It’s hard for me to say whether or not I always wanted to become an entrepreneur, but I can vividly recall specific places and people that impacted me, and the ways in which I began to construct my business character. I practiced a variety of sports in the past, and always believed that hard work is the road to realizing our dreams. But did practicing sports actually help me reach my business goals?
When I was a kid, I was allowed to pick any type of sport or leisure activity to get involved with, as long as I promised to commit to it at least until the end of the school year. Such were my mother’s orders, and in following them, I learned how to maintain my initial level of enthusiasm for a long period of time. I persisted in the second last sports activity I chose, athletics, for over nine years.
During these years I slowly began to realize that I was training far more than just my muscles, and that being successful in a race was not the only thing I could get out of the whole process. Alongside my athletic training, I was developing specific personality traits, which impacted all areas of my life, not just my athletic performance.
As an athlete I competed in middle- and long-distance running. I ran two marathons, a race, which generally resembles many areas of life, including the world of entrepreneurship.
Running is an individual sport – when you are out on the track, you are on your own. Marathon races in particular require an athlete to show great perseverance, patience and focus. When you are running, water and small snacks can support your performance, however, these aids aren’t always available to you every time you might want them. The same applies to entrepreneurship: coming across people with which you can collaborate, is far less predictable than the location of water stations along a marathon route.
In addition, getting ahead in business without perseverance, patience and focus is basically impossible. Starting a company can be done in an instant, but it will take working hard over a long period of time to build and develop it.
Acquiring relevant experience, however, is rarely free – an athlete pays to train, and even then the result of their work is unpredictable. This is true in both sports and entrepreneurship. In my experience, training is paid for and pays off, even though the positive effects of it might not be evident exactly when you want or require them to be. I have personally found this to be true in sports, however, it is too early to extend this conclusion to the world of business.