Sport champions like Blessing Okagbare and Serena Williams are perfect examples of how each of us, as entrepreneurs and professionals, can attain greatness when we aim to improve our personal best.

Blessing is a Nigerian track and field athlete, who is an Olympic and IAAF World Championships medalist in the long jump, and a world medalist in the 200 metres. Serena is undeniably one of the most dominating sports champions of our generation. She has won a title in all four International Grand Slam tournaments and is also an Olympic gold medalist.

Blessing’s Olympic medal wins and Serena’s tennis successes serve as reminders of excellence to all of us. They have spent many years training to be champions. Along the way, they have achieved multiple milestones, actively taken part in smaller competitions and peaked at the right moment. When they put their hard-earned skills into practice and keep their eyes on the prize, it’s their time to shine.

As entrepreneurs what lessons can we learn from these phenomenal women?

Keep training

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Like every successful athlete, successful entrepreneurs must never stop training. That means keeping your skills fresh and your talents sharpened, so that you’re always one step ahead of the competition.

Keep learning, networking and trying to improve yourself and your business. The process is continual but it is powerful and fun if you love what you are doing.

Have a support system

Venus and Serena HuggingEvery champion has a team behind them. You can’t do everything on your own. Especially when training is getting difficult or the competition is tough. Build a strong network that will support you and help you reach the top.

If you do not have a mentor find one, or at the very least seek role models who will inspire you. Make sure those who are part of your team hold you accountable and keep you focused.

Celebrate your achievements

Blessing-OkagbareWhat moment are you seeking? As you strive to attain greatness, ask yourself at what point will you feel like you’ve won your Gold Medal or Trophy.

Never forget that no matter how much competition is out there, or how long it takes to achieve YOUR own personal best, each and every one of us can get a medal. So go out there and get it!

It is easy to discount all your achievements as you seek even better ones, but don’t overlook your moment. When your moment comes, make sure you celebrate!

I’m really exciting. I smile a lot, I win a lot, and I’m really sexy.”
– Serena Williams

Do not fear competition

Serena Williams Sports Illustrated CoverKeep your eyes on the prize in your business and professional life. Have clearly defined strategies and goals that will make you a champion. In his book, The Winner’s Mind, Allen Fox explains, “Unconscious fear of failure saps the will to win by distorting perceptions and causing competitors to hesitate to compete, procrastinate, lie to themselves, blame others, fail to finish tasks, and panic on the verge of victory.”  

Do not fear competition. As entrepreneurs competition is necessary and mandatory in the marketplace. It will help to motivate you to be better. Use it to empower yourself along the way and do not be afraid of winning!

Learn from your mistakes

Being in business isn’t about never failing, it’s about knowing what to do when failure strikes! You must not allow failure to block your path to excellence. When a sportswoman like Blessing loses a race, do you think she laments about her loss for so long that it stops her from running?

No, she stays focused, perfects her skills and works harder. It’s the same with Serena. If she misses a serve or loses a match she does not let her mistakes consume her. She uses her mistakes as stepping stones to doing better the next time.

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