What can Britain’s most successful Olympian teach your business?

Posted by Jonathan Davies

MJF Accountancy Ltd

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Thu 01st, Oct

I was recently lucky enough to attend an event with Chris Hoy who, with 6 gold medals, is Great Britain’s most successful ever Olympian. He told us his story and there were lots of areas that can be applied by business owners.

I want to be Olympic champion

For me, the most useful was his discussion on goals and planning. When he was 16, the coach at his cycling club asked all the cyclists what their goals were. Despite not being the best cyclist in his country, city, or even the club, Chris said he wanted to be Olympic champion in 10 years.

While some of the others laughed, Chris and the coach started to pull together a plan. There was a long-term goal, but with steps mapped out.

Chris has followed this approach throughout his career. A plan is put in place and then all of the steps meticulously planned. This allows him to focus on one small thing at a time, knowing it’s all leading to the ultimate goal.

For example, he talked about his training camp in Australia, where he’d get up, have breakfast, cycle to the track, train until he was physically sick, cycle back, have lunch, etc, etc. He said that the only way he could carry on was by focusing on one thing at a time and doing it. If he was doing 2 hours of hard training and also thinking about doing it again that afternoon, he’d have given up! He just had to focus, do it, and then move on to the next step, knowing it all fitted the big plan and the ultimate goal to get a gold medal.

This is a massive lesson for business owners – have a long-term goal and a plan to achieve it.

There’s no use complaining

Another lesson from Chris’s talk was that, when things happen that are out of your control, there’s no use complaining. You just need to knuckle down and get on with it. If you need to, you’ll have to change your plans and adapt.

2 years into training for the Beijing Olympics, Chris’s discipline was actually removed from the Olympics. He knew that there was nothing he could do to change this so, instead of moaning, he adapted and trained for a different event - the keirin….and ended up with 3 gold medals in Beijing.

How often, as entrepreneurs, do we find ourselves complaining about the recession, government, competition, etc? If we’re going to succeed, it’s all down to us!

The small things matter

Chris also spoke about how the team looked at every minute detail that they could do better. By increasing the effectiveness of each small thing by 1%, the cumulative effect could be massive. This was a key factor in a sport where fractions of a second could make all the difference. In fact, Chris won one of his gold medals by one hundredth of a second!

As an entrepreneur, the smallest details can really matter in a crowded marketplace. Our potential customers have so much choice, we need to make sure they choose us.


And, last but not least, Chris told us how he was inspired to ride his bike by ET!

Do you want a Liverpool accountant who looks forwards instead of backwards? Contact Jonathan

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