Playing My Favorite Sport toWin My favorite sport is entrepreneurialism, what’s yours?


to never give up and accept that you will likely have to start over many times. There will be setbacks that you will need to power through. In entrepreneurship, there comes moments when you really need to “suck it up” and be strong. There will be many times that no one will believe in you but you. Growing up in Kentucky, I was always fascinated by Colonel Sanders. I loved his chicken but I loved his sayings even more. I partic- ularly like, “One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something better.” Legend has it that Colonel Sanders heard 1,009 “no’s” be- fore he heard his first “yes.” The Colonel was turned down 1,009 times before his chicken was accepted once, and he was 65 years old when he started his jour- ney! That is probably pretty similar to a number of athletic success stories you’ve heard over the years as well. The road to entrepreneurship or a championship is not an easy one; you will have to fight though the no’s, the bad news, and the deals that fall apart all while reinventing yourself and realigning your actions and goals to meet the next challenge. THEY IMPROVE THEMSELVES EVERY SINGLE DAY This is the easiest attribute to adopt, and it’s so simple: just pick something to learn, do or improve on each day and you end up with 365 days of focus. What do you want 365 more of? Whether the answer is customer calls, fitness work- outs, contracts, vocabulary improve- ment, reading books, social media posts, make focus on that answer your daily workout. Those workouts will all add up to your reaching your next big goal. Note: Your focus will lead you toward your goal whether you intend for it to do so or not, so make sure that your goal and your focus are both in sync.

to do so and, in the end, it can cost the team the “championship” at the end of the season. As an entrepreneur playing for yourself and your business, you need to think like a top athlete dedicated to the success of your team. Here are a few things that the best athletes and entre- preneurs have in common: THEY LOVEWHAT THEY DO I’ve worked for myself for almost 20 years and I’ve loved every minute of it, even when the water got rough. For years, I’ve loved being my own boss, building companies and growing ideas. When you love what you do, it truly doesn’t feel like work. You’re getting paid to do what you love and most days you will find that passion provides you with an endless amount of energy to dedicate toward your business’ success. That love also makes your business the place where you feel the most comfortable and “in the zone.” There is no passion to rival that of a professional athlete for his or her sport except that of an entrepreneur for his or her business, and I would suggest that you model your entrepreneurial passion after that of the most dedicated profes- sional sportsmen and women. Think of the athletes you have watched play the game and give it their best shot even when they are terribly tired or experi- encing a personal tragedy. That is the dedication that an entrepreneur needs to show even during the toughest times. THEY HAVE DRIVE AND PASSION

The worst thing you can do in sports and in entrepreneurship is to only work hard part of the time. Do your best every time, all of the time. It’s a delicate balance between being obsessive about perfection to the point of impeding your own progress and simply work- ing your hardest on everything, so ask a trusted source to help you find that balance. I am often accused of trying to make things “too perfect” or always in- sisting on taking something to the next level to make it special. As long as you are not impeding your own progress, though, I say, “Why not? If you’re going to do something, make it count or don’t do it at all.” If true athleticism is fully appre- ciated, then entrepreneurialism will become an Olympic sport by the time the 2028 Olympics roll around. In the meantime, keep pressing the envelope and in the immortal words of Mario Andretti, “If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” You see? Just one more of thousands of quotes that fits perfectly sports and entrepreneurialism perfectly. I, for one, am playing this game to win a championship, and I hope you are too. • estate investor with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs and the community. In the past 11 years, he has founded three successful startups in the technology and real estate investment industries. From its beginnings in 2010 as a two- person operation in the garage of one of his rental properties, CBG has grown into an organization that reaches more than 100,000 real estate investors, 350 affiliate organizations, and is also a featured benefit of the Think Realty membership. CBG was a Top 20 finalist in the international LaunchKC technology grants competition and a 2016 finalist for the Truly the Best Award for medium-sized businesses in Jackson County. For more information, visit Ben Rao is the newest addition to the Think Realty coaching team specializing in fix and flip strategy. He is president of Community Buying Group and a seasoned entrepreneur and real

by Ben Rao

any ague with me when I say that entrepreneurialism is a sport. However, when you really break it down, you’ll see that sports and running your own business are very much alike. Let’s start with a simple question: Which of these characteristics are attributes of an athlete and which are attributes of an entrepreneur? M

• Determined • Brave • Driven • Self-starting • Responsible (for their own success) • In charge of their own destiny You probably said “both” for every one of those admirable character traits,

and you were right. You probably also are starting to see more clearly now that that entrepreneurialism is very relatable to sports in that the successful “players” have a lot of positive attributes in com- mon. However, in entrepreneurialism and the sports arena, sometimes bad players (and bad ideas) end up getting paid a lot when they may not deserve

THEY DEMONSTRATE TENACITY As an entrepreneur, you must resolve

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