At HUB XV we often talk about the cross-over of business and sport – but what does that actually mean? If you’re running your own company, working remotely or simply exist as a human in our increasingly frantic world, when will you find time to get back into sport? And why would you bother?
HUB Manager Laura Brewster met with Karen Ramirez, founder of Sporting Sheroes (and HUB XV member at Bath Racecourse) to discover the real-time benefits sport can bring to your work life.
# 1: A Fresh Perspective
The obvious one. Whether you’re heading to a game of 5-a-side during your lunch break, or braving an early morning spin class, the most obvious benefits will be raising your endorphins and clearing your head. We’ve all seen the studies that show how exercise relieves stress. (If you need any further evidence, it can be found within this study on the impact exercise has on cognitive ability as well as this one, showing a similar outcome).
Anyone in attendance at our recent HUB Breakfast Club with HUB XV Ambassador Mark Colbourne will have heard Mark tell you to “think like a champion”. Are you eating healthily? Are you keeping fit? Are you ensuring your mind and body are at their very best? Because if you do, you’ll feel the benefits at work immediately.
But apart from easing stress, maintaining your focus and giving you head space to problem solve, how else can sport impact your business?
# 2: Get the best from your employees
Playing within a team allows you to look at the different skill sets each player brings to the table. With the same goal in mind (literally, with some sports), each individual will tackle a problem differently. The challenge here is to make sure each player is positioned and coachedappropriatelyt o give their ultimate performance.
If you belong to a larger company, run your own business, or manage a team of any kind, you’ll quickly need to learn the best ways to keep others motivated and on target. Often this comes down to allowing every team member to play to their strengths, ensuring they’re fulfilled, encouraged and proud of their input each day.
Ollie Philips went into detail at our evening networking event back in January, regarding motivating teams in times of change. More of Ollie’s thoughts and tips can be found on his website, Optimist Performance.
# 3: Collaborate – Business is not a solo sport
Collaboration… It’s a bit of a buzzword but for good reason, as it’s an essential one. Karen expounds,“even freelancers rely on agencies and client input”.
Within the sporting world, you may score an incredible goal, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the perfectly executed pass that came beforehand. Likewise, in the business world, if you win a new client, it wouldn’t have been possible without the design team that created the ad the client saw online, or the marketing team who put the campaign idea together, or even the cleaner who created a comfortable space for your colleagues to perform to their full potential. Sport can remind you just how reliant you are on every single member of your team.
# 4: Nurture Your Pipeline
“Make sure to nurture those coming up behind you”, Karen advises.Spread tasks and wins evenly. If you constantly give all the opportunities to your ‘best players’, what will happen if they get injured, join another team or simply fall out of love with what they’re doing and leave?Evenly spread match experience across the squad, ensuring all players progress and develop. Sometimes it’s those you didn’t expect who shine once given the time and opportunity to.
This concept can be seen in action within England Rugby’s new Half Game Rule for all age grade players, in which every player from a match day squad is guaranteed to play at least half the game. Not only does it ensure all players benefit from match experience, it’s a great retention tool to reduce players who get stuck on the bench from leaving through frustration of never getting to play.
It’s a concept worth taking onboard in the workplace. Share the load, share the opportunities and share the experience so that each person can grow, develop and flourish, and, at the same time, reduce attrition.
# 5: Cost out your targets and aspirations
Us Brits can be terrible when it comes to ‘money talk’. It’s commonly recognised that we – and women in particular - shy away from the hard financial conversations; but it’s a topic we need to get to grips with, as there’s absolutely no shame in it, and it’s kind of a big deal.
Cost out what you want to do, and how you’re going to do it. If you’re thinking of taking up surfing, how regularly are you going to be able to go? How much is a winter wetsuit for the cold UK weather? What’s the cheapest and easiest way to get to the beach? All this financial planning should be exactly how you’re thinking within your business. What’s the end target for this quarter? How are you going to get there? What can you cut down on? And where might you need to spend some more?
Choose Your Anchor of Discipline
The final tip Karen gives, regardless of whether you decide to take up sport or not, is to start every day with an Anchor of Discipline– a term she credits to her own US coach, David King. This is a fundamental task you will do every single day without fail. Be that a social media posting, a 20-minute business briefing or a 10-minute meditation. By crossing that one task off your list every single day, you stay on track, maintain productivity and create a habit of achievement.
Karen Ramirez is the founder of Sporting Sheroes, a company that helps women in sport raise their profiles and develop successful commercial sponsorship packages, market them and then deliver them to perfection.
Karen has worked with women across a variety of sports and at all levels from grass roots to elite level athletes, including a medal-winning Paralympian, a multi-sport group visiting the UK from Palestine, a former weight-lifting champion and elite windsurfers. She works with athletes directly, as well as coaches, managers and parents of younger athletes hoping to improve their game through sponsorship.
For more of her thoughts around women in sport, check out her Sporting Sheroesblog or head over to her Instagram: @sportingsheroes
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