Olympic Lessons for Your Business: Run Rings Round Your Competitors

Miles Burke
Miles Burke

Over the next few weeks, much of the world’s attention will be on the sporting elite from 205 nations, as the cream of the crop from each country competes at the 2012 Olympic Games. While we all watch our favorite sports and cheer on our countries, have a think about some of the lessons Olympians can give us in our businesses.


I’m confident there isn’t an athlete at these games who just woke up a few months ago and decided to qualify for their country’s team. Many successful athletes talk about years of planning culminating in their Olympic experience.

We can take a leaf out of that book by considering where we want to be in the short term (say six months’ time) and the longer term (where will you be in another five years’ time?). Most of those who succeed in business succeed because they stick to their well-thought-out plans.


If there’s a single word you hear often when speaking to an Olympic athlete, it is focus. Successful athletes all have an unswerving focus towards a significant goal, like a gold medal at the Olympics.

It’s just the same in what you do. Do you find yourself distracted with too many goals or not enough focus on one task at a time? If you want to be the best in your game, you need to sharpen your direction, and have a clear focus of what needs to be done.


I have watched plenty of interviews with successful Olympians from across the globe, who all talk about the gruelling training they put in. They have coaches and support staff, and constantly strive to learn more and improve their abilities.

We can see the same in successful web developers, e-commerce companies and business owners across the globe. Although we tend to have pretty good skills already just being in the field, we need to have a yearning to keep training, keep learning and never stop pushing ourselves to do better.


There’s a reason you never see an Olympic athlete walk out dragging their heels, eating unhealthy foods and not looking after themselves. Health is incredibly important in sport, but also in everyone’s career choices.

Just because you aren’t running 400 meters or swimming in a relay in front of millions, doesn’t mean you can let your health suffer. Eating well, regular exercise and avoiding bad habits has a huge effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. There aren’t many successful people I know who don’t take their health seriously.


If an athlete had no self-belief they certainly wouldn’t have been picked to represent their country at the Olympics. World-class athletes at the pinnacle of their chosen sports all have fantastic levels of self-confidence.

Your own confidence has the power to push you towards being the next big successful entrepreneur or leave you in a rut. Self-confidence for many of us doesn’t come easy. Remind yourself every day why your clients come to you — because you are great at what you do!

Good luck to your country for this 2012 London Olympics, and even better wishes for you in your business and career. Checking off the above five points will bring you closer to winning gold in your chosen business or career – enjoy the podium time!