10 Things I Learned While Training for the Olympics That Absolutely Apply to Business

10 Things I Learned While Training for the Olympics That Absolutely Apply to Business
Image credit: Shannon Bahrke Happe
Shannon Bahrke Happe
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
4 min read

If anyone understands what’s in store for Team USA during the 2014 Winter Games, it’s Shannon Bahrke Happe, a three-time Olympian and owner of Silver Bean Coffee Company. Happe won multiple medals during her tenure as an Olympic freestyle moguls skier, earning a silver in 2002 and a bronze in 2010.

While recovering from a knee injury in 2007, Bahrke Happe spent her time away from the slopes building Silver Bean with her then-fiancé (now husband) Matt. More than six years later, there are three Silver Bean locations throughout Salt Lake City and Park City and the Happes sell their roasted-in-Utah beans around the country to restaurants, offices, resorts like the St. Regis Deer Valley, and even animal shelters like the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.  

Related: How to Transform Your Passion into a Successful Business

Bahrke Happe says that while running a company can often feel like you have to fit "48 hours of stuff into 24," being her own boss does have its benefits, like being able to run meetings and be with her 6-month-old daughter Zoe at the same time.

The best piece of advice Happe has for someone who wants to start a new career?  Do your research. When Silver Bean was just starting out, Happe says talking to her fellow business owners was invaluable. "The big question I had for them is if they would do it again. For me that's a huge thing. When I got injured, I would absolutely go through that again, because it's made me who I am."

Related: The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

And come Saturday, Happe is going to be yelling at the TV, cheering on her friends and old teammates. "I know how hard they have been working and what they’ve overcome. These guys have been training four, 12, 16 years for this one moment, and I think it’s going to be a fantastic games." 

Happe says that Silver Bean is a way for her and her family to pursue their passions, like travel, sustainability and creating a community for her fellow athletes. “You can wrap whatever you love in life into your business; you don’t have to buy into someone else’s corporate culture.  You can make your own.”

Here are 10 things she learned in her Olympic training that apply in business:

  1. Always have goals.  Set a long term lofty goal then work backwards to form MEASURABLE yearly, monthly and daily goals.  This helps you to stay on track and focused.
  2. With that being said, don't get so caught up with achieving the end goal that you disregard the journey.  Trust me, when the goal has been achieved or not, it's the journey you will tell the most stories about!  
  3. No matter whom you are speaking with, say please and thank you, and do so with a smile.
  4. Surround yourself and choose to work with people that are the BEST at what they do and that are smarter than you.
  5. If you don't believe in yourself 100 percent, no one else is likely to believe in you either.
  6. It's not the fun training and work that makes winners. It's doing the stuff that no one is willing to do (or haven't thought of) under adverse conditions that makes winners.
  7. Realizing that rest & relaxation are just as important as working yourself into the ground. They give you rejuvenation and a fresh new perspective.  
  8. Getting enough sleep, keeping hydrated and eating properly make a lot more of a difference in your life than you think.
  9. Be a humble winner, but more importantly, be a gracious loser.
  10. You must absolutely set aside your fear of failure. To truly achieve greatness you must be 100 percent committed to either succeeding beyond your wildest dreams or going down in a great big ball of flames!

Related: Building Your Brand's Warmth and Competence

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