6 Things Sports Can Teach You About Success

EY - 6 things sports can teach you about successBy Beth Brooke-Marciniak, 10-06-2014
What do you get when you bring together an all-star panel of women Olympians and business leaders, and ask for their advice to women athletes who are looking to get ahead in the business world?
You get one great insight after another, as we recently learned at a webcast for the EY Women Athletes Business Network.
The webcast, “Playing to win: lessons from women athletes and leaders,” was held in March 2014 in celebration of International Women’s Day.
The panelists included five Olympians from three continents, who shared stories about how the same skills they honed on the playing field have served them well in the corporate world. Here are a few of the gems.
On failure…
Martina Navratilova, tennis legend and author: “Sports teaches you that failure is an opportunity to do better. Not everybody gets a ribbon because that’s not realistic, that’s not real life. … Women have a hard time letting go. When we make a mistake, we harp on it; we sit on it; we can’t let go. Sport teaches you to let go. You have to let go, because you have to run the next race.”
Summer Sanders, Olympic gold medalist and television host: “If you don’t fail, then you don’t know who you are at your worst moment. If we’re scared to do something, we probably should go for it and do it. I think that can be parallel with business.”
On motivation…
Fabiola Pulga Molina, Brazilian Olympian and co-founder and co-CEO, Fabiola Molina Swimwear: “If you don’t have a goal, if there’s not a no. 1, no. 2, no 3, then what is important? Motivation is important. That’s why we get up every morning to go swimming, because we want to be better, we want to win. Business is the same thing. You’re motivated to be better each day.”
Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club: “Beat them in the market. If people doubt you, you achieve what people don’t think you can.”
On learning…
Dame Kelly Holmes, British Olympic champion and founder and chair of the DKH Legacy Trust: “Business and sports are very parallel. You need a good team around you. You’ll have some successes. You’ll fail at a lot of things. You have to learn when things go wrong. You’ll have people telling you can’t do it. You push through all those barriers.”
Donna de Varona, Olympic champion and lead advisor, EY Women Athletes Business Network: “You don’t push [your kids] to be Olympians. You focus on the values you learn through sports. … What you learn through that journey is what’s going to take you to the next step.”
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