Why Athletes Are More Successful When It Comes To Business

by Brandon Ochoa

When it comes to business, most people have one end goal in mind: win.

Winning means something different to each person, whether it be to reach the top 1 percent in an industry, perform at a higher level than coworkers or simply to be a leader to surrounding people.

One thing these definitions have in common is that they come from within the goal setter. To be successful in business, you need to set goals.

You need to be able to formulate a plan around how to accomplish those goals, and if you don’t know how to achieve your goals, you will not win.

I believe people who have been involved in athletics in their lives are better suited for success in the business world.

If you look around at the people in the business department in your college, I bet most participated in a sport up until they arrived, and many probably participate on intramural sports teams.

Athletes know what it means to win. They have been bred to set goals and to craft plans on how to achieve them. Most importantly, athletes are mentally tough. 

There are other ways to develop mental toughness while growing up, but none as apparent as in an athlete who has developed mental toughness by giving it his or her all while running sweet-sixteens in order to be the first to cross the finish line and be able to rest while everyone else keeps running.

Athletes are conditioned to be rewarded for working hard and benefitting from a reward more than the average individual.

That reason alone is enough to produce an order-following, pencil-pushing corporate employee. 

But there is more.

Athletes not only know how to work harder, but they know how to work smarter, too.

Any team sport requires the ongoing cooperation of everyone on the field, and whether you were the team captain or not, each person needs to learn how to communicate effectively to another teammate in order to reach goals.

This is exactly what employers are looking for when they hire you: someone who can fit in, communicate effectively and contribute to the company’s success.

Of course, not every athlete can be on a winning team, but this doesn’t take away the passion each individual has to be the best.

Luckily, for those of us who did reach the highest level in sports, we were still winners.

We were still constantly coming out on top, constantly being conditioned to have a "be the best" mindset.

Employers want to hire winners with winning mentalities, and there is no easier place to find these people than in sports.

One of the byproducts of reaching the top level in your sport is that you became a perfectionist in your training; you played and certain outcomes were expected.

This, paired with your drive to achieve your goals, will evolve into your professional career as the employee who is first to arrive and last to leave.

You know that the only way you can reach the top is by working harder than everyone else.

Just like those sweet sixteens, the extra work you put in will also be the reason why you are relaxing on the sidelines and everyone else is still working his or her ass off.

There is a reason why one of every successful entrepreneurs' favorite piece of advice is to exercise.

Not only will this keep you healthy, fresh and confident, but it will also force you to keep pushing yourself physically and mentally.

Athletes are already in the habit of doing this, so it is easier for them to continue to do it even with a busy schedule.

If you've read this far and are not an athlete, my advice to you (as per every millionaire ever) is start exercising. It will help you become successful.

The best personification of this principle is the upcoming HBO series, “Ballers,” starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which follows an ex-NFL player and his journey as he becomes a financial manager for wealthy clients.

As the trailer puts it best, "Legends don’t retire, they reinvent.”

As an athlete, the best way to reinvent is to go make a success of yourself in the business world by continuing to strive for excellence.