How To Use The 'Athlete's Mindset' In Business

How To Use The 'Athlete's Mindset' In Business
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What Is An Athlete's Mindset?

As a former professional athlete, I might be biased but an athlete's mindset is the most powerful mentality to have. In fact, I believe that it's the same mentality that is absolutely needed to be successful in any type of profession, especially entrepreneurship.

Athletes have been known to have specific intangibles that they have gained over their years of playing sports. From hard work to team work and competitiveness, athletes have developed these specific traits, many times without even realizing it.

These attributes are what makes or breaks an athlete over their careers. Many times, the most successful athletes aren't the ones with the most talent and skills, but rather they are the ones who can be the most persistent and toughest. They are the ones who put in the extra work when no one is watching and they are the ones who have the will to outlast their opponent. They will do anything to come out on top and it is no different in entrepreneurship.

As an entrepreneur, you can have all the resources, connections and talent when it comes to business, but if you lack the necessary characteristics to play the long-term game, you will eventually fall to your competition.

It's all comes down to having that mental toughness and understanding the game within the game. This is what propels athletes to victory regardless of what stands in the way. You have to be able to get knocked down and keep fighting like you never even got knocked down in the first place. The same setbacks that occur in sports are similar to the ones that will occur in business. How you react is an indication of whether or not you have the right mindset to reach success.

How To Use The 'Athlete's Mindset' In Business

  1. Show Up Every Day, Even When You Don't Feel Like It- To be successful as an athlete or a business person, you have to come to work every single day despite how you feel. Competition is always lurking around the corner and the one thing you don't want to do is miss out on any opportunity because you felt like taking the day off. Cal Ripken, who holds the record for the most consecutive baseball games played at 2,632, was supposedly once asked why he played through injuries, sicknesses and other issues that could have prevented him from playing on any given night and he responded by saying "Any day could have been my greatest day playing the game." You never want to miss out on an opportunity because you didn't feel like showing up that day. This doesn't mean you have to go 110% every single day and burn yourself out. That is unrealistic. But show up, even on the hard days. Do something that allows you to get better. Even if it's small, that is still pushing you toward your long-term goals. You will thank yourself in the future.
  2. Take Your Losses & Move On- The inevitable truth about life is that you will lose somehow, someday. It's not about losing though. It's all about if you can bounce back after you fail. Athletes understand that losing is a part of the journey and that you can never dwell on your losses. In business, you will get rejected all of the time, especially when you are starting out. There will be times when nothing seems to be going right and you will ask yourself plenty of times "why am I even wasting my time doing this?!" Those rejections and small defeats are minor when it comes to the big picture. Keep your focus on the long-term goal and keep working. Don't let small defeats consume you. Remember that the journey wouldn't be as meaningful if you didn't have those small obstacles to bounce back from.
  3. Celebrate Small Wins, But Always Be Ready For Your Next Opportunity- When you do win, you have to celebrate and praise yourself. It's ok to take some time to observe the small wins. Don't pop all of the champagne yet though. You haven't reached what you set out to do, but if you get featured in a major publication, or land a big client, those are small confidence boosters that you should recognize because that gives you the motivation to keep doing what you're doing. It reassures that you are on the right path especially if you don't see those wins often. Always take the time to acknowledge a step in the right direction, but stay on your toes because your next opportunity is always around the corner.

Taking the athlete's mindset to business is crucial to achieving long term results. The ability to show up, to bounce back after defeat and preparing for the next opportunity all are essential elements to being successful in any business.

You might not be able to use any of your athletic skills in the entrepreneurial world, but the mentality that you need to approach your business with every day is the same one that is used in sports and it is why you will eventually reach any goal that you set out to achieve.

Malcolm Lemmons is an athlete turned entrepreneur, author and speaker. Now, he focuses on helping elite level athletes navigate through the various stages of their athletic careers and life after sports. To check out more from Malcolm, visit or connect with him on Twitter & Instagram

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