The beginning of fall brings the start of a new school year, a new football season and, hopefully, cooler weather. Those who know me know my favorite time of year is football season, and I certainly am doing the happy dance as we enter into this one.
This also has caused me to think about what lessons we, as business owners and influencers, can learn from sports, so I asked some of my favorite coaches what principles they thought were valuable, not just on the athletic field, but in business as well. These were my favorite answers.
From a football defensive coordinator: “Tapping into emotions is important when they fuel you to do better, work harder and find better solutions, but they can end your career if you allow them to reinforce negativity and self-doubt. You may not be able to control when an emotion wells up inside, but you can control what you do with it once you recognize that it is present.”
Have you ever made a business decision because of fear, anxiety or self-doubt? Have you ever played it safe because you were scared to go for it or went for it because you just wanted to beat a competitor and later realized that decision was wrong? Me, too. What this coach was saying is we can use emotions to our advantage in business but only when we learn to control them, instead of reacting to them. The next time you feel a big emotion welling up inside, take a minute and ask yourself if this is fuel or just a feeling that needs to be put aside in the decision-making process.
I recently asked a baseball coach how he got elite athletes to perform at the next level. He told me, “You have to get them to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. True growth never happens when you just keep doing what you have always done and never challenge yourself to work on the things you aren’t good at.”
When it comes to business, we have things we like to do, and we have reasons why other things are called work, and we have to be paid to do them. But what if, instead of avoiding the things we don’t like, we learned how to do those things better? They might never become our favorite part of the job, but getting uncomfortable enough to try something new, different or better might be the very thing we need to get to the next level.
I hope your fall season begins well and is full of successful uncomfortable situations.
– Kelly Nagel is president of the Acworth Business Association. She is the chief marketing officer and “bagel tester” for Nagel’s Bagels.