What can business learn from sport?
We asked Piotr Bieliński, former professional athlete, and today the President of ACTION S.A. and businessman nominated for the title of Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 in the E&Y contest, if and how sport helped him succeed in business. You will find the answer in the following article.
1. Consistency and patience
The most important thing sport taught me is consistency. Success likes the persistent. The hardest one-off effort will bring sweat, but it won’t build condition, which counts the most at the start of a big race. Likewise in business. We can sign one big contract, but this is not enough. You need to invest in one’s development and lasting success. Not only money but also time. The sum of small steps can give you more than a couple of enthusiastic outbursts. Especially today, many young people are focused on quick results. If they don’t see results right away, they give up and look for something new. Such a moment determines whether someone has the tenacity necessary to achieve the set objective, and ultimately to succeed. Anyone can give up, but to go stubbornly towards your own vision - it is art.
2. Focusing on result
It is difficult to achieve a goal if you don’t have one. It was only when I know that next year I want to be in the top 10 cyclists during the World Cup can I set my activities for this goal - a proper diet, training schedule, which will help me to achieve what I want. When taking any action, we must have the ultimate goal to which we want to strive in the back of our mind. It is important to think long-distance. How can a contract signed today, momentary success, affect us in the broader perspective?
Everyone wants to be first. But the number of places on the podium is limited. You have to be able to cope with failure both in business and in sport. I noticed a certain relationship in my behaviour. If something doesn’t go my way in business, it activates new layers of enthusiasm and creativity. I think I gained this determination and strength from sport. If I lose today, ambition must force me to make an effort that will get me back in the game.
4. Joy of actions
Even just training, and not only the result, can bring joy. Endorphins wind me up to face new challenges. Likewise, business, a positive mania for what one does is essential. If you get joy out of it at the stage of just creating the business, good energy winds you up, it gives courage and infects the team to act. Without passion for what you do, there’s no point in thinking about success. In my case, business was derived from fascination with computer games. I wanted to earn for my own hobby. Today, I am the president not only of Action S.A., but also Action Games Lab, where we release mobile games. I’ve always got my tablet on hand with my favourite game. In the world ranking Castle Clash I was in the top hundred. I simply like what I do. I test the games we create - could there be anything better?
5. Acceptance of imperfections
Every athlete has weaknesses which not even the toughest training will eliminate, and perfect preparation for competitions does not exist. This does not mean that it will stop them from participation. The most valuable experience is brought by mere participation in competitions. It is similar in business. You have to put maximum effort into the process preparing to launch another project, but remember that we will not eliminate all risks. You cannot wait forever to solve all the problems. Many of them are much easier to solve by acting now, because the perfect moment may never come. Many fantastic opportunities passed right under people’s noses, because they were looking for reasons that would cause things to go wrong, and not ways in which to overcome any adversity.
6. Analysis of the opponent
The foundation of preparing for another game, especially in sport, is the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. Only with this knowledge can we plan our own strategy. Also in business it is hard to imagine entering the proverbial pitch without familiarizing yourself with the tactics, weaknesses and advantages of our market competitor. Because the more I know about the business environment in which I operate, the more I know about myself. This is also how we learn where our competition does not exist yet, because first come is first served. Both in sport and in business.
Before competitions, the time to gather strength before the start is the most important. Clearing one's mind. Concentrating. Rest. Rehabilitation. You cannot always work at 200%. Business is made by people. After an intense time, we should be able to rest, take time to recover, which will allow us to strike with double force.