As I watched the recent coverage of the Summer Olympics in London, I couldn’t help thinking how the entrepreneurs of our world have much in common with the world-class athletes we watched compete for two weeks. I’m sure some of you are wondering how I could even attempt to compare the two, but upon further contemplation, you might see the similarities yourself. But, for those of you who can’t seem to connect the two, allow me to elaborate.
There’s no denying that to win a medal, abolish a world record and travel thousands of miles to represent your country requires an immense amount of dedication. Hours of training, gallons of sweat and even some tears have been invested in the journey that culminates at an international event held only every four years.
Likewise, bright-eyed entrepreneurs seeking to get their companies or ideas off of the ground, they must invest hours upon hours of work, research and essentially “training” before giving it a go. They attend rigorous classes, study the market and watch their competition all while maintaining their everyday lives—that sounds like dedication to me.
Neither party lets people or events distract them from their purpose. They’ve set their mind to do something, so they must follow through. That’s an admirable trait no matter what you’re doing.
The main driver for many of the competing athletes, is an unyielding, relentless passion for what they’re doing. No matter the sport or activity—volleyball, gymnastics, water polo, etc., the individuals on the playing field all have a love for what they’re doing. It completes their lives.
Similarly, an entrepreneur pursues his or her idea because it’s something they can’t quit thinking about. They feel a certain draw to it and find it consuming most of the thoughts they have throughout the day. No matter the industry, odds are entrepreneurs have their potential business on the brain a majority of the time. They eat, sleep and dream it, all the while knowing no one else could possibly understand their preoccupation with the subject.
If that doesn’t sound like two peas in a pod, I don’t know what does.
They Aren’t Afraid of Failure
Before being declared the “best in the world” odds are that hurdler, or pole vaulter or swimmer failed miserably. Sure, they may have always possessed a certain natural talent, but they have all most likely encountered someone who was bigger, better, stronger than them. But they never let it discourage them—they just worked harder.
Entrepreneurs are much the same. We’ve all heard the stories of the humble beginnings of great companies like Microsoft, Apple and Virgin Mobile. Their success was not achieved over night, but rather through trial and error. Their leaders failed and made mistakes. But, they also took the time to LEARN from these mistakes so they could make improvements where necessary. Tell me that doesn’t sound an awful lot like the habits of an Olympian.
So, although the London games may have run their course, we must not forget about the “Olympians” we have around us every day. The recent college grads looking to start a business, the brave professionals venturing out on their own to follow their dreams, the Olympic spirit can be seen in all of them, and should be celebrated.
Karen Smith is a freelance writer and business blogger whose primary goal is to inform her readers about pursuing a business degree online. She also enjoys writing about small business trends, Internet marketing, personal development, and sustainable living. Karen welcomes your comments below.