6 Things I’ve Learned Training with Professional Athletes

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Athletes and Entrepreneurs are alike. We’re both competitive individuals chasing a dream.

And the more I’ve been training at this gym, the more I see these similarities.

I’ve been in and out of the gym for about 5 years, but in the last 2 years, I’ve started to take it more seriously because, in order for me to take care of others, I must take care of myself first.

So here are the 6 things I’ve learned by training alongside athletes and how it applies to being an entrepreneur.

1. GETTING TO THE GYM IS THE HARDEST PART

I used to hop out of bed, and the gym is literally 2 mins walk from my home.

Now, I drive about 30 mins each way, four days a week.

Some of the athletes drive or commute over an hour each way, every day.

I often dread the drive, but once I get to the gym and start moving, I’m always thankful I did.

In business, I always have a weekly top 3 list which consists of 3 things I must get done.

Often, these things are important but not urgent and required a lot of effort.

The hardest part is actually not getting distracted and putting yourself into your own genius zone.

That takes time, sometimes at least 30 mins without any distraction before the even being in that flow.

But I do my best not to check my email, complete at least 1 of the 3 before I do anything else.

It’s tough to adjust sometimes as I’m sometimes addicted (that blinking blue light) to checking my email and messages.

But when I make progress on any of my top 3, I’m always thankful I did.

2. CONSISTENCY AND HABITS

“Without commitment, you’ll never start, but more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish.” – Denzel Washington

All elite athletes have a goal, they want to be the best and make it to the Pro, or if they are already Pro, how to stay Pro.

But the ones that fail, are the ones that focus only on their goals.

The ones that make it, understand that it’s everyday habits that move the needle.

They know they need to train every day. If they missed one day, they’ll make it up in the evening or another day.

Missing a day means they are a day behind in their dreams and a day behind their competitors.

They look back and see that the results of achieving their goals, is because of the hard work they’ve put in each and every day.

In business, I believe in setting goals too, but not focusing on it. I set these goals to help me come up with daily and weekly habits.

These are the things I MUST do, in order to achieve that goal.

My business goals are to sustain a profit of $500K by next year. My habits are to build leadership 2x a week, set weekly accountable tasks, and learn something new each week.

My goals fitness goals were to get stronger and hit the ball 300+ yards. My habits were to hit the gym 4 times a week and get golf coaching once a week.

I scheduled that into the calendar, and it happens.

3. MOVEMENT IS NOT PROGRESS

The fastest and strongest elite athletes know that ladder drills doesn’t make you faster. Lifting heavy weights fast, and running fast does.

Athletes are pitched gimmicks and magic pills all the time, and I mean, ALL THE TIME like these ladder drills, speed treadmills, etc. that simply don’t work, but looks fancy.

In business, there are sayings just as bad as the ladder drill: You need a perfect business plan. The customer is always right. You need an office. Find a market with no competition.

I was sold that being quick to respond and always being available was a magic pill to success. I used to think if I can answer all my emails quickly and effectively, it means that I’ll be more successful, and more work is done.

Sadly, the only thing answering more emails does is make you feel like you are busy, and distract you from what’s important for the business.

I was moving, but I wasn’t necessarily progressing.

4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ELEVATE YOU

Being an athlete is often lonely and hard. Only 0.1% of people make it.

When I hear athletes who train alone or at home, or at a local boxed gym, they never progress as fast as those who train in a competitive environment.

The athletes I see training with others who want it just as much, if not more than they do, and a culture of people who will cheer for them and support them see tenfold gains.

As an entrepreneur, I share that same loneliness. People around me didn’t get it.

Entrepreneur Meme by Jerad Hill

For many years, I “trained” alone.

It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to get invited to join the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, where its peer to peer learning, once in a lifetime unique experiences, and access to the world’s best experts that I was able to understand what true entrepreneurship & leadership was.

I got to work out the business “muscles” surrounded by entrepreneurs who got me, and who want to see me succeed as much as I much as I want to see them succeed.

That was my game changer.

5. GET RID OF THE DISTRACTIONS

In this gym, the athletes are not allowed to use their phones for personal use when training.

With technology and instant communication nowadays, it’s easy to be distracted and nothing is truly urgent.

By enforcing a no personal use rule in the gym, the athletes are focused and have a far better session.

Can you imagine the mood if I were to check my messages and see something that is completely negative (ie. losing a client, someone passes away, landlord issues, etc.)?

How can I be as effective afterward? I can’t, it’s tough.

It may be important, but it ain’t urgent.

In the office, I leave the phone on do not disturb mode (only my favorite contacts will make noise).

I use that time to hammer through as many of my top 3 priorities as I can until a certain time (usually a good 2-3 hour sprint) before checking the phone for missed calls & messages.

It has fundamentally improved efficiency and quality of the work I’ve been producing.

6. IT IS A JOURNEY

Lastly, when I see new athletes come in, it’s very common that they are looking for instant results. I’m guilty of being one of them too.

With instant gratification and the boom of social media, who doesn’t want to succeed like, yesterday.

“Being average takes weeks, being good takes months, being great takes years, being extraordinary takes decades.” – Jeremy Choi

Some athletes come in thinking that they can be Pro within 2-3 years of training. It’s delusional.

They are just playing catch up. Read Shaquem Griffin’s Letter to NFL GMs.

Athletes want to get fast, strong, and explosive, but if they don’t have a proper foundation, and not willing to put in the years of work, they might as well just stop.

We have a saying in the gym, “This system is like a pressure cooker and over time, it produces diamonds.”.

As an entrepreneur, I also want to be profitable and successful as fast as possible.

I once signed on a bunch of clients cause I wanted the revenue to come in, but I did not have sufficient infrastructure to support them.

After a few months, its net resulted in bad reputation and losing a few clients.

It was tough to recover from it.

Building a solid foundation takes a lot of time and a lot of practice.

I had to take one step backward to actually move two steps forward.

I spent almost 3 years of practicing the Entrepreneurs Operating System (EOS) before it actually created traction within the company, getting meaningful data, and a structure in which I use to make better business decisions.

Don’t lose sight of the long-term goals for short-term gains.

Be extraordinary.

About the author

Jeremy Choi

I’m a husband, father, entrepreneur, mentor, and an irredeemable golf addict. Possibly like you, my big hairy audacious goal (vision) is to make a positive dent in this world. I write about creating better leaders, workers, and people. I also write about my experiences in all aspects of my life. These ideas are my experiences living & learning through my own core values; integrity, authenticity, leadership, inspire, and health.

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