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Younes Hairej


Athletes That Are Inspiring Me In My Entrepreneurial Journey

There is a lot that entrepreneurs can learn from athletes; endurance, grit, clear goals, clear measures of success, unwavering commitment, high standards, losing with grace, comebacks, self-awareness, energy management, and stress management, to name a few.

I thought to jolt a list of athletes that inspire me be a better entrepreneur, and have "l'esprit sportif" :)

    1. Micheal Jordan, the Cleaner

    “Cleaners are rule-breakers when they have to be; they only care about the end result. When things go wrong, and everyone else starts to panic, the Cleaner is calm and unflappable, cool and steady, never too high or too low, never too happy or too depressed.” ― Tim S. Grover, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable

    MJ is the ultimate Cleaner. His confidence and unwavering commitment are off the chart.

    As an entrepreneur, there is a lot to learn here from MJ, the Cleaner.

    2. Muhammed Ali

    “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life," - Muhammed Ali

    Confidence, passion, and humor are his middle names :) He is simply one of the greatest athletes.

    A burning passion, unwavering self-confidence, and courage are key ingredients for success as an entrepreneur.

    3. Andre Agassi

    “Life will throw everything but the kitchen sink in your path, and then it will throw the kitchen sink. It’s your job to avoid the obstacles. If you let them stop you or distract you, you’re not doing your job, and failing to do your job will cause regrets that paralyze you more than a bad back.” ― Andre Agassi, Open

    No drama, no complaint! Own it! Is the message. Andre's work ethic is inspiring. I can't wait to hit the pages of Open.

    4. Pete Sampras

    “I never wanted to be the great guy or the colorful guy or the interesting guy. I wanted to be the guy who won titles.” ― Pete Sampras

    I started loving the game because of Pete. Pete’s ability to keep calm, even in the toughest situation, is impressive among his many great qualities on and off the field.

    As an entrepreneur, staying calm and focused during valleys is vital.

    5. Rikako Ikee

    After spending 10 months in the hospital battling cancer, the Olympian swimmer, Rikako returned to training and made it to the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Olympics.

    This is one of my favorite comeback stories. She is a great inspiration.

    Entrepreneurs face setbacks, sometimes bad ones like failed businesses and bankruptcies, but there are always ways to come back.

    This reminds me of Thailand's Sandwich Man, Sirivat Voravetvuthikun, who lost his real estate business.

    "Today as you can see, I can smile. Although I was formerly rich, I was a bankrupt person. Today, I run a very, very small business. And I still sell sandwiches on the streets of Bangkok, although I'm going to have shops now one after the other. I feel happy." ― Rikako Ikee

    6. Serena Williams

    She is one of the best athletes of all time.

    She is a fighter on the course, and she doesn’t care what others think.

    “Think of all the girls who could become top athletes but quit sports because they’re afraid of having too many defined muscles and being made fun of or called unattractive.” ― Serena Williams

    7. Zinedine Zidane

    You can be of humble origins and be an introvert and still be the best in the world, winning gold.

    “When Zidane stepped onto the pitch, the 10 other guys just got suddenly better. It is that simple. It was magic.” ― Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    This is a lesson for entrepreneurs; hire people who not only are great at what they do but who can transform things around them.

    8. Roger Federer

    "What I think I've been able to do well over the years is play with pain, play with problems, play in all sorts of conditions." - Roger Federer

    This quote sums it up for me.

    Plus, Roger is simply a great guy. You can be 40, rich, successful, and still be a kind and nice person. Or maybe because he is a nice guy, he is all that :)

    You don't need to step on others to advance in life. You can give and be wildly successful.

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