I love football (and Arsenal specifically, if you must know). The business side of it fascinates me (check out my post regarding the MCFC site redesign) and I’ve always been fond of using football or aspects of it as an analogy for all things in business. This post is no different.
In football, psychology plays a huge role in success. Managers verbally spar before big matches, the vulture-like media & press stoke the fires, and teams win or lose based on confidence. Confidence is key in football, and it’s often the invisible ingredient - above skill, ability or salaries - that stocks a football club’s trophy cabinet.
Strikers in particular - the often overpaid and over-dramatic frontmen - are perhaps the biggest victims of confidence (or lack thereof). Teams rely on their strikers to bang in goals and win games. But when a striker is lacking in confidence, the team almost always suffers. The striker can’t seem to score if his life depended on it, and it all becomes a vicious cycle. They go weeks or months with nothing, until one match they finally get a lucky bounce, and the gates open. Suddenly the striker can’t seem to stop scoring, the club wins more matches, and success is again within reach. This cycle always happens, and it underlines that real and tangible link between form (how good you are) and confidence (how good you feel).
The more confident you are, the more confident you are.
It’s a positive feedback loop.
Confidence = success
Things are infinitely more attainable, possible and manageable when you're feeling confident, versus when you're low on confidence and lacking any drive. It’s a psychological trend we see each weekend on the football pitch that echoes through our country’s businesses, large or small. Confident businesses - or more specifically the confidence shown by those who run the businesses - can mean the difference between success or failure. In fact, it's likely that your industry, like mine, has a core group of experts and professionals who ooze confidence. And they seem to be everywhere - at conferences, on Twitter, in articles you read, and more. It’s their confidence that’s key (and the associated egos, but that’s not the point here) so it should be no surprise that these people are at the top of their game.
So how does this all tie-in to football? If you’re running a business, you’re a striker. Your outgoing invoices are equal to goals, and the less you send, the less confidence you have. When business is good, confidence is high. The key in running a successful business is as much about making the money as it is about keeping confident. In times of little or no business or leads, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the pressure, but the more you keep your chin up, the more you’re likely to get that lucky break and start banging in the goals.