Sean Van Staden
4 minute read
15 Aug 2015
7:00 pm

Sporting lessons from the business world

Sean Van Staden

I am busy reading an international bestseller business book called 6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter J Voogd.

Sean van Staden

I just love my business books and, in this case, my audio books. I diffuse the stress of traffic by switching on my audio books and, in no time, I have clocked an hour a day surrounded by the voices of the captains of industry and thought. I, like you, will judge the title of the book and probably think, not another “how to be a millionaire book”, but I purchased it anyway and I will say this, it is gripping stuff.

I am going to translate in my own words the main message from Voogd into sporting success for you. Everyone has an imaginary pot and Voogd believes that either you are putting something into the pot or you are taking something out. There are no in-betweens. If you do something positive in your day in relation to your goal, you are adding confidence to your pot and if you do something negative, then you are taking away confidence from your pot.

Attending all your training sessions for the week is a positive attribute. Having a greasy cheeseburger and chips is poor nutrition, and is negative to your goals and success and thus takes away from your confidence pot. Successful people are incredibly focused and very confident because they are consistent all of the time.

By being consistent they build integrity and people start to see them as reliable and a man of their words. When successful people talk, they deliver and because they deliver, they become leaders. Look at it like this. Your entire week you map out the actions of a successful and top executive, but instead of doing business, you are working at the sport you love. Would you say it was a winning recipe for success?

It might not guarantee you imminent success but it will definitely teach you what it takes to be a winner. A typical success plan for an athlete is to break down everything into components that are needed to be successful in your sport. Your design could look something like this. You need an excellent nutritional programme that builds lean muscle, keeps you fuller for longer and has all the minerals, vitamins and amino acids needed for recovery.

You need a personalised training programme focusing on your needs and your weaknesses. In a team environment, coaches are mostly focusing on their own needs to win and what the team as a collective needs. You need a good Yoga or Pilates instructor. You might be laughing now but when you and your million-rand salary get injured, I can assure you, you will wish you spent more time invested in improving your flexibility and core strength.

You need a good sports psychologist; it might still sound a bit taboo, but even top CEOs have mentors. Millionaires have billionaires as mentors and that in itself is a good reason to have someone by your side who can teach you a thing or two. Sports psychologists are not there to listen to you bitching about not getting enough game time, they are there to teach you and equip you with the tools for on and off the field mental success.

If you do not have one, start investing in one. The younger you are, the better your chances of success. You need to specialise. Own your position by learning the ins and outs of the demands for your position. Spend time with older mentors who have played your position and ask them what some of the important key aspects to playing your position are. Study and watch international games and see what the others are doing and follow people who are leaders and captains in their positions.

You need a good support structure and to be spending time with people who are more successful than you are. If you are the best player in the room, then you have nothing to prove and no one to beat and that is the day complacency sets in. Can you honestly tell me Ronaldo and Messi are not googling each other after every match to find out how many goals each other scored?

I am positive they have set up SMS notifications to their phones because they are committed to striving for success. I have given you some key ingredients to be successful as an athlete and the sum of all the little things you do every day will make you great. Take out a pen and paper and write down what you think you need to be the best, and a leader at your sport and position.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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