Guest Blogger: Pichon Duplan (Expert on the Millenial Generation)

How has being an athlete has informed your journey as an entrepreneur, and in particular what lessons can African entrepreneurs learn from the world of sports?

“Be humble or be humbled” – Two ultimatums every athlete faces at least once in their lifetime. Playing sports on any given day is filled with ups and down, success and failure, but there is one guarantee that will always occur - with effort, determination and knowing the end goal, a lesson will be learned to contribute to the development of one’s self towards success.

Success is defined differently for each person but there are certain factors that guide each individual on the road to their own success - drive to succeed, perseverance, vision and commitment. Every athlete learns the results of each factor and the process it entails towards success along his/her journey playing the sport he/she loves. These are the gifts of sports that fulfil one’s life and encourage specific actions focused on achieving a certain level of greatness you have defined for yourself.

I first learned about the processes as a high school student, picking up a helmet and shoulder pads and having decided that I was going to be the best American football player on the field. In that moment, this was my definition of success on the football field. This was my first time ever playing the sport after seeing it on TV on numerous occasions. I had set a very high goal for myself; the kind of goal that many viewed as difficult to accomplish, but I was determined to reach it. There were times I didn’t have my best days, times I feared I was good enough and times I was not successful. That did not deter me away from my goal but rather fueled the fire to learn from my mistakes and become better – I was building character. This is the type of mindset that I have reinforced as part of my life and part of who I am as an entrepreneur - creating a vision and developing the drive to succeed no matter the circumstance.

Entrepreneurship is a form of leadership governed by innovation and risk taking and the ability to find opportunities within a market to provide value for your customer. Entrepreneurship is not just starting your own business but a way of life to create some sort of value in the community. Without even introducing your product or service as an entrepreneur, your company is judged based on the brand and what the company stands for or is trying to accomplish. This brand and purpose translates all throughout your company as you begin to build a culture around the way you work within your company and your interactions with your customers.

I admire all the young people who have started or attempted to start their own ventures. This shows your dedication to self-leadership and aspiration to make a difference in the world. To continue to fuel your ambition and desire, I challenge each and every one of you to figure out why you wake up to do what you do and create a vision around that purpose. There will be a few times along your journey where you’re at a crossroad, enduring some form of hardship or fear. Go for the Win - as long as you remember your vision and purpose and the mindset of turning every obstacle into an opportunity, you will begin to not only grow as a person, but as a brand, which will translate to the success of your business.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

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