By Dave Nash
Do you know that 95% of Fortune 500 CEOs played sports in college? Athletes are dreamers, visionaries, and goal seekers. Athletics builds belief in self and others.
Did you know that thirteen out of the last nineteen U.S. Presidents played college sports? Athletes are leaders, determined, and resilient. Athletics builds communication and commitment. Athletics is something I know; I ran Cross Country & Track in college. I’m an athlete.
Sixteen reasons you should hire athletes
1. Achieve Goals: Athletics is goal oriented . Win the championship, win the conference win the game, win the day. We work backwards from the major goal and set up a series of ascending goals as a means to an end.
2. Perform Under Pressure: we are nervous before, we never more at ease when it were in the flow of competition, and never more frustrated when we lose that rhythm. We’ve been in stages big and small. What once seemed big now seems small.
3. Execute Strategy: coaches coach, players make plays. Whether the strategy comes from others or ourselves, we’re constantly evaluated based on performance in competition.
4. See the good: in others, ourselves, situations. We find how others can help us and we realize how dependent we are. We know how we can contribute to make a difference.
5. Motivation: from ourselves, from our family, from our teammates, from our coaches, from our wins, and from our losses - we don’t just have sources, we motivational systems.
6. Commitment: at the start of every new season, we make another resolution and keep it just like we’ve kept to our sport and past teammates.
7. Will-to-win: why we commit, what we’re motivated for, why we train, why we compete. We know it’s one thing to achieve a personal goal and another thing to achieve a competitive goal when it's someone else’s goal is to stop you.
8. Sacrifice: things external, things that are uncomfortable, subordinating ego for the good of the team. We know how to put off short term gratification for long term success.
9. Resilient: we’ve been knocked down one less time than we’ve gotten up. We’ve had losses, bad performances, setbacks, injuries, burnout, but we’ve come back stronger than before.
10. Tenacious: often the difference between wining and losing is inches, we fight for that inch. Everywhere.
11. Driven: we hit resistance, we find a way to push through it. Start strong, finish stronger, and don’t let up.
12. Comfort zone leavers: whether it’s learning a new skill or extra practice or coming through in the clutch — we put ourselves out there. We know it’s the only way to get to the next level.
13. Team work: we know it’s not about just getting along with others, it’s about accountability and support. We understand roles and that every teammate has one.
14. Leadership: we’ve led, we’ve taken charge to get things done and to achieve our goals. We’ve developed our style and found what approaches work and when.
15. Followership: we know leaders need followers. We understand there is a time to lead and a time follow. We’ve gone from high-school stardom to college freshmanhood and kept going.
16. Communication: we find the most effective means to build a winning team. While united for a cause, each teammate’s background may be very different, we communicate effectively.
The hotter the heat, the harder the steel. No pressure, No Diamonds. We Compete, We Win — Robert Griffin III’s Heisman Acceptance Speech
Resilience against all odds
Resilience isn’t simply waiting out a passing letdown.
Resilience is Rudy Rutteger taking the field at Notre Dame Stadium to achieve a life-long dream. It’s Tim Tebow’s promise after the Ole Miss loss to rally Florida to a second BCS Title. It’s Bo Kimble on a Cinderella run, shooting left handed free throws to honor his late teammate.
Resilience is legendary leadership. It’s Winston Churchill overcoming severe depression and a stutter to deliver some the finest speeches to fortify a nation bombarded by pure evil. It’s Franklin D. Roosevelt battling Polio while mobilizing our nation to victory over the Axis powers. Resilience is John F. Kennedy, while privately ailing with Addison’s disease and a degenerative back, making dreams come true by vigorously pressing for a mission to the moon and basic civil rights for all Americans. Profiles in courage.
Resilience is storied careers. It's Walt Disney fired by a newspaper for not being creative enough. It's Michael Bloomberg fired from Salomon Brothers for being redundant. Resilience is Warren Buffet rejected by Harvard Business School and rebuffed from a job by his mentor.
Resilience is character’s mentor. It’s what gives us the drive for achievement after defeat, to work on our game, to push past our comfort zone. Resilience makes us evaluate our motivational systems, commitment, and our will to win. Resilience shapes our team dynamics — nothing transforms a bunch of athletes into team like a great comeback. It’s Resilience for the win.
Actionable AdviceWhatever reason you pick, if hire an athlete, odds are you’ll pick a winner. And that’s a bet you can make any day, so why not today? To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift — Steve Prefontaine, 7x NCCA Champion, Cross Country & Track