To awaken; to cause a feeling to arise in the soul.

Athletes inspire the world through their achievements and positive mindset. From youth to adults, everyone admires and looks up to high-performance athletes and many consider them role models. This inspiration can lead to motivating fans to follow the same path and make positive improvements in their lives, such as participating in sports, working out at home, changing their diet, and more.

As entrepreneurs, managers, employees, etc. we may not relate to an athlete for physical prowess, but we can certainly relate to their passion and learn from their quest to follow their dreams. 

For this reason, entrepreneurs and corporate executives often decide to include inspirational moments with an athlete on stage telling his/her story of sport during the company conventions and in corporate training programs: 

through the stories of their sporting achievements, athletes are able to convey important messages and generate in the audience a reaction, if not a real virtuous action.

Here are some of the themes through which we can all feel inspired.

Athletes defy the odds.

Whether it’s a modest upbringing, a career-threatening injury, or a classic underdog scenario, athletes want to prove the skeptics wrong. Fueled by non-believers, they possess the ability to overcome adversity like no other. Where others see fear, they see the symbolism of what they want, and they get it.

Athletes sacrifice.

Being an athlete is a lifestyle that consumes every aspect of your life – your free time, your body, and for some in the beginning, your collegiate experience as a kid. In Kobe Bryant’s recent documentary “Muse,” he talks about the epitome of sacrifice when asked about “greatness”

“…If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. We can all be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is that there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Time for family, time to hang out with friends, time to be a great friend, time to be a great son, grandson, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that go along with making that decision.”

Athletes have an option.

“If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do you keep score?”

Vincent Lombardi

This sentiment encapsulates the game of life for an athlete. They are so dedicated to making their dream of winning a reality that they banish any possibility of a backup plan from their mind. Thoughts like “if this doesn’t work, I’ll try something else, etc.” simply don’t exist. Monomaniacal focus on a single goal is the ultimate success ploy; and a pattern found in everyone from Edison to Einstein, and from Manning to Mantle. If you want the power to follow your dreams, you have to say no to all the alternatives.

Athletes see life as a game.

Let’s face it, after all, every sport is a game. And if athletes are lucky enough, they get paid to play. Having this vision and approach to life opens up space for play and creativity, and removes limitations. A gamification-based approach to life also cultivates qualities of resilience and confidence, and an appetite for risk – critical for advancement.