Why Triathlon and Business Success Have More in Common Than You Think

And it’s another beautiful day in Reno!

Triathlon and the business world may seem like they are light years apart, but really they have much more in common than you may think. You may wonder what swimming, biking, and running has to do with employee management, turning a profit, and having a successful business, so today we’ll dive into several of interest that are shared between business and the fascinating world of multisport. Featured image credit.

6 + 1 Traits Shared Between Business and Triathlon

  1. Earning your stripes – Just as you wouldn’t expect an entry level employee to handle CEO responsibilities, you wouldn’t expect a noobie triathlete to compete in an Ironman. You have to prove that you have the skills, qualifications, drive, and motivation to excel in both areas. Completing your first triathlon is not that dissimilar from doing a fantastic job on your first major work project, and the success from both areas will give you the confidence to build on your skills and tackle bigger hurdles.
  2. Embrace challenges – Whether trying to drop 10 minutes or just survive a triathlon, many athletes love and embrace the challenges that they set for themselves. Similarly, I have found that employees who embrace challenging projects gain a sense of empowerment when completing projects that at first seemed daunting. Nothing feels better than owning a project as your own and then blowing it out of the water!
  3. Have a strategic plan – Any business without a long term plan is headed down a slippery slope, and the same applies for triathletes without a training plan. Running around blindly without concrete goals, guidance, and direction will always result in negative consequences (injury, lost profits, wasted time) and it is important to remain focused on the end goals to keep yourself and your business aligned with your plan.
  4. Celebrate the small things – Completing a small goal is always worthy of celebration, and both business and triathlon can teach you how to enjoy the little things. Perhaps you met all of your goals for the day at work, or felt really good about a long run while training. Celebrating small successes will lead to a happier and more satisfied you which = being more productive!
  5. Requires investment in yourself – Triathlon requires time, dedication, commitment, change in sleep and nutritional habits, and sacrifice. Similarly, success in business requires enthusiasm for your job and company, self-improvement through articles, research, or classes, and “broadening your horizons.” You can only get better in both areas by investing in yourself.
  6. The gift of forward motion – Successful business people and triathletes have the ability to always find a way for forward motion and don’t give up easily. Despite setbacks such as a flat tire, making  a blunder on a huge work project, breaking your goggles, or being assigned to a difficult team at work, the ones who excel are the ones who do their best to fix the issue and then move on! Especially when the situation is out of your control, you should do what you can and then keep making progress.
  7. A winning attitude – There is no clear definition of what “winning” is in either triathlon or the business world. Perhaps you dropped 3 minutes off your 10k, landed a huge contract, placed on the podium, or had a successful meeting with a new client. Each one of these counts as winning and is worthy of celebration (however small).


What are your favorite activities to compare to successes in your professional life?


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