A Different View on Sports
For the most part, as a female executive, it is not likely that you are currently involved in playing a sport. The closest you may come to this is perhaps, transporting your child to and from an extracurricular sporting activity in-between your already hectic schedule. In fact other than maybe the occasional curiosity in a sports story that’s made its way to the national news, the Michael Vick fiasco for example, you may have no interest in sports at all. However, you may be surprised to find there are some real benefits, other than the old adage “regular exercise is good for you,” that you may not have considered being beneficial in business when it comes to sports. Most successful business executives have an understanding of just how important physical appearance plays in the realm of today’s business world. It goes without saying most executives not only understand how critical a role self confidence can play in today’s corporate environment. But also, whether it’s from the perspective of a colleague or potential client, how their perception of you also plays a very important role in your success.
Various studies suggest that participation in sports, team sports in particular, can instill beneficial life skills that may have life-lasting positive effects. For instance those who have at some point played a sport are likely to be more competitive in nature, better equipped to deal with disappointment, more suited to work with others, better prepared to deal with adversity, and also more likely to own their failures as well as their successes.
Sports can also magnify how crucial it can be to set and strive to achieve personal goals, all of which are very beneficial to success in business as a whole. It’s no wonder 82% of female executives played organized sports after elementary school and, evidence suggests, that figure will likely rise over the next few decades, as more post-Title IX babies enter the workforce.
Some of the less obvious benefits of engaging in an active sport that directly translate into success in business, are the opportunities for bonding with colleagues or clients on a personal level; again, considering the high percentage of business executives who have at one time, played or are currently active in a sport. These are all times where the opportunity to bond on a personal level, can be prime. These are also times where the chance to impress upon and display to a potential client, colleague, or superior your will-to-excel in what you do can be demonstrated. That same display of competitive fire could very well give you that proverbial “business edge” needed in getting that big account or give you that edge when being considered for a promotion when circumstances are equal between you and your competition.
A great example of a sport where so many business relationships are initially made is golf. It goes without saying that business deals have been presented, conceptualized, generated and even closed on the golfing greens. Not necessarily because actual business took place on the course, or wherever a particular sports activity was played, but because that’s where one of the first admirable impressions was truly appreciated by the potential client outside of the office. And we all know the importance of good positive impressions especially in business. Simply put you are more likely to get what you want if you are well perceived or liked and even a simple appreciation, interest or knowledge of a sport can be one way used to achieve just that.
Most importantly, given that the largest percentages of business executives are male and, taking into account most of those have some interest in sports. The more knowledge or interest you have in sports the easier it may be for you to find that common interest, outside of the business at hand, that provides you with that opportunity to casually present or maybe even learn of a business opportunity. Think about it, how many times have you heard or seen senior executives bond and seal business deals on the golf course, a hunting trip or in an executive suite during a professional sporting event? It’s not a coincidence. Not only are those scenarios very effective tools used in business which involves sports, but they are also great opportunities for networking. And so with all of that said you may want to consider and at the very least take a hard look at the opportunity sports can provide in business. Being that there are so many sporting activities to choose from you may be shocked to find there is indeed one that you actually take a genuine interest in and sincerely end up enjoying.
Written by: Errol Hunter