Claire Algarme works for EO Melbourne, one of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)'s 193 chapters around the globe. As one who contributes to EO and its unrelenting commitment to support the complete entrepreneur with tangible, take-home value for leaders, Claire noticed similarities between the journeys of sports stars and entrepreneurs as they undertake their climbs to greatness. Here's what she shared:
What qualities and experiences merge to produce the winning combination that drives an individual to reach the pinnacle of their field? You might be surprised to find similar answers to that question from sports champions and entrepreneurs listed on the Inc. 5000.
High-level athletes and entrepreneurs have something in common: the drive and determination to overcome any obstacle and focus on the long game to win. With passion unmatched in their respective arenas, they gather input from mentors and coaches, work in tandem with teammates, and stop at nothing to dazzle their customers or fans.
Both business and sports superstars must complete an arduous climb to the top, littered with wins and losses, twists and turns, heartbreaks and victories. By continuously honing their skills, they make incremental improvements until they eventually reach their peak.
Here are the eight stages along the journey toward becoming a superstar--in both the business and sports arenas.
Star players aren't born that way, and the evolution into greatness doesn't happen overnight. Many big players start in the bleachers, watching as others achieve their potential. A fascination for business or sports can take root on the sidelines, where you cheer for your favorite players while studying the strategies and techniques of greatness.
Similarly, as a future business leader, you absorb ideas from the companies, establishments and brands you patronize, the media you consume, and the inspiring stories of those who've ascended before you.
Every star player and business mogul was once a newbie. A pick-up game with neighborhood kids can spark an athlete's goals, just as a first summer job can mold an entrepreneur. It's a season to test whether you have the ability to acquire the skills necessary to succeed. Entry-level experiences help determine whether you may one day achieve the heights to which you endeavor.
A uniform. A jersey. A business registration. A contract. It comes in various forms, but is an official symbol of a fledgling entrepreneur or athlete. Maybe you join a team or sports league, a marketing or industry group. The rookie entrepreneur or player is often placed under a microscope to determine their capability to thrive in a chosen field. Hanging out your shingle is a bold move made only by the most fearless and adventurous among us. As a rookie entrepreneur, you are responsible for every function of the business, learning every skill as you attempt to carve a name for yourself with prospective clients and customers. It's the defining moment that jumpstarts your career.
4. First seasons
Those glorious early seasons in the game (or fiscal years in business) are the stuff of legends. It's the most challenging, exciting and crucial stage that ultimately determines if you'll survive or fade from the roster. Early, formative years set the course of your career. Will you rise to glory or disappear into oblivion? You'll endure what seem to be impossible trials and devastating errors as you adjust to industry peaks and troughs. But if you're in the right industry or sport, your passion never wavers as you withstand tumultuous tides, shaping you for future glory.
5. Legitimate player
You've got the groove of the game--whether on the field or in the boardroom. The learning curve has leveled out to feel more like bouldering than climbing El Capitan. But there is a danger of plateauing, getting too comfortable, not aspiring highly enough. You must learn continuously, hone your skills, and improve performance to outshine competitors, especially as new players emerge. Maybe you haven't reached MVP, but you adopt new strategies, engage your team, and make tactical moves that usher your team or business toward the playoffs.
Tenacity. Discipline. Strategy. Passion. The support of a strong team. All are requirements for becoming a champion. But even winners make mistakes. When you do, you fail forward and recover ever faster. You're not only competing against top competitors--but also yourself. You invest in yourself, learning and growing to become stronger and more skillful. Entrepreneurs who reach the peak of their game don't let challenges and setbacks stop forward progress. You're relentless and determined to reach your goals.
Champions don't stop after just a few wins. It's an ongoing journey, where victories don't represent the end but rather highlights along your path. Although you still play--and win--in your respective field, you start to realize the value in guiding and motivating teammates, empowering them to share your spotlight. You support your team, providing inspiration, training and strength to new members.
Both players and entrepreneurs continue their journeys, gradually assuming new roles. They grow into mentors, guiding and advising less experienced players. It's time to share accumulated knowledge and experiences to benefit rookies who are starting out. You develop a different perspective on the business, looking after its growth without playing in every inning. You steer your venture and coach your team to more wins and ever-greater successes.