Countdown to the Olympics: How to be an Olympic-level entrepreneur #25

The Olympic Flag flying in Victoria, British C...
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In 25 days, the 2010 Winter Olympic athletes will compete to be the best in the world. Entrepreneurs compete for a similar pinnacle of success every single day. This series of blogs will countdown to the Olympics with 31 ideas about what it takes to achieve gold in your business.

To be an Olympic-level entrepreneur, you need to make sacrifices.

We hail Olympic athletes as pinnacles in their sports and for a brief moment they enjoy the glory of the competition (and perhaps the win). But each and every one of them had to make sacrifices to get there. In the months (and perhaps years) leading up to the Olympics, they were at the gym, working out early in the morning. Earlier than other athletes. They gave up time with family and friends for the sake of their sport. Long after the other athletes left for the day, these aspiring Olympic athletes pressed on. Perhaps they have dreams for career or a family that they need to put on hold. For them, the reward is great and worth the sacrifice. But it can take a lot of sacrifice to get that reward.

Entrepreneurs will face sacrifices on their way to becoming Olympic-level. Of course, many entrepreneurs face sacrifice – perhaps giving up 9-5 at a cushy job. They give it up to work longer hours, sacrificing time with friends and family, and the assuring coverage of employee benefits. Many entrepreneurs face sacrifice, but I assert that Olympic-level entrepreneurs sacrifice far more. That’s what separates them from the skilled entrepreneurs who will never make it to the Olympic-level. They’re at work earlier than other entrepreneurs; they stay later. They make even more sacrifices in their personal life. They sacrifice even more to build a notable business that has longevity. They find ways to work extra hard when are working, and to keep their business going when they have to step away. The destroy procrastination. They love what they do and that outweighs the cost of sacrifice.

Certainly Olympic-level athletes and entrepreneurs don’t give up everything: They don’t ignore their family and friends completely; they can find enjoyment in downtime; it’s not necessarily an absolutely Spartan life that they are adopting, but in the time leading up to the Olympics – or to Olympic-level business success – they will be faced with the choice to sacrifice or not to sacrifice. And those who willingly make sacrifices will achieve Olympic success. But the reward that follows is worth it.

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