We constantly use sporting analogies and quotes to inspire us in life and business, but why do we stop there? Why don’t we take so many of the other great attributes from the sporting arena to our businesses such as goal-setting, planning, focus, commitment, teamwork, sacrifice, adaptability, risk mitigation, celebration of success – the list could go on forever!
I am often amazed by how professional and serious some people take their sporting endeavours, especially compared to how some entrepreneurs run their business. I encourage you all to go down to a local high school footy game on the weekend and you could get a bit of a surprise and a wake-up call on how unprofessional your business may be in comparison.
I am personally quite in touch with this as I have just experienced it firsthand.
On Sunday I completed the Three Peaks Challenge, which was a 235 km bike race in the Falls Creek and Mount Hotham area. It was one of the toughest personal endeavours I have ever undertaken. When you spend 10 hours in the saddle you have a lot of time to think and reflect. I spent a lot of time thinking about how much went into attempting this goal and in hindsight I can now see that there was next to no chance that I wasn’t going to complete this goal. I wonder how many people can say that about their business goals?
It may sound a little arrogant of me to say that there was no chance of me not reaching this goal, especially when it is known to be a very hard race (I had 15 guys initially plan to do it but only three of us got to the start line), but I am happy to say it because I am hoping to share some business lessons I learnt from it with you.
I believe it is because I had all of the following:
Belief: When I set this massive goal, even though I knew it would be extremely tough, I always believed I could do it. It is amazing how many businesses set goals without getting the entire team believing in them. One of my favourite sayings is that “you need to believe in order to see”.
A plan: I worked back from the finish line and thought of everything that I needed to do from day 1. This meant that I could plan my life around what I needed to do.
A great coach: I was very lucky to work with Conan Daley from Leadout Cycling who customised a program around my hectic schedule and gave me constant advice on how I could get better and smash my goal. He also checked my progress and made me very accountable, which I could not have done on my own. All the best entrepreneurs and businesses have coaches and advisers, so if you don’t have one, ask yourself why not.
Expert advice: When my coach and I identified areas that I could do better in, we sought out other specialists who could assist in that particular area. In business it is important to have a generalist as your coach but you need to ensure they don’t try to be a “jack of all trades”. Look for someone who is confident enough to refer you to other professionals if and when the need arises.
The best equipment and technology: I worked very closely with David Ross and Darren Rutherford from Giant to ensure I had the appropriate gear so I could perform at my best. It is very important to differentiate between the best and the most expensive in business. Giant is not the most expensive, but it is by far the best value; make sure you look for this attribute in everything you use in your business.
An accountability partner: I can definitely contribute part of my goal success to my mate and WE member Jesse Winderbank. Whenever I felt like having a morning off or having a boozy night, he would remind me of my goal. I strongly encourage you to find another entrepreneur who is driven and wanting to achieve big goals as well and make regular meetings where you share your progress.
Expectations to meet: We all know that we care what other people think of us, so the best way to play to this is to tell the world about what you are trying to achieve. Everyone knew that I was attempting this goal so during the moments when I thought about not doing it, my ego got the better of me and kept me going and focused.
My loved ones on board: If you don’t have your closest people in your life supporting you with your goal, it is going to make it very difficult, nearly impossible, to succeed as you won’t be able to give it the required time it needs and you also won’t have a very happy life. I know every time I do anything it is only because I have the love and support of Sarah.
A reward: I am currently writing this blog from my hotel room looking out my hotel window of the Las Vegas Strip and I am off to Utah tomorrow to go skiing. By having this reward known from day one, I stayed extremely focused on reaching the goal as I wanted this trip so much.
The curse of the entrepreneur is that you always feel that you could be doing more. However, it is just as important to pat yourself on the back when you do well, as life is short and it is better to be happy than miserable!
Finn Kelly is the CEO and co-founder of award-winning Gen Y financial advisory firm, Wealth Enhancers, along with the parent company, premier private wealth management firm WE Private.