How Sport Will Always Be A School of Life (And Business)

Epic fail: my favorite soccer team, Chelsea, has lost tonight -in the Champion’s League race- against a 10-Man PSG. We were playing at home, we were strong, we had one of the best manager in the world, we outnumbered them… How was it possible? Another situation of epic failure: I went biking and climbing that hill was so hard that I ended up exhausted on the side of the road with my wind pipe on fire. I’m young, athletic and strong. how was it possible?

Let me tell you why business leaders care about sport:

1- Passion starts with simple questions

I’m talking about football now but I wasn’t a fan years ago. I really didn’t care. Once I started paying attention to players, the transfers, the rumors, I was in. You pick a team based on its story, its players, the challenges won and those to come. But first you have to sit down and ask: why would I spend my time watching 11 men running in a pitch chasing a ball for 90 minutes? Well, have you seen how beautiful that grass is? Have you heard the chanting of thousands supporters? Feel the frenzy, it’s fascinating. Sport is not about basic stuff, it’s about dreaming. Start thinking about the real values of your craft, they are invisible but show them to your audience in a beautiful story form.

2- Learn everyday, out of your comfort zone

We are all different. The point is: are you willing to learn from other people different than you? You learn from your clients, their field of work is different than yours. If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you’ll become a commodity and money / hypocrisy is the king in that realm. Try and experiment new things, be open to know what drives people heart because you need it to succeed. You need to know your opponent to overcome the challenges they throw at you. The next time somebody invites you to share a sport experience, say yes and ask “where will we meet?” With a smile. If they don’t invite, you just ask them what’s their favorite sport. Be fascinated.

3- Rethink your strategy

When the referee calls the halftime it’s to allow the players to have some rest. 90% of that time will be spend over the next strategy to take. You need to stop and think when things are getting out of control, instead of keep going with a flat tire. Take a piece of paper out and write down the actions you did this month, write the feedbacks from your favorite clients and prospects, and then adjust.

4- Persevere

It’s never over until…there’s just one goalkeeper facing 11 men. Accept the twist of fate that is failure, with calm and good temper. If you lose it, things will get worse and that’s not what you want. The mindset is everything, when I find myself on the side of the road with my bike on the floor, it’s not because my legs are broken; I allowed my mind to make me think that my legs were giving up, that I needed water , that I was sweating too much, that I needed a shower and I was hungry and I couldn’t wait to go back home. These are voices pushed in my head by my mind. The call of the comfort zone is so strong. Please do yourself a favor, use that app called Wunderlist (Available on iOS and Windows desktop). Set reasonable goals to yourself and set checkpoints that lead to them. Read that list everyday. Read about your past achievements everyday to cheer you up.

In conclusion, regarding that Chelsea’s loss, I guess many players will not sleep tonight, some will celebrate and some will turn in their bed. But tomorrow everybody will go back to the training session for another match to play. That’s sport, it means business.


A Blessing In Disguise

A pastor used to preach in a small house surrounded by skyscrapers in a city. Tired of the routine, stress and monotony, he decided to ask his congregation for a permission to go and evangelize more people in the remote regions of the country. So he went to a village and settled there.

A jungle populated by wild animals where the villages are very far from each other. When he left his home the sky was darkening. So he decided to pray to keep the rain from falling on him and his equipment, nothing’s changed. He then began to recite not one but several prayers, still nothing; the situation got even worse. He decided to kneel and pray harder and then the sky rumbled louder and a torrential rain stroke him. He got angry and full of hatred against this “God” who was deaf to his prayers.

As he fought his way through the jungle, still growling spiteful words, a man emerged from the bushes. He carried a gun. The pastor was afraid, but the stranger reassured him and said, “Pastor you are blessed.” “W-Why?” he asked. “Because jealous people in the city you came from sent me there to kill you. You are truly blessed because when I wanted to light a match and pull the trigger it started raining…I never saw a rain like this” The pastor looked closer at the gun and it was a gunpowder pistol. On these words, the stranger smiled and walked away, as if to say “Ponder this”.

If you had a bad day, things are not going your way, you’re feeling low and discouraged; may be you should get it together and take a look closer: what you’re calling “bad luck” actually is a blessing in disguise.