The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are officially underway. That means the next few weeks will be filled with jaw-dropping gymnastic stunts, shattered swimming records, and women’s soccer doing their thing. As a nation, we idolize athletes for their hard work and sheer talent.
But there’s another group in the U.S. whose dedication rivals that of Olympic athletes — entrepreneurs. Don’t think so? Bear with me. Here are a few reasons why Olympians and small business owners are two birds of a feather.
Dedication to Craft
When an athlete decides to go for the gold, it’s the only thing on their mind. They train with a singular focus that’s unparalleled — except, of course, by entrepreneurs. While Olympians rise before the sun to begin training, business owners are spending countless hours at the office.
Whether they’re working long and hard on a new venture or building up a side hustle around their current 9-5, entrepreneurs are on the grind from morning until… really early the following morning. They don’t let an 8-hour day at the office drain motivation to work on their side business at night.
Passion for Excellence
What separates a great athlete from an Olympian? The inability to accept ‘good enough.’ Whether it’s a broken record or being the best in their area, Olympians are never satisfied — they’re always pushing to be faster, stronger, better the next time.
Entrepreneurs are the same, continuously striving for more efficient ways to run their business, more customers, higher revenue. Olympians go to bed at night thinking I’ve done great. I’ll do better tomorrow, and business owners think in similar ways — always reaching and working toward progress.
Olympic athletes may train alone or with other athletes, but they’ll always come together to compete. Just as entrepreneurs spar with competing companies and products, athletes are coming together this month to compete for the world’s top honor.
They’re driven to perform better than anyone else, and they use competition to spur even more progress and push them ever closer to excellence. Athletes and entrepreneurs even compete against themselves, always striving for improvement and progress against yesterday’s performance.
Willingness to Do What Works
Both Olympians and entrepreneurs have set a goal and are constantly driving toward it. But another thing they have in common is that they’re both flexible about how to get there.
If you visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, you’ll hear about how champion swimmer Michael Phelps brought an air mattress to the simulation room. He slept in there with the conditions set to sea level elevation — because our bodies heal faster at sea level.
Entrepreneurs share that kind of ingenuity and willingness to do what works. Sleeping on an air mattress inside the training center might not be what Phelps had in mind, but he went with it because it helped him jump one step closer to achieving his goals.
Go for the Gold
Whether you’re training for Rio 2016 or grinding away in your new business, it can be easy to get discouraged. So entrepreneurs: just remember you have the heart of an Olympian, and keep pushing forward. Your business will thank you.
What other similarities do you see between entrepreneurs and Olympic athletes?