By Jerry Pierce Jr.
I love sports. I often use examples from sports in my business. Strategies, attitudes, and actions that are used in sports can be successfully applied to business. The sport that I have practiced the most is football. I competed at the college level with Dartmouth College, winning an Ivy League championship and being named the team’s most valuable player. I also hold the record for the most tackles in the history of the school. My experience with sports has taught me that winning teams and individuals develop certain habits or characteristics that become engrained into their persona. These winning characteristics can be adapted to business and bring the same victories and success to the boardroom that we see on our sports fields and arenas each week. The following are 6 characteristics of a winner that I have experienced in sports that can be adopted for successful outcomes in business.
1. No Limits
Winners don’t put limitations on themselves. Winners don’t believe that there is a limit to how far they can go. People are often impressed when they hear of my records of 387 tackles in my college career and 35 tackles in a single game. The truth is that I never noticed nor focused on the significance of these numbers. I simply wanted to be in on every tackle. I had no preset limit on how many tackles I could make. Winners focus on what they can do and not on what they can’t. Most remember the example of Roger Bannister who broke the four minute mile barrier when doing so was believed to be a physical impossibility. Within a few months ten others had accomplished the feat. Everything is impossible until someone does it!
2. Fast Learners
For winners there is no such thing as failure because every experience, good or bad, is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow. Everyone is unexperienced at something at some point in their life. The winner knows that the key is to learn from every situation and to learn fast. Often in sports and business things move quickly and those who can absorb and adapt new information expeditiously will have the upper hand.
3. No Dwelling on the Negative
Winners do not dwell on the negative. They understand the difference between dwelling on the negative and remembering the negative. As I’ve already mentioned, winners learn from everything, even when things don’t turn out as planned. But, when winners experience the pain of defeat, they use it as powerful motivation to improve. Winners try to find what’s RIGHT with the situation and to build on it. When they think back on their past they tend to remember things in a good light and with a positive slant.
4. No Panic
Winners do not panic. In fact, the more dire the situation, the more calm and focused they become. The winner’s brain kicks into auto mode when confronting a stressful experience quickly assessing the situation while considering the options. The winner elevates to a higher level where the solutions become more apparent. Winners also know that they are being observed by their teammates and that any irrational responses based on panic can flow to others causing confusion, loss of confidence and defeat.
5. Refuse To Lose
Winners don’t take ‘NO’ for an answer. They refuse to lose. There are no dead ends. They know that a way will open up. They focus on solutions and alternatives. Before a door closes they are already searching for another. This is how winners pull victory out of the jaws of defeat over and over again.Consider the example of the Kanas City Royals in game 5 of this year’s World Series. Behind 2-0 to the New York Mets going into the last inning, their demeanor was not one of a team that was on the verge of defeat.