Luca Sage / Getty Images
Career

How Being an Athlete Helps Me Run My Business

May 6, 2016

It's about effort, endurance and ultimately, triumph

I like to say I started a business by accident and grew it on purpose: I was feeling creatively suffocated in my corporate role, and that organically turned into a coaching and consulting business through which I work with online entrepreneurs to help them grow and scale their businesses strategically.

The success of my business allowed me to pay off $45,000 in student-loan debt in six months, and I was able to quit my corporate day job, too.

People often ask me how I grew my business so quickly. The answer is that my background as a triathlete has been one of my biggest advantages.

Follow Motto on Facebook.

As legendary college football Paul “Bear” Bryant said, “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

There were lots of days during my triathlon training when I didn’t necessarily feel like going for a long run or an 80-mile bike ride, but I knew that I did want the results that the training would provide. In my business, I also showed up daily to do the work, whether that was writing articles, being a guest on podcasts, creating content, building relationships or engaging on social media and building an audience. I made sure that even if I only had 20 minutes to spend on the business each day, I was doing it.

Subscribe to the Motto newsletter for advice worth sharing.

While showing up every day is vital, you also have to look for opportunities to push yourself beyond your current boundaries.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses, mentors, certifications and books. I see it as similar to hiring the best trainer, equipment or coach to get me to the next level, to push me to places I couldn’t go on my own and to improve my game.

The final key to approaching business like an athlete is to look at failure as an inevitable—and even helpful—part of the process.

Read more: How to Use Your Time as Wisely as Possible

There are going to be tons of missed shots, slow races, injuries and lost games. Athletes understand that all of those missed shots are part of the training necessary to create wins—but only if you’re willing to learn from each experience. The same is true in business: You need to be able to learn from setbacks so that you can approach the next opportunity with even greater confidence.

I’ve interviewed more than 100 entrepreneurs for my podcast, The School of Self-Mastery, and every single one of them has said that their successes are a result of their failures.

If you’re willing to reflect and learn from your missteps, they’ll ultimately help you get closer to your goals.’

Adrienne Dorison is a business strategist and podcast host who teaches small business owners how to think bigger, grow faster and get more results.