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The Road to Being a Business Champion is to Train Like an Olympian

Have you ever admired the strength, flexibility and endurance of an Olympic Athlete? It takes a lot of dedication to become a successful athlete. Olympians are at the apex of perfection. The fact that they get to go to the games is amazing, but to win makes them champions. There are secrets in training and preparations that Olympic Athletes have that increase their potential for success. As business leaders we can learn a lot from Olympic Athletes to help us become business champions.

Here are a few tips from the best of the best:

Have a Plan: It is amazing how many business leaders do not have a plan–they just wing it. The reality of being a top athlete is that you must have a plan. From diet, to workouts, to rest, there is a plan of focused intent. Know what it is you want to accomplish and why it is so important. Have a strategic road map for your business success.

Create a Routine: A routine is everything. It is part of your plan. Routines require an emphasis on high value activities. Focus on those things that will make a difference to you and your business. Schedule them in and make sure you do them.

Take Care of Yourself: Top performers usually have off-the-chart energy. How do they manage this? They take care of themselves through a healthy dose of proper eating and rest. Even the greatest boxer who ever lived, Mohammed Ali, ate well and rested. He took one day off a week to relax and ease his body and mind.

Proper warm-up and recovery: If you are going to work hard then you need to ensure you have proper warm up and recovery. This includes creating a natural rhythm to your business, as well as building in agility and flexibility. This is something that should be part of any good business practice. You and your people need to ensure they take the time needed to remain limber and prepared.

It’s all in the Head: Mental preparation is all about psychologically preparing for the big events. It is easy to get psyched out and think you or your people are not good enough. You need to tell yourself and your team they are the best at what they do. Create mindful rehearsals, read inspirational books, or count your blessings daily. Whatever it takes to build the mindset of a champion.

Consider a Trainer and Coach: Great athletes have coaches–we all know this. Business leaders who want to mix it up know they need help. From motivation to accountability, a coach can make a difference.
Be dynamic on your business: You can’t just focus on one thing in your business. You need to consider all the moving parts and train yourself in those parts. Olympic Athletes switch things up using fixed to variable equipment; they run, jump, throw, row, and do a lot more. The key, they mix things up.

Engage your People: Olympians have a team of engaged people who are rooting for them. It includes many key stakeholders including family and friends, sponsors and vendors, managers, coaches, trainers and peers. Engaging your team is important for your business as well. It is important you find a way to connect your people to what it is you want to accomplish. Engage the people that are in your corner.

Prepare for Heavy Lifting: All champions need to build their strength and endurance. Find ways to build your ability to deal with the events that are the heavy lifting of your business success. Build core competencies in yourself and those around you. Part of an Olympic Athlete’s heavy lifting ability is having a strong, engaged core. The same is true in business: businesses without a strong core tend to have more challenges. . Make sure you have engaged your core.

Train Early in the Day: Common wisdom says to train early in the day. Most Olympic Athletes do. Create an early ritual of getting focused, reviewing your strategic plan and the work plans that you have laid out. Focus on building up skills that will take you to where you need to go.

Build your Training Team: A dedicated team is everything for a Champion. You must have a team that will not only work with you, but also train with you. Olympic athletes are known to train together for years before they turn to competing against each other. Therefore, a training team can include your peers, your team and your competitors. Olympians train with their competition so they get better.

In business we ultimately want to be the best at what we do—we want to become champions. One of the best places to look for inspiration is at our Olympic Champions and the hard work and dedication they put into being the best at what they do. Like them, the first step to becoming the best is to think and act like a champion.

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