In my career as a sports TV film producer, as well as into sports (cycling, boxing, tennis), I had the great opportunity to share the intimacy of French world-class champions. Among them:
-Bixente Lizarazu (Footballer: World Cup Champion ‘98, Euro Cup champion 2000, Champions League 2001, six-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich)
-Mathieu Crepel (Snowboarder: Winner of the World Cup FIS 2005, World Champion TTR 2006, Double World Champion 2007)
-Jeremy Flores (Surfer: ASP Rookie of the Year 2007, ASP WQS Champion 2006, ASP European Junior Champion 2005)
You may think that the life of a sports star is all about partying, cars, girls and having fun. Well it is the exact opposite, as a matter of fact, none of us could support their life style. You wake up early, train for six hours, than a forced rest, strict nutrition (carbs and white meat only), go to bed early, and all this 24/7. I remember Bixente telling me that a week without training makes him lose 5% of his physical capacity. So you don’t even enjoy the annual 2 weeks holidays because you know that you are going to train even harder when you come back in order to win back the 10% lost.
These three great champions taught me lessons that I try to apply every day as an entrepreneur.
1. Visualise your goals, and focus until you reach them: Champions never let go; it is amazing to work with them. As a producer, I know that with a champion, the job will be done, no matter what it takes. (Problems arrive when your work with actors, singers and designers!)
2. Train hard and be prepared: Work on your weaknesses, and secure your strength. “Hard training, easy results” as Jeremy Flores, youngest surfer to have reached the WCT says.
3. Gain in confidence is a big part of success. Victory is all in the head. In France there is a taboo in the sports world around mental coaches and psychiatrists that are surrounding athletes, but they are as important as physical trainers.
Going to bed early and healthy nutrition with my wife’s Malaysian dishes are lost causes for me, but I learnt that you can find valuable business lessons from people that you’d least expect and understand why champions are a rare breed!
(Putting words into action: me training for Le Tour de Langkawi! )