Chaotic rhythm, pressure, and stress. These are typical issues of sports and business and in both cases, mental strength is what you need to reach great results. As we all know the talent is important, but the mental focus is fundamental. What can we learn from great sports champions to improve our approach to work?


 

When it comes to making a comparison between best sports players and best business professionals we always end talking about their success. We try to analyze what drives them, their sacrifices and the effort they make in what they do, the passion that motivates them every day of their life. We are all familiar with the Williams sisters efforts, the neverending training of Andre Agassi, the commitment of Elon Musk, just to name some of them.

No-one tho focus on some important and underrated aspects such as their mental balance and aptitude.

In the last months, we heard a lot about depression in sports (let’s think about Kevin Love touching interview for “The Players Tribune”) in many articles and discussions that are clearing this way a very important and sensitive topic.

There is, in fact, another side of the coin: success often comes with dark aspects and psychological issues, such as managers and media pressure or just the fear of not being enough for the ones who believe in you. 

We can find some examples in swimming. We already talked about Federica Pellegrini panic attacks: the prizewinning Italian champion faced during her career many demons, but she was always able to win them, go on with her life and collect many more successes.

Another example in the same sector is Ian Thorpe. The gold Olympic champion is one of the most representative voice regarding sports and mental health. The constant pressure he had to deal with in his entire life, brought him to fight against depression during his career.

Changing sports field, we can find one more example in rugby, where Sir John Kirwan, member of the All Black, wrote a book about how depression affected his life and career

All these examples tell us that great athletes are not immune to this deeply complex issue.

The same pressure and negative feelings can be found in a working environment. Big companies need to reach goals and economic results: this means that employees work under pressure and in a constant stress condition. Also, a temporary contract and the fear not to match everyone expectations can bring negative feelings and the wrong mood into the office.

In spite of success, a good job position and a high-level salary are not enough to prevent status of depression.

To sum up the best sports athletes and business managers pieces of advice, we can list 5 important points:

1. We must understand we are not alone. Never.

2. We must feel free to talk about any kind of issue

3. We are not different from others

4. To beat depression is possible, but to do that we need to ask for help

5. A professional figure can help us face the problem

Often depression leaves serious marks that can compromise the chance of a complete mental recovery. Not to be able to understand the reason for this condition is the biggest fear for everyone. People affected by depression are afraid to be judged and don’t want to talk about their problem.

The example of great champions and managers who are willing to talk about this issue can help many people in the same situation and give them courage.

Once again, let sports inspire us and teach us how to take care of ourselves.