You do not have to compromise your health for your business, nor is it advisable to. Your fitness will not wait for you to reach that milestone or sell your company, it will have left the building and require extensive effort to get back. It’s very possible to thrive in sport and business and many entrepreneurs do it well. But how do you organise both? How do you split your days and find the time?
Here are 7 considerations for thriving in sport and business at the same time.
Guard the boundaries
In the gym, at the track or on the court, you are an athlete. In a meeting, on a stage or at your laptop, you are a business owner. Wear one hat at a time and guard the boundaries between the two. Don’t be thinking about this afternoon’s run while you’re working on your business; don’t be checking your emails while you’re in the gym.
For two parts of you to be at your best, each one must have its own space to rule. That means no multitasking and no blurring of lines. One at a time, because blending is a false economy.
Acknowledge the benefits
It’s easy to think of committing to both business and sport as a chore. When you’re sore from training and you’re booked with a client or you can’t get a work challenge out of your head when you should be focused on your game, it can feel like having both is too much hassle. But remember the benefits.
Athlete entrepreneurs are fitter, sharper, and healthier all-round. They have reduced blood pressure, lower resting heart rate and better ability to stay calm under pressure. Your leaner, more defined appearance brings confidence that passes onto work success. There can only be benefits to maintaining excellence in multiple areas of your life.
Have a favourite
If you had to decide between never running a business again or never doing your sport again, which would you choose? This decision is important. Think about it and have your answer. At some point you might have to choose. When two events happen on the same day, when one needs to be cancelled, which one wins out?
There’s no right or wrong answer, just the one that shows where your ultimate priority lies. Rather than pretending, be honest. This marks the basis of your schedule, the map of how you organise your time, and the north star for important events that force you to choose.
Be prepared for both
Reducing friction between work you and sport you is how you fit both into your day with ease and grace. Firstly, remove as much as you can that doesn’t contribute to either. Be ruthless with what else you say yes to or let into your headspace and schedule.
Secondly, be smart about how you transition with speed. Whether that’s keeping your sports gear in your car, living closer to the gym or simply wearing activewear as standard, minutes shaved off getting ready and switching focus each day can add up to days over a year. Days you could have spent training. Or working. Your call.
Find your tribe
Work friends and sport friends are great, but people who share your passion for sport and business are diamond companions. They get it. They understand what’s important to you because it matters to them too. They’ll challenge you to a friendly match then chat through your business puzzles over dinner. Finding two sides in one person is rare, so hold on to those you manage to win.
Hanging out with entrepreneurs who don’t care about sport might mean their apathy spreads to you. Training with people with no interest in their work is fine for a while, then you miss the conversation. Find the people who believe that excelling in both is possible and are working towards it every day.
Focus on what you can control
In most sports, you can control how you train and compete but not who else shows up on the day. In most work endeavours, you can control how much time and effort you put in, but not the decision that someone else ultimately makes.
Being in a healthy headspace with both means one hundred percent focus on your inputs. Showing up, being consistent, wholeheartedly putting the best version of you into every action you take. The baby steps taken daily that make huge progress over time, that lead to the big wins, the lucky occurrences and the decisions that go in your favour.
Enjoy the journey
Focusing only on the result of the competition and the numbers on the balance sheet won’t serve you well. The results are a small part of the puzzle. Instead of fixating on outcomes and convinced that achieving them will bring happiness, find happiness in the process itself.
The training is where the results are made, the effort is the reward. The challenges and obstacles at work or in sport are what you should focus on loving. Sports contests and business deals are won or lost in seconds but preparing for them could be months. Learn to love the months instead of deferring happiness until game day.
Guard the boundaries between the two, understand why you’re doing it, know which you’d pick if you had to and organise your life to reduce friction between work and sport. For a happier and healthier existence, find tribe members who share your passions, focus only on what you can control and above all, enjoy the journey.