Psychological techniques used by elite athletes to lift achievement levels are being adopted by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, suggesting small business owners should look to their favourite sportspeople for more than entertainment alone. The traits that could create success in business are explored below.

Set clear goals

Athletes continually bounce back from setbacks. We’ve seen Mitchell Johnson’s revival lead the Aussies to some much needed cricket success. Geoff Heugill bounced back to win Gold at the Commonwealth Games after suffering a downhill spiral that saw him gain almost 50 kilograms. What’s the secret? Goal setting. Athletes set clear goals and have determination to achieve them.

Setting clear goals allows you to focus on the task at hand, making you capable of downplaying distractions. There’s no point being busy in the business world if what’s keeping you occupied isn’t delivering results. Take the time to set clear goals or deadlines that allow you to focus your energy and contribute to the growth of your business.

Be focused

Roger Federer executes unplayable forehands during vital points in championship matches, as if they were normal stroke. How does he perform so well and so consistently under pressure? The answer is he is focused. Such focus allows him to execute the basics under immense pressure.

Athlete’s can only control their performance, and you can only control your business. While athletes may look to the technique of others to improve their personal performance, they do not get intimidated by the competition.

Focus on your work and do not be too concerned with that of your peers. This focus will not only increase your productivity, but also your confidence, resulting in higher levels of achievement within your workplace.

Be open-minded

How many top class athletes do you see out there unwilling to take the advice of others? While you may not have a ‘coach’ in the business world, to be successful you need to take constructive criticism and ask for help when it’s needed.

Getting a fresh perspective on your business can be as easy as talking to your peers, attending courses and seminars, or finding a mentor or business coach. Having a commitment to lifelong learning is essential if you want your business to flourish.

Enjoy the competition

Like athletes, you can choose how you react to tough competition. You can either let it cause you stress, or you can turn it into healthy competition by using it as a source of motivation. Whatever you do, don’t get too carried away with what others are doing because in the end, you’re only really competing against yourself. Enjoy the wins, learn from the losses, and enjoy the game!

Develop the right mindset

How often do you see athletes listening to music as they wait for a race or sit in the dressing rooms waiting for kick off? They put themselves in the right state of mind before they go out and perform or participate in something that they could have been waiting years for.

Do you go to every meeting with the right mind set? Do you prepare yourself for your business day in a positive way? Perhaps you should consider preparing a list of daily affirmations, or read books and articles about people in business you admire. Alternatively, listening to motivational audio books is a brilliant way to use commuter time effectively. Find something that puts you in a positive frame of mind and utilise it to achieve a higher level of achievement in your workplace.

Not only can your favourite athlete keep you entertained every weekend or every four years, your favourite athlete can help drive your business to success. Elite athletes don’t become elite because they were born with natural ability; they have used psychological techniques to give themselves a competitive edge. There’s no reason you can’t do the same.

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