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15 Ways Football Is Like Business

Advisors can learn a thing or two from college football players.

Allyson Lewis, 10/28/2010

Have you ever attended an early morning college football practice? Picture the practice field: It's 5:30 a.m. when the players arrive--it's dark as they walk through the parking lot to put on their pads and practice uniforms. As they walk out on the field, the grass is still slick with the morning dew. The weight of their frames sinks their cleats deep into the grass.

At the collegiate level, playing football is a full-time business. These young men arrive every day ready to play. From the moment they step onto the field they are expected to play as though it is a two minute drill with the ball in their own "red zone." Every play matters, execution matters, effort matters.
Here are 15 lessons football has taught me about excellence in business.

1. Show up ready to play
How did you feel when you arrived at the office this morning? Half the battle is showing up at your office every morning ready to work. It could be as simple as making sure you are rested and that you have had a nutritious breakfast.

2. Make a full-force effort
A few years ago, I had a bench pass to watch Arkansas State University play Texas A&M. I was standing about 10 feet from the field on the 35-yard line when I saw two men collide at full speed. It was a "full force" impact--I had never experienced it from a 10-foot point of view and I quickly realized that what I saw and heard from my regular seats in the stands and what I was experiencing at this moment was an entirely different game. My respect for the effort and physical strength it took increased significantly. I want to live life with this "full-force effort."

3. You need a talented coach
It is important to have a coach that believes in you, someone you trust to teach you the fundamental approach to success. Your coach should encourage, inspire, teach, and call out the best in you.

4. Develop your mindset
Success in life begins by developing the proper mindset. Clarify what you want to accomplish. Then you must believe. Positive mindset is crucial to success in business.

5. Back up your mindset with the proper skill set
Football is filled with routine daily drills. Over and over and over again each player repeats these drills. Until they create something called "muscle memory"--so they can execute each skill flawlessly. Choose to improve your skill-sets in business. How you dress, how you greet your customer, how you execute your customer service--repeat until you can execute flawlessly.

6. It takes a lot of training and preparation
On the practice field training and preparation pays off. As the weeks go by, each player's physical body becomes stronger until they are in the best shape of their life. They become mentally tougher;they thrive on the energy of knowing they are walking onto the field each week "ready" to play. It is time for each of you to decide how you will train and prepare your mind and body so you can be ready to work.

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