The highest paid woman in sports, professional tennis legend Serena Williams, also happens to be a phenomenal wife, mother, philanthropist and businesswoman. She successfully owns all of these titles in the face of racism and sexism (in the form of seemingly insurmountable wage gaps and body shaming). But Serena isn’t the only female athlete who astonishingly juggles multiple titles while fighting against the glass ceilings of sexism, racism, religious discrimination and so much more. Women who play and played sports are some of the most resilient, determined, successful women walking the planet. The skills they developed as athletes consistently translate into success outside of sports. Don’t believe me? An astonishing 94% of senior women business executives played sports and a whopping 50% of women in C-Suite positions played sports in college. Why is that? Female athletes are groomed to be successful in spite of any obstacles. So if you want success in your business, hiring female athletes is the way to go. Here’s why:
1. They Aren’t Afraid of Adversity And Know How To Overcome It
Growing up, girls are often given dolls and bows. If they want to play sports, they frequently start by playing with the boys. And if they want to become competitive, they learn how to work twice as hard and outsmart the boys at their own games. Thus, female athletes quickly learn that there are obstacles they’re going to have to overcome to reach their goals. As they get older, they encounter more barriers, from not fitting in with other girls to coming back from serious injuries. Because of their trials as athletes, they have gained a strength and perseverance that cannot be duplicated. They’ve learned to take adversity head on, and when they don’t succeed, they keep fighting. This toughness and strength of character makes female athletes unique, and their willingness to face obstacles without wavering makes them irreplaceable in boardrooms.
2. They Have Refined Leadership Capabilities
Girls are taught to be compliant, polite, and respectful, especially when addressing authority. If they try to take charge, they’re considered “bossy,” whereas boys with the same tendencies are considered “strong.” While becoming a leader is difficult for anyone, female athletes have learned how to overcome this challenge. Being a fierce leader may not have been encouraged, so they had to learn how to stand up and take charge. Young girls know that if they want to excel in their sport, they have to embrace responsibilities and lead their teammates, no matter how difficult it may seem. This affinity to lead should be sought after in all members of an executive team, and is just one quality that female athletes have refined over the years.
3. They’re Versatile
Female athletes have learned to acquire different skills in order to become non-expendable. Most professionals try to master their craft by focusing on what they’re good at. On the other hand, female athletes have learned that they can’t be good at just a few things. They’ve learned that a successful athlete has to be well-rounded and can’t be considered a “one trick pony.” Female athletes are required to develop versatile skillsets in order to stand out from their competition and be recognized as contenders in their sports in general. Because of this, they don’t take “no” for an answer, choosing to adapt and thus setting themselves apart from their peers in their professional careers.
4. They’re Coachable:
Coachability is something that is overlooked at times, but is one of many qualities that female athletes have obtained and can use to their advantage. Female athletes are put in environments where they have to listen to constructive criticism and change parts of their game in order to get playing time or achieve certain goals. Because of this, they’ve learned to be open to changing facets of their attitude, game, or even personal life if they want to succeed on and off the field. While other employees may struggle to handle negative feedback from authority, a female athlete will take each comment with a grain of salt and will work even harder to ensure that they are doing what is asked of them.
5. They Aren’t Afraid To Put In The Work
While some are blessed with athletic genes or talent, any athlete knows that talent only gets someone so far in their sport. In order to get to the next level, athletes learn that they have to put in a great deal of time and effort. For women this is especially true, as becoming great in their sport may not be the easiest task and may not receive encouragement from their family, peers, or even coaches. Female athletes have learned that the ability to put in the work and “row your boat” is key in the sports arena, and this can also be an invaluable quality for a board member as well.
They Hate Mediocrity and Comfort Zones
Athletes don’t settle for reaching a milestone and just stopping there. They always want to push themselves to get better, faster, stronger, and reach goals that seem harder to obtain. A female athlete is no different. They are never stagnant. Female athletes have learned that comfort is their enemy, because once they become complacent, someone who is pushing the limits will overshadow them. Because of this, a female athlete in the workplace will not settle for being average or only reaching one goal. They will continue to push themselves, and in turn will inspire those around them to reach the next level and strive for more than comfort.
These are just a few of the qualities that are advantageous for female athletes and the businesses they work for. While the world may still be working to recognize the true value of women in the workplace quite, there is no question that having female athletes in the boardroom and in executive positions leads to success. If you’re interested in adding some versatile leaders to your team, check out the 2018 Women in Sports Mixer. There will be plenty of women there who fit the bill. Click here for event and ticket information.