Training hard. Learning the rules. Setting objectives. Striving towards a goal. Working as a team. Overcoming obstacles. Working your way up the ranks. Being fiercely competitive with a hate for losing. Fighting to be #1. Sound familiar? Whether you’re in business or a professional athlete, those words will strike a chord.
There’s a good reason why progressive parents in the 21st century enroll their children in sports from a young age: they build character. They also teach valuable lessons, and all the lessons these kids learn in sports are then applied to their everyday lives. First in school, and then in their careers. The younger they learn them, the more deeply engrained they become.
But the advantages of playing sports aren’t just limited to children. Adults can benefit from them too. Even starting (or picking it up again) at a later age can remind you of the importance of hard work, discipline, setting goals, playing as part of a team, and approaching every day with confidence.
Even with years of life experience, we tend to forget the importance of always believing in oneself, the value of unselfish team play, and that success comes from perseverance. Too often we become complacent, begin to doubt ourselves, or become impatient when results don’t come quickly. It’s easy to begin doubting that hard work does pay off, that setting goals is key to personal achievement, and that if we do what’s necessary, one step at a time, we’ll eventually attain our objectives.
And similar to a sporting career, we become exposed to many colleagues, coaches and trainers who can all teach us something and contribute different keys to success. None of this possible, however, without the right attitude and ability to have fun while we work hard.
Who can you think of that has better focus than a golfer? More discipline than a martial artist? More endurance than a boxer? Who has more mental toughness then a marathon runner or more courage than a football player? A tennis player learns how to anticipate the opposition’s next moves, and a figure skater always demonstrates grace under pressure. All attributes one needs to thrive in their professional life.
The positive impact sports can have on people’s careers and their personal success also go beyond just the lessons learned and mental acuity. Being more physically fit also provides for more stamina at work for those long days, more energy for those busy times of the year, and better heart health to cope with the stress. The eyes and ears are sharper, the reflexes are quicker, and you’ll also last a lot longer in your own competitive environment.
If you’re not already physically active, no matter what your age, start today. Your career will thank you.