Team USA Olympic athletes learn to channel competition for entrepreneurship

October 18, 2016


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Olympic athletes are some of the most competitive human beings on the planet, but a professional life after sports can be a tough transition from the daily rigors of physical training.

Transitioning Olympic and Paralympic athletes from the gym, pool, or pitch towards becoming innovative entrepreneurs requires channeling years of physical training with the development of acute, mental training.

To help both current and retired Team USA athletes transition to a life of entrepreneurship, the Athlete Career Education (ACE) Program provides “high quality, comprehensive career and education services aimed at enhancing performance and personal development.”

This year’s US Olympic Committee initiative brought some 600 Olympic and Paralympic athletes to participate in an Entrepreneurship Workshop run by Brant Cooper, the NYT Bestselling Author of The Lean Entrepreneur and Founder of Moves the Needle (MTN).

Brant’s session was entitled “Being your own boss and exercising Entrepreneurship” and focused on dispelling the myth of the visionary that you can just come up with an idea, build and execute upon it, then become a successful entrepreneur.

One of the key takeaways about the myth of the visionary is that people are born with either deflated or inflated idea about their potential for becoming successful entrepreneurs. Deflated people believe they have nothing to add while inflated people have bigger egos with lesser ideas that don’t pay much attention to constructive criticism.

Both visionary myths are equally debilitating, according to Brant, and the workshop was aimed at dispelling these myths while empowering athletes to reach their full potential outside of athletic competition.

As a result, Team USA athletes learned about who are the customers they want to serve, and how they could go about identifying problems worth solving using customer, problem and solution zoom tools.

Through the ACE program, “Athletes gain valuable, hands-on work experience, as well as essential tools and training to make informed decisions about their career transition.”


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