YOUNG BLACK ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE
THE SPRING FORWARD ISSUE
Being a professional athlete is one of the shortest lived careers around, but it provides a platform unparalleled
by most careers! In today’s sports-crazed world, top athletes become household names for their athletic prowess on the court or field, and this opens the door for many other opportunities.
Surprisingly, 21st century athletes are gaining as much, if not more recognition for their entrepreneurship and business savvy than athletes before this era. History has shown that if properly supported, a pro athlete can become a phenomenon in the business world through product endorsements to personalized apparel, and multi-million dollar investment companies. Fortunately, there are similar mindsets shared by athletes and entrepreneurs that contribute to becoming successful:
1. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Everyone knows that part of being a pro athlete is knowing that failure is temporary. You have to be able to take it in stride, make the adjustment, and move on until you succeed! Same holds true in business! WD-40 serves as the perfect example. The rust prevention and degreasing agent got its name after 39 failed attempts.
2. Teamwork makes the dream work! In order to be a successful athlete, you have to understand your role on the team! There is strength in being able to take direction, being a leader and doing what is best for the group. These same attributes are important for the business world. Everyone, from the CEO to the graphic designer to the public relations person, has to operate at his or her maximum capacity in order to be successful.
3. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! A game plan is necessary in any sport. Knowing your opponent, understanding their strengths and weaknesses is vital to your success. In the business world, knowing one’s competitors is vital when developing your competitive advantage. Being able to plan gives you a decided advantage. There is no way to
guarantee success, but you can definitely give yourself a fighting chance by preparing a game plan.
4. Patience is a virtue! The world often sees the end result of the professional athlete – the glitz and glamour that comes with having “made it.” Very seldom is the entire story told about how long it took, the unlimited sacrifices, and the
pressures that are involved in this process. As an entrepreneur, there are so many success stories that started off as horror stories. Being able to push through is a must! There have been many stories of athletes who have successfully made
the transition, and even more that have not. I’ve always said that you must possess a certain amount of arrogance to make it to the highest level of competitive sports. However, what some may see as arrogance is a healthy degree of confidence needed by every entrepreneur. In my personal journey as an entrepreneur, I have had to make several adjustments to
balance arrogance and confidence. Though my vision for my company may be clear, I have to make sure that
I mentally prepare myself for each task, because I am operating outside of my comfort zone. I tend to beat myself up and replay my faults. So, visualization and a step by step plan where I can measure accomplishments are vital to maintaining my confidence and not getting down on myself.
I have also learned to trust my inner coach. The mental capacity to encourage myself, especially after I have made a bad decision, makes it more likely for me to succeed. The most efficient way for me to reach a certain level of success is to have a strategy that will help me focus and maximize relationships and opportunities. Because I know I am operating in
my passion, I am confident that I will stay motivated and hopefully join the success stories of athletes who have made great transitions into the business world.