The Athlete Within Ourselves

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David K. Williams is the CEO of Fishbowl Inventory, a global inventory management software company that improves the supply chains and inventory processes of companies around the globe.  Williams is a contributor to Forbes Magazine and is very outspoken about why he believes that athletes make the best possible employees for a successful business. In the article, Williams talks in length about 6 traits that prospective athletes must have in order to be a good fit for his company.
The first trait that is talked about is that athletes must, “have the drive to practice a task rigorously, relentlessly, and even in the midst of failure until they succeed”. This first trait is a strong characteristic of an athlete because in order to achieve success in any craft, hundreds of hours of work must be given to something before one can be deemed an expert at a craft.  The intricacies of specific jobs and skills in athletics, as in life cannot be learned in a short period of time but often during a time of failure in which someone will not quit but work until they achieve their goal.
The second trait that Williams says athletes must have is stated simply; “athletes achieve their goals”.  During any sporting event there is a winner and a loser.  At the end of the day it does not matter how far down or ahead of an opponent you were, it only matters if you and your team won.  The same competitive nature is valued in life.  Life is not easy, no goal is going to be handed to an individual without moments of pain and hard work that lead to the achievement of that goal. When an athlete has a goal in mind they will do anything in their power to reach it.
During the course of an athlete’s life, the long hours of hard work and desire to achieve their goals built the ability for that athlete to develop new skills along the way.  The third trait that Williams says athletes have is the ability for athletes to soak in the experiences that they have been through, learn and begin to implement the skills and lessons they have learned into their own craft.  The journey to achieving a goal is riddled with bumps and experiences that present road blocks to that goal.  New oppositions and challenges allow for a person and athlete to learn about themselves and figure out a new way to get back to achieving that goal.  Acquiring new skills and implementing them in an individual’s life is essential to being a good fit in any working environment.
To Williams, athletes are the perfect employee for the fourth reason he states in his article, that athletes are exceptional entrepreneurs.  It is a tendency that he has taken notice to over the course of his career after meeting and interacting with people in a wide array of industries, but athletes tend to be entrepreneurs because after all the challenges and opposition they have faced they tend to keep in mind the big picture image or goal that they have in mind.  Being an entrepreneur is not always glamorous and successful, often failure is achieved more than success due to the fact that an entrepreneur is starting something new, based around a vision or idea that they have and have to make that attractive to a numerous array of people in a given market.  Entrepreneurs just like athletes face constant failure and opposition, but the incapability to quit and be steered off course of their goal is what makes them successful in anything they do.
When homeostasis is achieved in any biological environment, problems do not arise.  In the real world and in an individual’s life problems tend to arise and then build on each other when one’s life is unbalanced.  The fifth reason that David Williams believes athletes are the best employees is that they constantly are striving for balance in their life.  Many analysts of corporate cultures and environments point out that the key to success is that from a microscopic level individuals have a good work-life balance.  This is also true pertaining to sports.  The mind of an athlete when clear allows for an individual compete physically and mentally at the highest level possible.  When translated to the work place, the same tactics that athletes use to keep that constant balance mentally and physically is what separates good from bad days.
The sixth and final trait that Williams views athletes as the best possible employees is that they work well in partners and in teams.  Most sports that athletes compete in are team sports so ability to work cohesively in groups is essential to achieving success in that sport.  Not all athletes are team sports however, like golf or tennis, the competitive nature and understanding of what it takes to achieve success and the independent work it takes to win allows for those individuals when moved to a group environment to transition to a team smoothly because they are so focused on winning that they will perform their role to the best of their ability in order for the group to succeed.  An individual’s journey through life is not solitary, we encounter people and have interaction with others on a daily basis.  The ability to work with others and achieve a common goal is essential to making the work environment better, but also the culture of any company positive.
This article is explicitly stating that athletes are superior to the average person because of the skills and traits they have due to the experiences and trials they faced through competition. Implicitly however, this piece is not just saying how athletes are superior, it is saying how every person has the ability to be an athlete.  You do not have to be a Division One collegiate athlete in order to be considered an athlete, being an athlete is more central to the type of person one is and the morals and way of life a person lives.  People who are driven, understand what it means to work well in a team, and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals are not just people that are desired to be apart of a team, but are desired in any facet of life.
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