As a young man, I was drawn to the sport of wrestling. I started at a very young age and practiced through my college life. I have medals and messed up ears to prove it. I liked wrestling because there was a degree of personal accountability unlike any other sport. The wrestling team worked out incessantly, managed our diets, and was always ready for a challenge. The sport taught me a lot about business.
“After you have wrestled, everything else in life is easier” – Dan Gable
Simplify and Replicate
There are moves in wrestling that are more exciting to watch than others…you can get away with them when you are far better than your opponent (not in a close match). The smart wrestlers keep it simple.
In business we tend to get distracted by the new technology, a hot new product line, and/or a new advertising campaign. Technology becomes out-dated, but there are a few human traits that are always reliable:
- Listen more than you talk
- Know how your product/service solves business problems
- Learn to adapt to market conditions
Conditioning Matters Most
You may know a hundred maneuvers, but if you are too tired to execute them, they are useless. The key in wrestling is to be in superior physical condition. When your opponent tires, you will know it, then you can attack.
Regardless of your occupation, hard work breeds success. You will win business deals, get promoted, and gain limitless knowledge if you are the first one in the office and the last one gone. Knowledge and training are useless if you do not apply what you know with uncompromising effort.
There is No One to Blame but Yourself
In team sports you can blame your failures on a teammate, coach, or referee. Not in wrestling….if you lose you are out there alone, everyone sees you go down, and there is no debating the score. Wrestlers train their asses off to ensure failure is not an option.
At Ohio State wrestling camp in the summer of 1991, I wrestled a person in the camp tournament. He asked me to allow him to take me down so he could score points toward his overall placing. No freaking chance!!!
I play sports to win. I am not on the mat to learn a lesson, give someone else an opportunity to impress their girlfriend, or to allow consolation to be a favor to another. Business, like sports, is about winning! The minute you allow yourself to play secondfiddle to another you sell short your genuine ability to perform. The good lord put you on the earth to evolve through competition. No one gets better if everyone does not give their full effort. If you do not go to work every single day with the full intent of giving every ounce of your effort to the days objectives….you have been pinned down!
Put on your headgear, it’s time to go to work!