Living in this era of technology and world financial crises requires people to be competitive, creative, resilient, and strong enough to fight for what they believe in. Sports can be tools, besides being a workout for the entire body that increases aerobic capacity and improves muscle tone, strength, and flexibility, that help you empower your mind and extract the best from your ability to face challenges and solve problems. In this post, I would like to discuss two sports that I love and describe how these activities have helped me to succeed in business.
Let’s start with tennis, which in my personal view is as much an active sport as it is a mental game. Playing tennis has many health benefits, the best of which is an increase in your ability to analyze various situations to make fast decisions. Tennis involves planning and tactical thinking and requires both agility and coordination of different parts of your body.
In comparison to the business world, tennis is similar to work situations that you deal with every day; you work with different kinds of people, under high levels of pressure and stress, to solve and improve their needs. This requires you to be creative and to make quick-fire changes in the right direction, just as you do in tennis to return serves and volleys. In consulting, you try to find the best strategy and solution to solve each of your client’s issues before “hitting the ball.”
Playing tennis encourages you to be more disciplined and to have better posture and coordination. Consulting and management are about business, market and people behaviour, learning everyday with your clients and competitors, understanding local customs, and identifying and qualifying weaknesses and strengths to build strategies that will improve your results and eliminate problems. More importantly, you must know how much effort they are willing to invest in development. Playing tennis enhances flexibility and balance; in business it helps you to better communicate your objectives and adapt to different kind of project. In business as well tennis you’re constantly on the move, each shot makes you think strategically, and forces you to better coordinate your actions.
The second sport I want to discuss is golf, which is one of the most popular, well-received sports worldwide. Golf takes patience, time, and dedication in a similar way that business requires from day-to-day. In consulting, we deal with different kinds of clients and must very quickly understand different businesses, value propositions, and goals. Playing golf requires good vision, and practice helps you improve your ability to think strategically. In business, analyzing new projects requires that you extract and understood all possibilities to find the best opportunities that lead to sustainable, long-term results.
Playing golf also fosters relationships, helping you develop social skills and providing opportunities to meet new people and connect with a community. It is a lifestyle and a learning experience, just as diverse opportunities to learn are present in the business industry. Golf is a very socially enjoyable sport, and when you golf, you also learn to communicate properly with all kinds of people who have different styles and experiences, both on the golf course and in business.
The most important value that golf can offer is competition and the challenge of competing with yourself. To improve your score, you must learn how to focus your mind only on what you are doing. This, in turn, improves strategic thinking and fosters hand–eye coordination to exercise the brain’s logical functions. Golf can also help reduces stress, improve your concentration, and is a nice way to take a break from and forget your problems.