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Participating in athletics positively impacts the workplace.

As a former collegiate track and field athlete, I often think about the parallels between dynamics on the oval and in the workplace. It is not just about achievements, the big wins, and the big headlines, it’s also about what happens day-in-and-day-out that shapes a fulfilling experience. It’s overcoming adversity, again and again, that develops the mental resilience needed to overcome the unexpected and unwelcome.

“Sport is so much like a business,” tennis champion and entrepreneur Venus Williams told CNBC. “It’s all about strategy. And it’s all about learning from losing. It’s all about setting goals.”

Whether you have a background in competitive sports or are seeking athletic experiences later in life, participation can build personal leadership and enhance qualities like resilience and consistency, and achievement through self-discipline.


In Unstoppable Teams, Navy SEAL commander and entrepreneur Alden Mills highlights the power of consistency: “When the world is crumbling around you and you have no idea what to do, your best tactic list to stay consistent.”

Consistency means showing up for yourself and showing up for your team each day. Having a strategy to reach your goals can fuel you as you pursue consistency. Just like an athletic off-season, all of the hours spent training pays off when it’s time for the season to start. Consistent milestones and daily habits are what make the long term vision achievable.


Angst, pain, and challenges come in all kinds of forms. Fighting up another hill 12 miles into a half marathon. Chasing down the race leader in the final 100 meters. Doing one more rep when every muscle is screaming. These are the mind-bending resilience-making situations that temper athletes into mentally tough specimens.

That same resilience learned from overcoming the seemingly impossible supports the same mental toughness needed for excelling in professional environments. The by-product of resilience is self-confidence. Self-confidence props you up for the important conversations, negotiations, collaborations, and presentations that you will find yourself making. You will be more comfortable taking risks because you know that you’ve tackled bigger challenges and availed.


Life doesn’t happen in a bubble. Whether you are in a corporate setting or in a small startup or are a freelance contractor, understanding how to excel in your role is the key to finding satisfaction and success.

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming,” said legendary University of California coach John Wooden.

Leadership is the natural result of building your confidence and contributions through consistency, resilience, and strategy. Leadership in business, like a race strategy, takes into account logistics, resources, preparation, and team dynamics. By relying on athletic experiences to fuel workplace participation, success starts to look a lot like marathon training: a journey filled with peaks, valleys, training, and dedication.