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14 May 2018

Sporting Success

This month at thinkGroup we are all about sport. We’ll be hosting our event ‘Do You Want Ice With That?’ where two-time Olympian Ben Kilner will talk to our guests about presenting for the BBC during the Winter Olympics, his own Olympic snowboarding success and how this has led to a booming career in fitness with his thriving gym, ‘The Unit’.

Over the years, my horse riding (in particular eventing) has been a big part of my life. From the age of four, and growing up with a horse-mad mother, I went through the grades of pony club and junior teams to representing Scotland at age 16 in the three-day eventing team.

I find it interesting that many ‘motivational speakers’ at events use their sporting accomplishments in relation to business and it made me wonder, what did I learn through my sport that has subsequently helped me in business?

  1. Commitment and training: horses are a huge commitment, and one that I discovered through the years from a child. No matter how good you are at something, there is always more to learn; that’s the same for sport and your career. I have been lucky enough to train with Olympians at the top of the sport and you can always learn something new. As in business, everyone in our team brings new skills and life lessons which we all learn from. I’m constantly updating knowledge through them.
  2. Appreciating and acknowledging your support network: for high-level eventers, the support they require is huge. From grooms and vets to physios and trainers, plus of course your trusted four-legged sporting companion. It is so important to acknowledge how much help you get to allow you to compete and succeed.  Likewise with business; your team will support each other and help grow the company.  Even when people move on, you acknowledge the input they have had (and no doubt work with them again), and always look out for new talented team members to join. 
  3. Team player: maybe not so relevant in eventing, but I’m guessing the importance of being a team player is vital in other sports. Likewise, in a business, being able to delegate and allow others to use their skills (even if it’s in an area you aren’t familiar with) is essential.
  4. Keeping a calm head: one minute you are winning, the next you are sitting in a water jump with your horse galloping away! My sport kept my ego intact and definitely made me deal with disappointment and challenges from a young age. Being under pressure at big competitions is tough, and likewise with business; when dealing with pressure, it’s helpful to have these skills. In the fast-paced world of media, and the ever-present possibility of dealing with crisis communications, that skill has become hugely important.  
  5. Just be nice! Horses don’t care if you’ve had a bad day and they expect the same respect whenever they are asked to train and compete. Being respectful, positive and thankful is what your horse expects and so do people that you work and deal with daily. Getting the results for our clients, whilst working ethically with all stakeholders, is what we strive for. 

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