The Extreme Sport of Entrepreneurship

Launching and running your own business is like an extreme sport. You face your fears. You need determination, commitment and dedication. You have to show up even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’re in pain or tired. Additionally, research shows that a sports background directly correlates with leadership and career potential for women. These lessons in entrepreneurship are part of the experience of living it, but they became all the more clear to me thanks to one extreme sport in particular: the trapeze.

I have been studying and performing on the trapeze (click to watch a video of me on the trapeze) for 17 years and have been fortunate enough to learn from some of the most consummate professionals in the sport—a five-generation circus family in L.A. (My home base is in San Diego, and I’ve been driving from there to L.A. and back all these years—it’s quite a commitment!) I was a gymnast growing up, and my body knows and loves clicking into this way of being. It’s the place I go to reset. When I’m there, I’m completely focused on the trapeze and that experience. It gives me a way of disconnecting from everything else and I think we all need that—to feel so passionate about something that you’re 100% focused, whether that’s golf or running or painting, or whatever it is for you.

For me, the trapeze not only grounds and focuses me, it also has some pointed lessons that correlate directly to my life as an entrepreneur. The following is some of the wisdom this passion has imparted to me.

8 Tips for Entrepreneurs… from the Trapeze

  1. Climbing the Ladder: Just like in life or in business, you have to make that decision that you’re going for it. When you’re climbing the ladder, you always look up; you never look back. Even when it’s scary, you just keep taking another step and another step until you reach the top.
  2. Visualize and Believe In Your Goal: On the trapeze, once you reach the pedestal, you visualize how you want your trick to unfold. You have to get clear in your mind, picture your goal unfolding perfectly and go for it as if it will result in success. You have to believe it!Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 8.37.17 AM
  3. Lean Out: This is where a lot of people get scared. It feels like you’re going to fall, but you have to put yourself out there and allow yourself to be vulnerable if you want to succeed.
  4. Don’t Hesitate: When it comes time to swing towards the catcher, you have to move at exactly the right moment so as not to miss the opportunity. It requires you to listen, focus and move with purpose. Jump on the opportunity while it’s hot, otherwise it’s gone!
  5. Push Yourself: Push yourself further than you feel you’re capable of to propel yourself forward. Tap fully into your spirit using every ounce of your will so you can show up in a big way, yet with grace and humility.
  6. Let Go: At just the right moment, you let go of the bar. You are flying free, yet you remain highly attuned to where your body is and where you are going. You have to let go to complete your goal.
  7. Reach, Trust and Allow: If you reach at just the right moment, the catcher will catch you. The catcher has got your back, and that feels really nice. Allow your teammate to be there for you. Teamwork is crucial in trapeze. You have to work together to achieve the result you want.
  8. Revel In Your Accomplishment: As you land back up on the pedestal, there is an incredible feeling of accomplishment. We all want that. When we have momentum in our lives, when we’re moving forward, when we have progress, this is what creates happiness.

Reflect on which sports, activities, hobbies and passions in your life carry innate wisdom to teach you about the best way to move forward in your business. The things we love have much to show us about how to walk with purpose and success through our personal lives and professions alike. Aligning with your passion is always a great first step, and how you will see those passions through is worth your ongoing exploration.

What is your favorite extreme sport or way to face your fears?