Tips for Entrepreneurs from Rio 2016

I’ve been glued to the TV every night since the Summer Olympics started earlier this month and it hasn’t been short of the excitement, passion and emotional turmoil that we anticipate, and get, every four years! In particular, Forbes has a great article on some of the key tactics entrepreneurs, #BossLadies and businesswomen can take from the balance beam to boardroom.

Forge Your Own Path

Ryan Lochte (Photo courtesy of FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT:AFP:Getty Images)

U.S. Olympic Weightlifter, Kendrick Farris, proves you don’t have to consume meat to be strong and explosive. Farris is a vegan and is the only U.S. male weightlifter to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

“Here we are, what 100 years into freestyle? And Ryan’s literally discovering a new way to swim freestyle,” said David March, the coach of U.S. Gold Medalist Ryan Lochte. With “The Lochte Turn,” the swimmer pushes off the wall while facing upward and starts to swim while still on his back, swimming at a deeper depth than most others. It has paid off too, according to Lochte, who says it’s given him almost a full-second advantage over most of his competitors, which is a huge feat in the world of elite swimming.

From innovating to disrupting, Schumacher-Hodge points out that, “No matter how many business blueprints and case studies there are, you can always write your own story of success in a way that stays true to your personal values and unique style.”

When you fail, dust yourself off and try again.

After the 2012 London Olympics, Michael Phelps called it quits and went into retirement. Soon after, he had a very public fall from grace, including a struggle with substance abuse that led to two DUIs and admission to rehab in 2014. It was in rehab where he was able to turn things around and change his outlook on life. Phelps said he hasn’t consumed any alcohol since Oct. 4, 2014.

This summer in Rio, Phelps has emerged as an embodiment of hope, optimism and the strength of the human spirit. He’s already added new Olympic gold medals to his previous 18.

And after being cut from the U.S. Women’s Under-21 National Soccer Team, Carli Lloyd lost her passion for soccer, telling her parents she would stop playingafter her final year at Rutgers. Fortunately for the U.S., Lloyd soon thereafter met James Galanis, who would play a key role reigniting Lloyd’s passion for the game and taking her talents to a whole new level.

There’s one thing you can be sure of as an entrepreneur: You will face an incredible amount of adversity.  Phelps and Lloyd prove that it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down; you’re never out for the count until you say you are.

You are capable of greatness, no matter where you start

Simone Biles (Photo courtesy of Alex Livesey:Getty Images)

One of my favourite athletes to watch has been nineteen-year-old U.S. gymnast phenom Simone Biles whose mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, and as a result, Simone and her sister were placed in foster care. Fortunately, her maternal grandfather adopted the two young girls. Sixteen years later, Simon has swept the Rio Olympics, earning gold medals in every single category she’s competed in thus far!

Meanwhile Uzbekistan gymnast, Oksana Chusovitina, is competing in her seventh Olympics (wow!) in Rio — at the youthful age of 41. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

Less than 2% of venture capital goes to companies founded by African-Americans. Only 8% of those funds go to women founders. Ageism is also very much alive and well in the tech industry. Despite these discouraging numbers, underrepresented entrepreneurs around the world are overcoming those odds and all the conscious and unconscious biases to showcase their abilities and build great companies. Just like Biles and Chusovitina, entrepreneurs — no matter their backgrounds — have the ability to achieve greatness!

You are a product of your environment

Coach Glen Mills has not only helped Usain Bolt become the world’s fastest man alive, he has also helped Jamaica gain the identity of the “sprint capital of the world.” “Coaches have to continuously react and replay and redo the drills, getting the athlete to run over and over to break habits,” stated Mills.

As an entrepreneur, your ability to scale, and ultimately succeed, is dependent on other people. Just as Bolt has enlisted a fantastic coach in Mills, an entrepreneur must prioritize surrounding herself with people — employees, advisors, investors, etc. — who are going fill in the gaps, cover your weaknesses and help you see around corners so you can stay on top.

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