Do you remember the very first time you played your favorite sport in competition? Whether it’s just on the playground in elementary school competing against your classmates or in your backyard playing against an older sibling – do you remember that feeling? Were you nervous or rambunctious? Greedy or suspicious?
If you’re like me, that was all of the above. I also had the same emotions starting my first business as an entrepreneur. At first, there was anxiety. Immediately followed by excitement.
After years of studying the mindset of senior executives and professional athletes, I have found that they share a parallel mindset to help them overcome any obstacles (you can adopt this mindset and do the same).
As a passionate NBA fan, I absolutely hated every time my Golden State Warriors played against a Los Angeles Lakers team led by Kobe Bryant. It’s because I knew Kobe’s will to win was manic. I knew Kobe was ready to outdo his opponents to win.
Kobe also had the discipline to outdo any competitor. That’s because he studied his opponents on film for hours – something most of his contemporaries were unwilling to do. Going into every game my Warriors played against the Lakers, I knew Kobe wouldn’t come into the game tired and slow because he had partied the night before (something I couldn’t say about of my Warriors at the time).
As an entrepreneur, Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs had an identical approach to Kobe’s, but to business. Jobs had a relentless work ethic. He was known to work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. This has led it to outperform its competitors… as well as its own staff.
Both men were so determined to succeed that they often challenged those on their own team who they felt did not have a strong enough work ethic to help them win – while demanding them to perform better. These motivational tactics led the two to lead their teams to the top of their respective industries.
The most successful athletes and entrepreneurs who lead their organization to victory understand the importance of a strong team. And they know how to get the most out of their teammates.
Whether it’s being vocally demanding like Bryant and Jobs. Or take a more uplifting and encouraging approach like future basketball Hall of Famer Lebron James and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is known to do; great performers, both in business and in sport, know how to inspire their teams to achieve their goals.
Whether you are a 5’3 point guard trying to reach the NBA; or a founder of a startup on a shoestring looking to give Amazon a run for its money, you probably share the same mindset as all the best entrepreneurs and top performing athletes – competitive resilience.
It takes a lot of confidence to step onto a playing field where you are clearly at a disadvantage. However, many great athletes and entrepreneurs are successful in their respective fields using their competitive resilience as fuel – despite the odds being stacked against them.
Two examples of competitive resilience fueling success despite obstacles are NFL running back Tarik Cohen and FUBU founder/Shark aquarium executive producer / panelist Daymond John.
At 5’6,179 lbs., Cohen is currently the shortest player in the NFL. Yet despite his stark disadvantage and coming from a small college – Cohen was voted All-NFL First Team (and reached the NFC Pro Bowl) in 2018. An honor reserved for the best players in the world. NFL.
Daymond John has a similar story of David versus Goliath. After realizing a lack of clothing specifically adapted to hip hop culture; John started the clothing line FUBU in his living room in Queens, NY, making tie hats on a budget of $ 40 (really folks, FUBU started with just $ 40!).
John, along with his childhood friends Carlton Brown, J. Alexander Brown and Keith Perrin, sold the tie hats on the streets of New York for $ 10 apiece. As a result of their hard work, the clothing line John had wished for existed – became a reality that he created.
Today, John is a serial entrepreneur worth an estimated $ 350 million, and FUBU has sales of over $ 6 billion worldwide.
How to use competitive resilience as fuel
Whether you are a novice golfer about to play a round on the course against an expert who has won several golf tournaments; or if you are the owner of a small scale t-shirt business looking to be the next Ralph Lauren or Rosalia Mera. Competitive resilience can be used as fuel to help you overcome fears or obstacles that you will no doubt encounter in your mission as an entrepreneur or athlete.
In his book, Shoe dog, Nike Co-founder Phil Knight said, “The art of competition is the art of forgetting. You have to forget your limits. You must forget your doubts. Your pain. Your past. Your inner voice crying out, begging – not one more step. And when it is not possible to forget it, you have to negotiate with it.
Competitive resilience is simply a state of mind. The belief that you can achieve your goals regardless of your size, status, finances or the size of your opponent. It’s the eagerness to tackle any task that excites you with the confidence that no one else can stop you from achieving your goals.
Not everyone can be as tall or athletic as the late Kobe Bryant. Neither can we be as bright as the late Steve Jobs. But we can all have their competitive and resilient approach to life. It doesn’t require winning the genetic lottery at birth or having a Mensa level IQ. The only costs required are effort and persistence towards your goals. Which is a cost we can all afford – and well worth the investment.
Originally posted here.