Dan Lok / How Competitive Sports Develop The World’s Strongest Leaders
"Whether it’s sports or business, it’s the mental game that counts. Because your body is controlled by your mind, you have to imagine that your brain is the main core system, and what you believe in your mind enables you to produce great results"
Did you know that competitive sports can sometimes show us the world’s strongest leaders? Are you wondering how competitive sports shape and develop a strong leader? Perhaps you’re wondering, what do sports have to do with being a leader?
Well, competitive sports develop the strongest leaders in the world. Why? Because sports are highly competitive and by nature, they push people to achieve more than their rivals. A person playing competitive sports will vigorously train to be a winner. Playing sports also provides opportunities for developing leadership skills.
Competitive sports enable people to function effectively while developing confidence and making quick decisions. On top of that, competitive sports also encourage other elements of skills that I’ll be discussing shortly.
You see, when in a crisis situation, effective leaders recognise when to behave decisively. With that said, when it comes to teams and competitive sports, it involves developing a strategy to win.
To be good at competitive sports, you need to have the ability to focus and be in the zone. Competitive sports help you get in the zone and get into a winner’s mindset.
Playing and coaching competitive sports also arms people with the traits of being respectful among other competitors, the ability to identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as managing time effectively.
Research demonstrates that competing in sports builds certain transferable skills which can result in becoming a strong leader. Approximately 75% of people who played competitive sports believed that it gave them skills and capabilities in their workplace as well, and 40% of employers support their employees in participating in competitive sports.
Be conscious of your own thought processes
Whether it’s sports or business, it’s the mental game that counts. Because your body is controlled by your mind, you have to imagine that your brain is the main core system, and what you believe in your mind enables you to produce great results.
Some people are gifted with great leadership skills. But what’s important here is, you must become conscious of your own thought processes, and develop a leader’s mindset.
Competitive sports enable you to execute both your mental and physical potential. Sports can help you become aware of your subconscious thoughts, and your inner motivators.
For example, let’s say you’re going to a competition. If you believe that you’re not as good as others, your subconscious mind will constantly remind you of what you believe. So, if you keep thinking that you’re not good enough-you will not be good enough.
Because you carry those thoughts with you all the time, instead of winning the game, you lose.
Now, let’s turn it around. Let’s say you have more positive thoughts such as, “I am going to win.” Your beliefs lead you to a certain way of thinking which in turn, produces results.
Therefore, it’s important to always think of winning, rather than worrying about losing.
So, how can competitive sports develop the strongest leaders in the world?
Teamwork is one of the basic skills required for any competitive sport. It gives people the motivation needed during a game or a competition. With that said, participants will do their part by assisting the team to reach their collective goal.
Leaders that are involved in competitive sports must develop team-building skills. And great leaders inspire others by focusing on achieving objectives or common goals.
On another note, it’s not as easy as it seems when it comes to building a top-performing team. Company executives need to establish a good vision and hire talented employees for this. The same goes for a leader that’s coaching a team of competitive sports players.
With practice of good teamwork, you’ll achieve your goals faster. That’s why establishing talented employees, and putting together a great team that works well together, is crucial for success.
But then again, to act as a strong leader, you have to create a team culture that aligns with your vision. A vision that empowers the whole team to take action without hesitation.
"Teamwork is one of the basic skills required for any competitive sport. It gives people the motivation needed during a game or a competition. With that said, participants will do their part by assisting the team to reach their collective goal"
Communication with your team
Communication skills are the most important element when it comes to sports. In fact, communication skills are crucial for anything we do, whether it’s personal or sports or business. So, in competitive sports, when you’ve mastered this skill, it allows you to inspire, motivate, recognise and appreciate the great work of your team.
Most people can speak and communicate just fine. However, it’s the exceptional communicators who stand out and succeed. Being an exceptional communicator requires a special talent. Especially for business owners and corporate professionals.
So, if you’re someone that’s constantly looking at stacking your skills. I highly recommend you to consider learning how to communicate better.
To be a strong leader, finding ways to communicate effectively in any situation will help you succeed in anything you do. Not only will it improve your leadership capacity but also it helps you to be a good listener. On top of that, good communication skills help you persuade your team to perform.
Imagine that you’re a competitive swimmer. You’re underwater a lot, and you might not think communication skills are that important for you. There won’t be any talking while swimming, you’re right, but what about before the race? Competitive swimmers need someone to motivate them with the right words, and that requires communication skills.
Now imagine that you are a coach. You see, when you coach someone, you need to pass on a clear message and motivate them. Your ability to do this affects your team’s performance. That’s why coaches must master communication skills.
When you’re involved in competitive sports, it’ll enhance your decision-making skills because you’re observing and interpreting information and you’re required to make decisions quickly. Competitive sports help you make quick decisions in order to succeed.
What do I mean by a ‘quick’ decision? Let’s take soccer, for example. A player only gets a few seconds to decide who to pass the ball to. You don’t have time to procrastinate in making this decision. If you do, you could cost your team the win.
Sports like soccer, basketball, hockey, fencing, wrestling, and football, require quick-action thinking in order to be win. On top of that, it enables your mind to develop better reflexes and more confidence in making decisions.
But you might have this question in mind: Is this skill learnable? Yes, it’s definitely a learnable skill. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect. So, in anything you do, whether it’s in sports or business, decision-making is crucial for success. As a business owner, making wise decisions quickly could put you on the path to greater success much faster.
Now, let’s say you’re a business owner and you’re wondering how you can learn or practice decision-making skills.
Imagine you have an appointment with a prospect, and this is a new prospect. So, as a business owner or a corporate professional, you must know your product and service at the back of your head. And typically, it involves “communication”. Which means you may have a script ready in your mind. Or maybe not-maybe you just wing it and just go with the flow.
Imagine that if you close the deal, you’re closing a six-figure deal. But what happens when your prospect gives you a bunch of objections? Let me tell you something: Prospects Lie.
So, how can you use the power of quick-thinking to tackle your prospect?
"When you’re involved in competitive sports, it’ll enhance your decision-making skills because you’re observing and interpreting information and you’re required to make decisions quickly. Competitive sports help you make quick decisions in order to succeed"
Dealing with success and failure
Both success and failure have their own advantages. When you accomplished success, be proud and celebrate. And the same goes for failure. Celebrate failure, especially if you learned a valuable lesson. But you might be thinking, why exactly should I celebrate when I fail?
When you fail to succeed, you learn a lot about yourself, your skills, and your capabilities. You learn where you need to improve. And when you set your mind to do better, that’s an incredible shift of mindset.
So, knowing how to deal with success and failure is important. Competitive sports teach you how to be proud of your successes without demeaning your opponents.
Each and every accomplishment requires a certain amount of focus. So, even if you fail at something, you will focus more to do better the next time.
To some people, failure means-they can’t be successful. And if you’re someone who thinks that way, understand that failure is just a temporary setback. You can learn from your mistakes in order to improve as I said earlier.
I’ve mentored over 5,000 students from all over the world and not everyone tastes success overnight-I know I did not… It took me twenty-three years to be a self-made millionaire. I failed in multiple businesses, made wrong decisions but that did not let me down.
So, stay on track and strive for your goals.
Setting and striving for goals
When I get a new mentee, I ask them a lot of these sorts of questions: “What is your goal?”, “How much money do you want to make per month?” and “How much income do you want to earn per year?”
Now you must be answering those questions in your mind.
Most successful people set two different kinds of goals. One type of goal is a short-term goal, and the other is long-term. So, why do you need to set both short and long-term goals? Well, a short-term goal usually can be achieved quicker than a long-term goal.
For example, you want to be the strongest leader in the world. In order to see results, first, you have to acknowledge that you need to take action. And then, you start looking for courses to enrol in. You used your quick-action-thinking skill to make this decision because you want to discover their success and how they implement their strategies for yourself.
So, you keep on stacking your skills, learning from the best of the best-implementing their strategies for your own team and businesses. Because of your quick-action-thinking, you now see success-that’s your short term goal-learning from a mentor.
Once you’ve graduated or completed all the courses you need, now you take control of your life by practising daily-to achieve your long-term goal, which is to be the strongest leader in the world.
Setting goals can be mirrored as your desired improvement. Once you’ve tasted success, you tend to set high goals for yourself. But, don’t be too proud and settle once you think you’ve achieved your goals. That could be dangerous and might jeopardise your future. Therefore, being disciplined is the core of maintaining your success.
Just like any competitive sport, it teaches persistence and consistency.
"Sports bring different challenges, just like in business, you’ll face plenty of different challenges. Not only does it teach you to recognise the challenges at hand, but with your combined quick-action-thinking skill, you’ll be able to tackle those different challenges at the same time"
Tokyo Olympics 2020
Competitive sports force you to be disciplined
Given the points, I spoke about. From “Teamwork” to “Setting goals”-if you have no discipline in anything you do, you’re likely not to see success. But then again, to have the discipline it’s not easy. It requires the right mindset for it.
When you have the right mindset, anything you do flows well and that’s what you want as a leader.
Competitive sports forces you to have the right mindset so that you’re disciplined to learn the skills you need. With that said, to maximise your performance from the learned skill requires a lot of time & preparation.
It takes discipline to improve and excel-success will follow. On top of that, if you have a mentor or a teacher that communicates clearly and concisely-you’ll learn faster. So, how competitive sports can give you the discipline to be the strongest leader in the world?
Sports bring different challenges, just like in business, you’ll face plenty of different challenges. Not only does it teach you to recognise the challenges at hand, but with your combined quick-action-thinking skill, you’ll be able to tackle those different challenges at the same time.
As a business owner, we’re only humans. We tend to make mistakes here and there. Knowing your challenges and what mistakes to avoid is crucial to your success.
An athlete who does competitive sports faces stressful situations and anxious moments. To perform well, you need to be in the right state of mind. I spoke about success and failure earlier where if you fail to succeed, don’t give up trying and learning.
The thing is, if you’re not in the right frame of mind, you won’t be able to identify the emotional and/or mental factors. These factors tend to prevent good performance.
And in business, as a business owner, identifying your own emotions to one’s task enables you to identify which technique best fits your prospects.
So, as a leader and a business owner, how can this help you in your business?
If you noticed, I speak a lot about mindset, because, I truly believe, “when you set your mind to do better -you’ll achieve anything in life”. Whether it’s competitive sports, in business, or in your personal life.
To identify the right techniques, it’s like learning human psychology. Understanding your own emotions gives you the ability to understand your prospects. And given that, you will be able to know which kind of technique to apply in order to seal your deal.
That’s where your quick-action-thinking and decision making comes in.
For example, when you face a prospect that has no time for nonsense and expects you to go straight to the point but you need the time to speak to him or her-what are your techniques to tackle that kind of prospect? Will you let your emotions get in a way with such a prospect?
So, learning how to identify techniques when it comes to business is crucial and I don’t have to tell you the reasons behind it.