Here are a few things you can learn from business:
- Collaboration- Business is built around partnerships and collaboration. Many times you will see competitors in business partnering together if it makes business sense and they can create a profitable return. In martial arts, I see a tendency in to be protective, selfish, and isolated. Look for opportunities to train with the best in the business. Yes it’s important to have a team, read http://coachmattlindland.com/2012/04/love-your-team/ and I’ve spoke extensively on the subject. You also should always cross train with other individuals and other coaches. There might be a wrestling coach that teaches at another gym just down the street, seek him out if he is good. Maybe there are some pro boxers across town that you can get rounds with. I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to train with so many greats who I can also call friends. BJ Penn, The Pit Master John Hackelman and Chuck Liddell. Additionally, American Top Team Coach Ricardo Liborio has welcomed me into his gym on multiple occasions as well as Coach Cesar Gracie and his team, who I met back in 1995 when I was still wrestling.
- Excellence- If a business doesn’t create a great product, no one will buy from them and they will go out of business. If you aren’t good at what you do, whether a designer, or consultant, or restaurant owner, or truck driver, then you won’t last. Sometimes in sports there can be tendency to make excellence a low level priority, and we don’t demand that our team members and coaches constantly get better. Don’t be afraid to ask your coaches to get involved in helping you create excellence in what you do. You need to be proactive and ask your coaches and team mates to point out your mistakes and shortcomings. As an athlete you need someone with an outside perspective looking over what you do. You might not always like what you hear, but if excellence is your goal you need to ask.
- Execution- The business world is built on “getting things done on time” and “doing things right.” Without these as a core values, businesses would fail. Athletes can learn heaps regarding execution from the business leaders. If you are running your career like a business, then you would never miss a scheduled practice or training session. You wouldn’t dream of showing up late unprepared for training. This is your time be at work, get out early and stretch, focus and prepare for the training ahead. Never leave until the training is complete, and don’t be afraid to stay late and put in the extra time. There are no shortcuts to a place worth going.
- Measure success- Businesses measure their success mostly based on return on investment- the idea of creating a profit. There are definitely other factors, but that one is key. You have to measure your success in order to know if you’ve accomplished your mission. Competition is the athletes measuring stick and you need to put the time and work in required to guarantee victory when you step in the ring or on the mat. Everyday check your list. Did you get everything done you need to do to guarantee success? Did you get 8-9 hours of sleep? Did you put the right food/fuel in your body? Did you get your extra conditioning in? Don’t miss something that could hinder the success of your business.