Sports Sunday: Is Sports Bad to Relate to Your Business?
A week or so ago, I read an article from a fellow LinkedIn connection, whom I greatly appreciate and admire her content, stating that comparing sports to business was a bad idea. The main reason for it was that each sport has one and only one champion each season; therefor, by relating sports to your business, anything less than being number one in your industry and market would be deemed a failure.
I’ve grown up playing sports – both team and individual – and have done well and also experienced the agony of losing. Being on championship teams was great; being on losing teams was irritating, but pushed me harder for the next season. In many ways, the losing seasons helped me look at my weaknesses and I gained more from it. Not to mention, you learn team unity and how to make those around you better. In my past management experience, I used everyone strengths for the betterment of my team and did my best to help my team accept their opportunities to learn and grow. My teams in business always did well and I used competition to motivate and inspire them.
Now, as a business owner, I still relate much, if not all, my activities, to sports. Like on the baseball diamond or on the basketball court, I find what my advantages are in business and use them. I play offense and play defense. I practice everyday and do my best to keep myself “in shape” for the next game. Am I number one in my market? No, probably not and that gap between myself and the number one social media company may be pretty large. That, though, really doesn’t matter today.
What does matter is that I continue to grow and improve, just like I continued to learn how to become a better pitcher or develop a jump shot or to use my short irons. Look at the two teams vying for the championship in the NBA this week: their journeys are remarkable to examine and study. One team built through the draft, the other with the return of King James. Now, is whomever loses this year’s championship series necessary a “loser”? Well, for that team who does lose, it will be heartbreaking but the journey it has taken to get to this point has certainly been invaluable. Additionally, what about the teams that made vast improvements from last season to this season? Is their season deemed a failure because they’re not competing for the championship this week?
So, is it wrong for sports to be related to business? For some, I guess it would be. I get it. I, respectfully, disagree; for me, it’s the perfect comparison. In business and sports, you compete, you get better and you have goals. You total your wins and loses and you move on. However, in business, there’s really a bit more leeway as the reality is that I don’t really need to be number one in my market to be “successful”. I’ll take being in the top five or top ten and I’ll be quite satisfied.