28 November 2016

Where do you find inspiration?

mark cueto

Image from @wattlbot on Twitter #InspireMCR

Sometimes it can be hard to find, especially on a cold Monday morning! Which is why this morning, I want to share something with you.

Last week we held the latest Inspire MCR event. This series of events brings together leading entrepreneurs to share their stories, the secrets behind their success and the things that really make them tick.

This event, however, was a little different. I have often talked about the commonalities between business and sport, so we brought rugby legend and all-time Premiership try scorer Mark Cueto and World Champion squash player Laura Massaro to the stage.

I was proud to introduce them to the audience, as we discussed goal setting and the power of intention. It is remarkable just how much you can achieve when you believe that you can. From my point of view, it is absolutely vital to instil belief as part of a business’ culture; if your team believe that they can succeed and thrive, they will!

Without a doubt, the strongest common thread of the event was this idea of belief. It makes perfect sense; do you think Usain Bolt believes he’s the fastest man on earth? Of course he does, and I bet he has for many years. Muhammad Ali was one of the biggest proponents of self-belief; there are too many examples of this to list here, but he is often quoted saying: “I said I was the greatest long before I knew I was,” such was his belief and ambition to make others believe just that. He is also associated with the Jesse Jackson quote which he used in his 2004 book: “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.” So there must be something in this belief thing, right?

At the event, Laura Massaro – an extraordinary squash player who had been at the point of retiring a few years ago, when commentators where saying her best days were behind her, but then went on to smash rival Nicol David to become World Number One – said: “The first time I really believed it could happen, it did.”

I’ve worked a lot with Laura to instil this self-belief, from writing goals on a whiteboard to regular phone calls to let her know just how incredible a player she really is. Laura went on to say: “You need to be make sure you’re constantly improving and always believe that you can be a professional athlete.”

I couldn’t agree more and it’s the same in business – you need to always improve your service and your products, evolve with the industry and believe that you’re up there with the best, with the giants.

With this belief, a natural tenacity follows, which Mark Cueto describes following the infamous disallowed 2007 World Cup try. He says: “There’s no time to dwell on setbacks; just keep at it, just get on with it. Your time will come.” There’s no time for regrets, move forward, keep at it.

This is one of the biggest lessons that we can learn from sport to impact the rest of our lives – to keep on going. To keep moving. This resilience is essential. Did Laura stop trying when she lost? No, she went on to become world number one! Did Mark Cueto give up when he lost out on that try? No, he went on to become the all-time try scorer in the league – a title he still holds today.

Ultimately, I believe that the key is to dream big, write down your goals and – ultimately – believe you can achieve them.

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