephrasing your anxiety as excitement works because both are states of high arousal. But while stress is harmful and makes you feel under threat as you undertake the chore,  excitement is a positive emotion that will help you look forward to the opportunity. Be positive; don’t think of the task using words like nervous, anxious, chore. Instead think excited, adrenalized, opportunity.

Delegate for Business Success

All athletes must learn how to take care of themselves. They need to know what to eat, how to take care of their equipment and many other day-to-day tasks. Elite sportspeople know how to do this, but they also know how to delegate these tasks to others so they can concentrate on what they are best at.

Tiger Woods could carry his own clubs around the golf course, but get has a caddy to do that for him. Venus Williams could book all her travel requirements, but has someone to organize that for her. When Roger Bannister first broke the four-minute mile in 1954, he was supported by two pacemakers. The use of pacemakers was seen as slightly unsporting at the time but is now commonplace. When the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge ran the first sub two-hour marathon in 2019, he did it with the help of 41 pacemakers, and thousands of supporters lining the route.  

Think about who you can ask to give you support and what sort of support you need. Starting a business is hard, you probably cannot afford help immediately. But a point soon comes when you cannot afford not to get help. Getting help when you’re trying to do something hard is normal. Requesting support is a sign of strength, and positive support from friends, mentors, counsellors, or consultants is priceless.

Visualize for Success

Visualization techniques before a big event are a vital tool in the psychology toolkit. If you watch sport, you will see golfers taking imaginary swings before they address the ball. In football, kickers follow the flight of the ball between the posts before they kick and bobsled drivers move their heads as they visualize every turn on the run ahead of them.

Mentally rehearsing events before they occur builds confidence, increases motivation and improves performance. The more realistic the visualization, the better the results. Athletes imagine the roar of the crowd, the smell of the grass and the track the ball will take. They think about the point in the race they will kick for home to win, or the exact amount they will tense their abs to achieve the perfect pike dive.

Prepare for business presentations or job interviews in precisely the same way. What will the audience look like? What is your opening answer to the question “tell us about yourself”? How will you command the stage? Identify potential challenges and how you will rise to overcome them. Visualize the end result of all the work you are going to put into the project, the acclamation, the car you have promised yourself, the kid’s college fees paid off before they even start college. Be fully prepared, so it is second nature when it happens.

Self-talk for Business Success

Allowing negative thoughts into your head will sap your confidence. Tell yourself that there is no point pitching your services to this particular company is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your lack of self-confidence will come through, and you won’t get the gig.

Top athletes use the self-talk technique all the time. They fist-pump and tell themselves “great shot”, “you’re on this”! you can often hear them saying “You got this” or “I can do this.” Self-talk helps build confidence, give focus and control anxiety. Use short phrases like “you are the best at this” or “you are ready”. Remember Muhammad Ali saying “I am the greatest”, he was saying that to himself long before he was. Next time you think you can’t achieve something, find the Ali within you, think of your business success and tell yourself “I CAN.”

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