A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon this article describing the connection between ballet and business. Instantly, I was eager to read its contents based on my infatuation with dance and my admiration for all those who committed themselves to the art and “made it.”
As I continued to read the article, I found myself making connections and comparisons between sports to business I had never made before. For instance, I realized an athlete’s career is fleeting, with most and their careers end within a decade. On the contrary, an entrepreneur’s career can begin as a start-up and span twenty or thirty, hell even forty years – and then their business’ legacy could even be timeless.
So why even attempt to be an athlete if the time is short? Well for one thing, it is a challenge. For a dancer to make a company (equal to the NFL for a football player) is rare. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports only about 30% of dancers work in performing arts companies. In fact, the NCAA reported that less than 2% of NCAA athletes will go pro in basketball, football, hockey or soccer.
So if you love your sport, but you don’t make it as a pro, what’s the best thing you can do?
Take what you know, and apply it somewhere else – like a business!
There are 3 characteristics ingrained in an athlete allowing a slight advantage over other aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Discipline – An athlete knows what two-a-day practices and lengthy rehearsals look like. They know that if they fall out of that triple pirouette, they must immediately pick themselves up and do it again until they get it right. The same is true for an entrepreneur. They need to find the strength to get motivated for the hard work ahead and stay motivated to reach their goals (pun intended).
- Partnership and Teamwork – It’s simple: you don’t have to do it alone. Whether you must rely on your teammates to come together during a pitch for the perfect client, or your dance partner’s technique for the perfect lift, each party must bring their strengths to the table in order to succeed.
- Improvisation – No matter how often you rehearse, practice or study, there will always be surprises and you must be ready to take them head on and possibly “break out in an interpretative dance” (The Guardian).
Just look at a few of these successful examples:
- Rick Mirer, NFL quarterback, founded his own wine company, Mirror Wine Company.
- Greg Norman, Australian golf professional, is chairman and CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises, a multinational corporation offering a variety of services from eyewear to consulting for golf course management.
- Venus Williams, title-tennis winner, is now CEO of her own interior design company, V Starr Interiors
So our advice to any athlete is to do what you know best, and have a game plan. Leverage these 3 characteristics and apply them to your work ethic before, during, and after your potential professional career. Stay in school, stay engaged or stay grounded in all of your interests, which could maybe later turn into a profession.
And of course, if all else fails, JUST DANCE. (Thank you, Lady Gaga)
Were you an all-star in your prime? Share with us in the comments (and how it contributed to where you are now!)
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech.