The health benefits of sport and physical activity are undeniable. We hear it on every platform, almost every day. However, sports teach us much more than just how to keep a healthy lifestyle. Athletes who compete on any level retain life lessons that follow them and make a difference in their lives.
In this article, we give voice to those who have trained for many years on a competitive level. We want to know what they have learned from all those years dedicated to the practice of their favorite sport. We asked them what were the most important lessons they learned and how they were able to incorporate those skills into their daily lives and careers.
Ashley - Marketing Director | Sport - Horseback riding
I’ve been riding for almost 20 years and what started out as a great summer camp session grew into a competitive and recreational riding career.
When someone thinks of horseback riding as a sport, they don't typically think of a team sport - it is! In this case, your teammate weighs 2000 pounds and can’t speak. You have to learn your horse's patterns, personality, likes, and dislikes to learn how to work with him so he or she can work for you. With riding, not working as a team can have some pretty dangerous consequences. This has helped me as both a manager and a teammate at Amilia. My riding background has conditioned me to pay attention my team’s different personalities, patterns, likes, and dislikes so I can work with them in a way that is constructive and comfortable.
With teamwork comes trust. Riding, especially jumping requires you to put a lot of trust in the animal carrying you over 4 foot fences. You need to trust the way you’ve trained your horse and in his or her abilities. This also translates into the way I manage my team. I trust them to do excellent work and I trust that I’ve given them the tools to do so. This trust means I’m not spending the majority of my time looking over shoulders and micromanaging. As a result, I have more time to focus on how I can continuously try to improve myself as a manager.
Elizabeth - Content Editor | Sport - Ski
For 7 years from, November to April, my weekends were entirely dedicated to ski competition. Practicing any competitive sport requires sacrifice - big and small. For my part, I had to face the cold, week after week, and put aside my social life. On a stormy and freezing day, I remember being at the starting gate and wearing only a light skinsuit wondering why I was practicing this winter sport. But the sacrifices we make every day enable us to reach our goals and make us proud in the long-run. This applies not only to skiing but also to work. Success does not simply come to you, you have to put in the necessary effort and learn how to use your time productively.
Alex - VP marketing | Sport - Judo
I have been practicing judo for 21 years. There are no hits in this Japanese martial art and Olympic sport. It is about control. First, control of your opponent - his weight, his movements, and his speed. Then, control of oneself - your breath, your decisions, your fears, your reflexes.
Judo taught me how to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum effort. You can’t always link results to effort in that sport. Timing and being opportunist can bring you the win. In the workplace, it means finding the right tools to automate any non-value added tasks. It allows me to focus on people and relationships, which will ultimately lead to maximum efficiency.
Kim - Marketing manager | Sport - Soccer
For more than 15 years I have practiced soccer, a sport where the success of a team rests on the ability of the players to focus on achieving a common goal - victory. My conception of teamwork is strongly influenced by my favorite sport: Always give your 100% and never give up on your teammates. These values that I have acquired through soccer allow me to interact easily with all employees and always be available to help my colleagues.
Simon - Sales Representative | Sport - Golf
Since the age of 15, I have been playing one the hardest sports in the world...Golf. As a junior golfer, I competed in multiple tours mainly in the southern USA. Competitive golf requires a strict practice schedule, extreme focus, and physical abilities in order to hit the ball on target every single time. Golf is not only about hitting a golf ball around, but to try to play your personal best (lowest score) every time. Just because you can hit the ball far does not mean you will shoot a low score.
Scoring well requires strategic thinking - avoiding water hazards, sand traps, the rough, your short game - hitting the ball far is not always the best move. This kind of strategic thinking translates very well into any business setting. You need to plan and anticipate your next shot.
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