5 Business Lessons I Learned From Watching Gymnastics


5 Business Lessons I Learned From Watching Gymnastics

As I sat watching my daughter at gymnastics recently, I realised that there are many skills and abilities she has to have in order to be successful in her sport, that we could also equate to being a successful Small Business owner.

It’s important to be bendy

A gymnast will have their routine meticulously planned out, with every move structured to flow seamlessly into the next.  If however, as the gymnast moves through their routine something unexpected happens, they must be able to remain open and adaptive, able to respond to what is happening in that moment.

It is the same for Small Business owners, for we must respond to what is happening in the marketplace and perhaps alter the course of our product or service accordingly.

Running a business is no different to being a gymnast in this regard – with a business plan and routine needed and goals to be set and focused on.

Strength at your core

Flexibility alone however, is not enough – a successful gymnast also needs core strength and stability.  If they are overly flexible without any inner strength, they may run the risk of pulling a muscle or doing more permanent damage.

Whilst it’s good to have flexibility as a Small Business owner, it’s vital that we are the strong and steady core strength of our business.  If we fall apart, so does everything around us.  We must always have a clear vision of why we do what we do – is it to make a difference in the world, to be of service to others, to pay for an annual holiday, to pay off the mortgage, to put the kids through college, or something else entirely?

Knowing our driving factor will help us to stay strong and stable.

Consistency is key to success

My daughter cannot go to gymnastics only when she feels like it and expect to excel.  She has to practice, day after day, week after week.  She has to listen to her coach, watch how others succeed and get up every time she falls down.  She has to go when she’s tired, when she’s fed up, when she’s feeling lazy and when she has her cranky pants on.

It’s no different when we’re running a business – we don’t wake up one day as a success (much to some people’s surprise) – it takes dedication and time to learn the necessary skills.  We all know that it’s fun to spend hours watching cat videos on YouTube and checking out what our friends are doing on Facebook, but just as this won’t make us a top gymnast, it won’t make us a successful business owner either.

We need to have a plan and we need to work that plan – day after day after day!  There’s nothing wrong with watching a cat video or two, but one or two can easily turn into three hours of watching animal antics.

Practice makes you closer to perfect

I watched my daughter learning to do what she calls a front walkover.  When she first started she would do handstands up against the wall, then it progressed to going over onto a high sofa, then to a few cushions and eventually she was able to go straight over and land perfectly on her feet.  It took weeks of practicing, every day, watching others do it and getting up every time she fell down.

To become proficient at running our own business will probably take more than a just a few weeks, but by practicing every day, learning from peers, coaches and mentors, eventually we will get there.  The world changes constantly and we must change with it, continuing to learn and grow as we go.  This is why sites like Smallville are perfect for business owners like you and me.

Don’t mind the wobbles

If you are on the balance beam and you lean too far one way, you will wobble and likely fall.

Running a business is much like performing on a balance beam – you have to walk a fine line, staying focused on the end result, but navigating the wobbles along the way.  If you lose your balance, you are likely to fall.

This is a trap that many solopreneurs often fall into, with something eventually having to give.  We think we don’t have time for self-care, exercise, healthy food, time with loved ones, hobbies or even sometimes sleep and this can be our downfall.

Are you a business gymnast?  I’d love to know how you practice consistency, with both flexibility and strength with balance in mind.

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  • Georgia Thomas

    Love it Sharon. Really good article.

  • Michala

    Love this down to earth, tell it as it is approach to business. Off to limber up now!

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