This is Kevin + in today’s post, I am sharing 5 lessons that I learned in sports that translated into making me a better partner + parent entrepreneur. And there’s a good chance that your connection to athletics offers you the same clarity in your parent entrepreneurship, too.
Whenever decision-making feels extra challenging in parenthood or entrepreneurship, reflecting back on how you made decisions as part of a different “zone of genius” can often help alleviate the pressure + achieve clarity without wasting time sitting in indecision.
Each of the 5 lessons is paired with key leadership questions that I use to make my CEO decisions more efficiently.
Let’s get into it!
No. 1 — It is about us, not me
The success of a team or an individual is based on everyone buying into the system. Everyone pulling in the same direction creates a force to be reckoned with.
During my first two years of college, I had the privilege to play on highly skilled teams. In my first year, we were all on board with the system + we won the National Championship. The next year, with pretty much the same team, we were all in it for ourselves. And, you guessed it, we didn’t make it to the postseason.
Understanding that the success of the individual is tied to the success of the team carries over directly into parent entrepreneurship. Rallying everyone around guiding principles that aligns with the overall goals of each individual will make everyone more successful.
Now, let’s bring business into this world. Large corporations use mission statements, 5-year plans + codes of ethics to bring the group on board with the goals of the company. All of these tactics eliminate options for the employees + create a similar decision-making process across the board.
Instead of being paralyzed by ambiguity, employees ask themselves “does this align with the mission of the company?”. The answer to that question is obvious + knowing that clear answer leads them to take action.
The same goes for us as parent entrepreneurs. Our success is not only about us. OrganicFamilyCEO is not only about me. Our family-centered companies are about the bigger picture of being present at home more + in work less. When you run every decision through that lens, you will begin to see clearer steps toward your goals + help your team members stay in alignment, too.
A great decision-making question is:
Is this about ME or is this about the MISSION?
No. 2 – Set Expectations, Establish + Embrace Roles
Everyone wants to be the superstar that scores the championship-clinching goal, cementing their name in the history books. The only problem with this is that there is only one game-winning goal that can be scored + if everyone is trying to be the person who scores that goal, a loss is almost guaranteed.
Star players need to produce points. Role players need to make hustle plays. Goalies prevent goals. Coaches set strategy. A sports team is similar to an assembly line churning out cars. Each player has a specific job to do that leads to a successful outcome. If all of the parts do their job, the team wins more than they lose. If not, the team fails.
As CEOs, we are responsible for setting the tone for our business + family to ensure each part of the equation is doing the job effectively. When we assign roles that get everyone pushing in the same direction, we can accomplish more than we can with everyone scattered.
Take a look at your business, identify what roles are needed, who can do them well + communicate clear expectations. And do the same for your family team, too.
Some great decision-making questions:
Does everyone have a clear job to do? How will they know they’ve been successful?
No. 3 – Be Coachable
Coachability is the sports term for being willing to change or improve your skillset by way of constructive criticism. An athlete that takes critiques from coaches well is going to improve individually + become a bigger asset to the overall team. Athletes who are uncoachable become a problem — usually in the way of an inflated ego that slowly decays relationships from the inside.
Coachability is HUGE as a parent entrepreneur. Whether you are listening to feedback from your spouse on the new email funnel, hearing from an unhappy client, or getting a food review on the pasta dinner from your child, having the ability to accept the feedback gracefully gives you the chance to continue to adapt + grow as a person that can lead your family business to success.
Choose the path of coachability. Take in the suggestion, realize the benefits of making the adjustment + continue to improve your skills as a CEO.
Some great decision-making questions:
Am I being coachable in this moment? What feels true + necessary about this feedback even if a bit confronting?
No. 4 – Be a Student of the Game
Preparation is the great separator in sports: not only in physical attributes but, more importantly, in the mental game.
Take professional athletes as an example. There are fractional differences in physical ability among the majority of pro athletes; mental preparation is what separates the best from the great.
Tom Brady is not the most physically gifted quarterback in the league today let alone the history of football. However, he never stops educating himself on the game of football. By relentlessly watching game film, trying new training methods, talking to past players, paying attention to trends + making educated decisions he has become the best quarterback to ever play the game.
Parent entrepreneurship is one of the biggest games we all will ever play. We all have unique physical attributes that give each of us different advantages + opportunities. These physical attributes will only bring us so far. Mental strength is what builds confidence to be successful.
Become a student of your business. Read books, talk to people who you see as role models, debrief every interaction with your team, ask your spouse to playback the day for areas to improve.
Courtney + I love debriefing + talking through the previous day or event to see where we can improve — what worked, what didn’t, what can be improved. Look back at every interaction during the day + continue being a student of your game.
Some great decision-making questions:
What can I learn from this recent experience – good, bad or indifferent? What would be most helpful to learn more about next?
No. 5 – Be Patient, Have Fun
I played sports because I loved being an athlete. Being on the ice or field every day made me a better human being because I absolutely loved the process of improving my skillset + testing myself against others in a game + then doing it all over again the next day.
Courtney + I started a family because we wanted to spend every day with each other. We became entrepreneurs to make that a possibility. We chose everything in our life because those are the elements that bring us the most joy + happiness.
Remember that your choosing to be a parent entrepreneur is a choice you made out of love, too. Yes, there will be times of frustration as challenges present themselves, but those are welcomed challenges we opted into in some way. Remember to love the process of improving your skillset, testing yourself + then doing it all over again the next day. These are the good days… Stay patient + have fun as you enjoy the ride.
A great decision-making question:
Would I choose these challenges over others?
We’d love to hear from you: what is your “zone of genius”?
Everyone － yes, everyone － has a “zone of genius” that has offered teachable lessons for business + family at some point. As shared, mine happens to be sports. Not an athlete? Consider your creative pursuits.
When you pull references from your outside zone of genius experiences, you’ll be surprised to find your decision-making as a parent CEO becomes infinitely clearer. And, as always, that you are more prepared than you think for raising healthy children + wealth-building businesses.
Share your wisdom with us + other like-minded parent entrepreneurs in the comments below.