business people on race track

What entrepreneurs can learn from IAFF World Athletics Championships


Mo Farah did it again, winning gold in the 10,000m race at this weekend’s IAAF World Athletics Championship, held in London. Mo ran the race of his career defending his world titles, with Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei closely on his tail. There were however disappointing finishes from other Team GB athletes, who missed their moment on the medal podium including Andrew Pozzi 110m hurdler whose medal chances was decided on a very close photo finish. Women heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thomson took 5th and pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw came 6th. However winner or loser there are lessons an entrepreneur can learn from these world class athletes.

An admirable amount of time is invested in preparation for the day of any championships. Clearly athletes are born with a certain amount of talent, however not everyone born with an athletic ability gets to compete on the world stage. A considerable amount of training, years of blood, sweat and tears are poured in to get to a world championship. Evidently years of training still does not necessarily guarantee an award at the end, similarly succeeding in business can come at a premium.

Comparisons can however be drawn between an entrepreneur and the combined track and field events of a heptathlete like Jessica Ennis. The gruelling nature of the combined events means that the training the athlete receives has to ensure she reaches the technical proficiency for each event. Similarly entrepreneurship requires a combination of a plethora of skills including finance management, sales, people management and leadership. The chance of success increases when an entrepreneur demonstrates a high level of proficiency in these areas. Moreover these athletes have had to overcome injury, financial hardships and an incredible amount of adversity. As an entrepreneur, from the start up stage to scaling, you will be met with new challenges that will test your will to persevere.

Katarina Johnson-Thomson now focuses on the future, and tells BBC Sport, “I feel like one of these days it will happen for me, there is a lot to work on…”

Like Katarina Johnson when disappointments come, the mental attitude needed is to stay positive with the view that success will come eventually.