9 reasons why people who play sport are successful in business
What you learn on the field can be amazing for your career.EDGAR staff October 30, 2014
Sport and business have always gone hand in hand, with the world's top professional athletes earning their millions - and earning many millions more for the companies they endorse - by signing massive sponsorship deals and lending their name and image to some of the biggest global brands.
But the symbiosis doesn't end there. As well as the elite-level relationship between sport and business, there's also a much wider connection, meaning that true sportsmen who train hard and play in the right spirit - irrespective of the level they compete at - are likely to be much more successful in business.
Why? Because they have learned a valuable set of skills and developed an ethos that also lends itself extremely well to the world of work. Here are nine reasons why sportspeople are more successful in business:
1. They're team players
A good sportsman always does what's best for his team, irrespective of personal glory. If he has the choice between a speculative shot at scoring himself or passing to a teammate for a certain goal, he'll always choose the latter.
Similarly, if you see business as purely an exercise in self-promotion, with little or no regard for the overall performance of your team, your company will soon realise that you're not a team player, and value your contribution less as a result.
2. They play fair
While some professional sportspeople - we're looking at you, diving footballers - may have dragged the fair-play aspect of sport through the mud slightly in recent years, for anyone who plays sport for enjoyment, fairness is of upmost importance.
Although you might see an initial gain from double-crossing a colleague or using underhand tactics to get a leg up at work, in the end, dishonesty will always come back to bite you when you least expect it.
3. They don't crack under pressure
Wether he's a golfer about to step up to sink the championship-winning putt, or a tennis player serving for the match, a sportsman comes into his own when the pressure is on.
This is a hugely valuable attribute to have in the world of business, as keeping cool under high-pressure situations will ensure that you make the best decisions when it matters most. 4. They can think strategically
A sportsman knows how much easier a game is when it's played with an effective strategy, enabling his team to focus on its strengths and take advantage of the weaknesses of the opposition.
Exactly the same can be said for the business world, where successful organisations position their staff to get the most out of them, and excel where other companies aren't performing so well.
5. They respect their seniors
A sportsman always listens to his captain or coach, because he's aware that the person with more experience is in a good position to dispense valuable advice.
And it's just the same in the office, as you can garner all sorts of useful information from people who've already been there, seen it and done it. 6. They enjoy competition
The whole point of playing sport is to compete with others, and a true sportsman would always prefer to take on a worthy adversary rather than have an easy game against an opponent who's not up to their standard.
This is a very useful attribute to carry through into business because while others may be fearful or apprehensive about some new competition, if you welcome it and are confident of coming out on top regardless, you stand a much greater chance of success.
7. They know how to celebrate victory
A sportsman is rather familiar with the term, "work hard, play harder", having attended more post-match parties than he'd care to mention.
Being able to celebrate your success in the workplace is vital to keeping up team morale, so if you're the guy who gets everyone together and organises the after-work drinks, you'll quickly develop a reputation as a fun-loving and friendly person who others like to be around. 8. They can take criticism
Most sportsmen will have endured a half-time dressing down from his manager, and then transformed his performance in the second half and proved his worth as a valuable member of the team.
Similarly, in the working world, the ability to take criticisms onboard and act on them, rather than becoming despondent or negative enables you to not only better your performance, but also strengthen relationships with colleagues.
9. They know the importance of winning
Along with fair play and team work, winning is one of the most important things to a sportsman. That feeling of satisfaction when he's triumphed after a hard-fought game is difficult to match.
Carrying this through into business, if you know and appreciate the thrill of success, you're bound to do everything in your power in order to ensure it happens.