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How To Succeed In Business By Thinking Like An Olympian

by James Anderson
Posted: September 29, 2016

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I don’t know about you, but I love watching the Olympics, writes James Anderson. I find it so inspiring to watch the very pinnacle of human potential coming together to compete, not only against one another – but also themselves. 

It’s pretty crazy, when you think about it. We watch these athletes battle it out over a 16-day period, every 4 years! So it’s easy to understand why you may think that what they do isn’t human. But that’s exactly what they are. 


And, if you watch closely enough, you’ll get to see all these human imperfections in each and every one of them. You’ll see the laughter, tears, heartbreak, pain, discomfort, elation, motivation, joy and anger.

And this is why we watch. It’s because we know deep down in our heart-of-hearts that we’re the same. The only real difference is that these athletes have made the decision to cut off all their excuses as to why they can’t succeed.

They have simply chosen to put all their effort and energy into becoming one of the best in their “business”. And this is why I believe thinking like an Olympian is exactly how you should think, as a business entrepreneur. 

So here’s my top tips on how to succeed in business by thinking like an Olympian, so you too can become one of the best. 

1.    Think Big 

Young little boy business entrepreneur sitting on a pavement chalk drawing of an aeroplane and wearing a pilot's helmet

You’ve got to have a dream that excites you. Then you’ve got to take that dream and stretch it even further until that excitement starts to make you feel nervous, scared and anxious. 

It’s when you reach this point on the unknown road that you know you’re on the right track. 
It’s at this junction that you must not step backwards, you must take that first nervous step towards this uncertainty. 

A great way to help with this is to…

2.    Develop a “why”

Athletes know “why” they want it. You should too. So, why do you want to go into business? My suggestion is to take some time with this and carefully extract the reasons why it’s so important that you succeed.

Because if you have a strong enough “why”, then the “how” will become that much easier to find. 

3.    Think long term 

An Olympian getting ready to start track race

As I mentioned earlier, we only get to watch these Olympic athletes for 16 days, every 4 years. That’s it. Then it’s either back to the drawing board for those athletes who didn’t achieve their goals, or planning their first attack for the new breed. 

Either way, it’s 4 years of blood, sweat, and tears. And this is why they’re at the top of their game. Because they plan out their success - day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year. 

You should too. 

4.    Stop fearing failure

I spoke in depth about why the road to success isn’t void of failure in my last article, but all you need to know is that the reason why Olympians are so good is because they’re always push their bodies to that point of discomfort where “failure” occurs.

Then they learn, develop, and upskill. So what may have been a “failure” yesterday becomes tomorrow’s new personal best, world record, or even gold medal.

That’s all business is - test, measure, manage, retest. 

5.    Choose the right support team

Group of diverse hands on top of each other to show team support for how to succeed in business

It’s not all fun and games in business. In fact, it’s often no walk in the park at all. Having a support team of coaches, friends, family members, and mentors is extremely important to the success of both Olympic athletes and business entrepreneurs and owners. 

Be careful with who you keep close to you though. There will be people that love and care for you as person, yet are also the fastest to point out your failures and flaws. 

Choose people that are honest with their feedback, yet still supportive. 

Choose people that have a skill set you don’t have, but need. 

Choose people who have been there and done that

My only advice is to choose wisely. This is not a place where you want to keep your enemies closer. 

6.    Think big, act small 

Although thinking longer term helps keep you focused on the bigger goals in the distance, you still have to watch where you step in your day-to-day actions. 

Use that big dream as the guiding light keeping you headed in the right direction whilst you overcome the challenges that each day may present. 

Because at the end of the day you may become an “overnight success”, but it’s the small things that you did each day with consistency and dedication that made you one.  

Focus on each day and when you feel like you’re not going in the right direction, just glance up to that big dream again - and then get back to work!

Look, Olympic athletes battle it out for years to become the best in their business and that’s exactly what you’re going to have to do too. So, my suggestion is that you stop thinking about it and get started on your dream! 


Good luck. 


Are you ready to start your own business venture? Read our series of fresh, useful insights into the process of starting a business from the ground up, with advice from 6 of Australia's most successful business entrepreneurs.


James Anderson

James is the owner of a women’s only tribe based at Bondi Beach that focuses on strength and conditioning team training for optimal outcomes and long-lasting solutions.

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