It may be because of my passion for my work on entrepreneurship, but I seem to see lessons and parallels for entrepreneurs in so many things that happen daily.
This week I have seen my evenings dominated by the Olympic Games from Rio and the first thing that struck an entrepreneurial cord was the performance of the American swimmer, Michael Phelps.
Now I have always been opposed to the belief that disruptive children should be diagnosed with the 1990s illness of ADHD. Apart from the fact that we are treating a mental condition with drugs, too many people are being diagnosed with the condition simply because academia bores them.
It was only when reading Michael’s story that I discovered that he had been diagnosed with ADHD and had become one of the seven million young Americans on drugs to treat it. However, by using swimming as a focus, he was able to come off the drugs and he became the most successful Olympian of all time.
The second person that caught my eye was the British rower, Katherine Grainger, who won five medals over sixteen years, with her latest one this week coming after the age of 40.
Too often we associate sporting excellence with youth and yet Katherine has shown that age is no barrier if you want something badly enough to make the necessary sacrifices. As a consequence she has become the British woman with the most Olympic medals ever.
And Katherine is certainly not an exception. Already medals have gone to older competitors, with many of those competing in various events actually in their fifties and sixties. Not all of these older competitors are on sports such as horse-riding or shooting. There are competitors in athletics and gymnastics that are over forty and were already competing in Olympics before some of their competition was born.
So my second thought is that we should not associate entrepreneurship with age, but with a state of mind.
The third lesson for entrepreneurs comes from watching those competitors who had been expected to win but who didn’t make it onto the rostrum.
Entrepreneurship is a very risky business. There is no guarantee of success, but even in failure there is hope to be gained from some of the Olympic performances.
I was watching an interview last night where a rowing twosome had come fifth in the final. Their immediate comment was to congratulate those that beat them and then to talk about planning for the next Olympics.
They understood that failure is an event and not a person. They also understood that failure is not in falling down but in failing to get up and try again.
So, in between the excitement of watching the various sports, watch also for these entrepreneurial traits as well as some others, such as hard work, commitment, sacrifice and passion.