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Are You An Elite Athlete In Business? See What It Takes

Photo by Dorothea OLDANI on Unsplash

Building a venture is an endurance sport. In business, there is no off-season. Being an entrepreneur means there are no breaks, days off, or vacations––just one opportunity after another. That's why the basketball analogy for business works so well. There is a jump ball every day, and you have to hustle to outplay your opponent for the win. But what does it mean to hustle?

Hustle is not just about effort; it's really about efficiency and effectiveness. You see, even in basketball, the best players will have a strategy for how they're going to approach each play within a game and throughout their careers. Whether you're a world-class athlete or just a team player, some similarities exist between sports and business. If we compare elite athletes' qualities to business owners, the similarities are almost inseparable.

This BGV x Nike partnership is an astute display of what it means to be an elite athlete in business. Nike has always been about pushing the boundaries, breaking down barriers, and being game-changers on a global scale. When we step up to any challenge, our world is better for it. So, if Nike can take on the sports industry…we say BGV can take on the capital industry.

We believe true athletes and true leaders never settle for the status quo. They know there are constantly new challenges waiting to be conquered, and they're prepared to spend hours in the gym working hard, eating right, working on new skills — whatever it takes — so that they're ready for anything and everything that life (and success) throws at them.

For anything to level up in your venture you must be an elite athlete in business. Are you an elite athlete in business? See what it takes:

Small Goals = Big Wins

Elite athletes desire to be champions. But they're not distracted by focusing on the end goal. Elite athletes know they must break down every goal every day into discrete steps if they want to accomplish what they set out to do. They set short-term objectives that contribute to their long-term visions.

You cannot achieve an extraordinary performance without building the fundamentals first, no matter how talented a person might be. Elite athletes focus on daily skill-building techniques that allow them to compete at high levels and create the mental and emotional capacity to ride the bone-crushing waves.

Entrepreneurs must do the same. Because entrepreneurs are creatives, they can often get lost in big lofty goals. Break those lofty goals into bite-sized pieces that make achieving the goal possible. The main goal turns into a micro goal and that then turns into a mini-goal, and so forth.

Thriving Under Pressure

Elite athletes are the only people that understand what it means to perform under extreme pressure. They thrive on it. They don't fear failure (in the current moment) because of the lengths they've gone to ensure success.

The ability to perform successfully under pressure is one of the most important qualities an individual can possess. No matter what industry you are in - business, financial, service, sales, leisure, health - you will be dealing with ever-increasing levels of stress and tension, with competition becoming more intense on a global scale. Entrepreneurs must learn to make good decisions under pressure; they must think clearly even when situations are at their peak.

Panic is a clear route to a breakdown, so entrepreneurs must do what elite athletes do, ground themselves by taking a few deep breaths, and know that every step and decision they took to get there has prepared them for this very moment.


What if the secret of success is not talent but a unique blend of passion and persistence? Can grit—defined by Duckworth as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals"—be taught? Hard work and perseverance as keys to achievement in business and life.

Duckworth has found that the most successful people have grit, which she defines as "self-discipline, combined with a passionate commitment to a task and a burning desire to see it through." Elite athletes embody grit; grit allows them to lock in steadfast towards their goals. To be a successful entrepreneur, you too must embody grit. You cannot let external forces derail you as you move towards accomplishing your goals, and you must have the self-discipline to sustain yourself during tough times. And without passion for what you're doing, eventually, all will fizzle out.


Elite athletes live in the here and now. Suppose they allow themselves to spiral out of control of the what-if possibilities, fixated on the number of games it takes to qualify for a championship, they'll lose sight of their day-to-day commitments. You often hear, "They're in the zone!" That's because all of their energy and attention is in that very moment.

Likewise, for entrepreneurs, everything will pull you in multiple directions. You'll have competing projects happening, but all you can do is focus on the day-to-day tasks, or you'll lose momentum.

You Win Some You Lose Some

For elite athletes, they understand that they're not going to win every game. They don't see losses as failures. They self-reflect and ask how could they have done better? They go inwards to see how to improve their performance the next time around. The same goes for entrepreneurs; entrepreneurs don't have the luxury to lament over any failures––they make adjustments and focus on bridging gaps and strengthening any skills rather quickly.

Entrepreneurship is synonymous with risk, uncertainty, failure, and the occasional spectacular success. Sport is not unlike entrepreneurship. Elite athletes run on discipline, determination, pride, and commitment to their craft. Like an entrepreneur training their team, an athlete must redirect their energy when needed to achieve better outcomes. There's uncertainty in sports also––having faith that an extra hour of practice is paying off and the reward will come in the end. An entrepreneur is an elite athlete in a different sport. An entrepreneur's success comes from their willpower, strong belief in themselves, and their unwavering desire to be great.

To support our Black and Brown women founders at the intersection of tech and wellness we are excited to announce that we’re hosting our first-ever pitch competition collaboration with Nike! To be a part of this game-changing competition and get the chance to pitch in front of some major players in the industry, you must act fast and apply now!

Subscribe to the Digital Orange Juice for juicy ideas and the people who fund them. You can find out about our next pitch competitions here. Also, be sure to join our new community BGV Connect!

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