Lessons From Boxing To Take Into Business
Recently I took up the art of boxing, mainly for fitness and to get rid of the belly while having fun. And while the practice has taught me a lot about fitness, modesty and plain old fun, what surprised me the most was the life lessons I learned.
I may not get a shot at Floyd Mayweather’s belt, but I do know that certain philosophies about performance apply both inside, and outside, the ring. Here are some lessons from boxing that might apply to your efforts to excel in business:
- Preparation is key – As Muhammad Ali said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” It’s amazing how long a three-minute round can feel when you’re squared off against an opponent. Not preaparing correctly will almost always leave you unable to compete in the ring. Anybody who’s ever given an important presentation has likely dealt with the pain of being unrehearsed for a rapid-fire question from the boss or client. The difference between failure and success in boxing, as well as in business, often comes down to that all-important advanced work.
- Develop mental toughness – Cus D’Amato, the famous trainer of champions Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson and others,once said, “The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.” As in boxing every business leader has been scared of something , use that fear to chase your goals and put the energy in the right direction.
- Master the basics – In boxing, the four basic punches are the jab, straight, uppercut and hook. Every boxer will throw more than you can count in an attempt at mastery. Business experts too often take for granted that they’re correctly implementing the fundamentals without consistent practice. What are the four basic punches of your job? How can you work to improve each of them?
- Champions are made not born – Although most boxing champions are born with a certain amount of god given talent, the fact of the matter is it took days, months and years of dedication and hard work to reach their goals even if at first they were not naturally the best.
- Be on guard – An infamous boxing line “protect yourself at all times” offers simple but powerful advice for all exploits in life. What are your weaknesses as a leader? Are you guarding against letting these limitations take you out?
- Be genuine – Like my coach constantly reminds me at training, don’t compare yourself to others your best punch might work for you and not for others. This is a great reminder that while there are a few universal rules in boxing and business, people need to be the best version of themselves to land the knockout blow.
Boxing like many sports can help you grow as a person in both a personal and professional capacity making it a sport relevant to all walks of life. This is just one of the factors that drives us here at African Ring to keep the promotion of South African boxing alive and well.