Winners' Circle

Lessons from sports superstars help you score business success.
2 min read

This story appears in the October 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

For years, Brandon Steiner, founder of sports marketing and sports collectibles company Steiner Sports, has been collecting success secrets from legendary figures in the world of sports. Here are some rules he lives by:

  • Find your inner drive to succeed. Successful people have a different attitude. Bob Feller, Hall of Fame hurler for the Cleveland Indians, says: "Kids playing baseball or any sport-or doing anything in life-must have self-discipline. You need to say no to a lot of frivolous things that waste your time. When you come [to] this earth, you're given so much time. You can throw it away or make good use of it. What you do with it is your legacy."
  • Stay nervous. Sandy Koufax once said, "Sometimes the most terrified people do the best work." The dominating pitcher of the early 1960s, Koufax was the youngest inductee into the Hall of Fame.

But most people don't realize Koufax had a fear of crowds. Imagine pitching before 54,000 Los Angeles Dodgers fans and suffering from a fear of crowds! A little edge of fear can keep you focused, and the nervous energy gives a boost to everything you do.

  • Do it anyway. Frank Robinson is a man of "first and only" accomplishments. First and only MLB player to be named MVP in both leagues, first and only player to hit 200 home runs in both leagues, first African American manager in the major leagues. When I asked him what he did about that voice within that says, 'You can't do it; it's never been done,' he replied, "I handle it by not thinking about it. You keep the focus on the situation at hand and let everything take care of itself."
  • Stay on top of your game. In 1999, I asked New York Yankees star Derek Jeter where he was planning on vacationing. I assumed he was going to relax--he'd just won his third World Series in four years. "Where are you going to go?" I asked.

"Go?" Derek answered with an excited gleam in his eye. "I'm working out every day--spring training is just around the corner!" Derek was letting me know that vacations aren't a priority when you're striving to stay on top of your game. And guess who has had more base hits than any player in baseball since 1996? Derek Jeter.

Excerpted from The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons From the World of Sports.

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