What triathletes can learn from Steve Jobs

Steve jobs life lessons triathletes

I like to read books in my spare time, anything that is relevant to sports or business and most important where I can learn something from. A teacher once recommended Steve Jobs autobiography and he said it was a must read for any marketeer. I took the courage and read this 600 page book in just over two months. I was astonished by his visions on building great products and companies, so I summarized some life lessons I found valuable. I believe these are also applicable for triathletes, so here we go.

Zero tolerance for not performing

Steve Jobs passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products, everything else was secondary. If something sucked, he told it to people right in their face. A players like to work with A players, and if necessary, he cut people out to improve the company´s performance. There was no tolerance for not giving your best.

If you want to perform at your best, take no shortcuts. Be your own A player and do not settle down for less. Use the best resources you can get depending on what money and time allows. Train with the best, use great products and make it a habit of giving yourself the best performance every time.

Keep pushing to innovate

He believed you always have to keep pushing to innovate. Keep moving, evolving and refining your art. Just like The Beatles did album after album. Otherwise, if you´re not busy being born, you´re busy dying. He also didn´t rely on market research. He believed that people don´t know what they want before you show it to them. He pointed out what Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ´A faster horse! ´”

Think outside of the box, try new things and embrace innovations to your training. If you normally do Ironman, maybe try to attack an Xterra event. There is always room for improvement in gear, training methods and mental preparedness. There is a reason pro triathletes become faster each year.

Be visionary

He was one of the most visionary and creative business executives of our era. He had a vision about personal computers that could be used by any consumer and was not just for hobbyists. He had a vision about contributing to the society and creating a legacy. Think about what he did with the iPhone and iPad, making real products extracted from a vision.

Vision your goals and your races. If you repeat your vision often it will become reality, because you remind yourself to it. Visualizing a race is also a great way to prepare. What if water runs into your goggles during the swim or if you have a flat tire? Visualize how you will solve that in your mind and it will go easier on race day since you have “practiced” it.

The journey is the reward

Apple as a company was Jobs greatest creation. In 2012 it became the world’s most valuable company. But he would never want to miss the journey as that is where he truly was the most proud off.

Race day is just a gift of all your hard work. The journey to get to that finish line is really what you should be proud off.

Overcome a can´t do attitude

Steve Jobs was a master in getting things done that seemed to be impossible. If engineers would tell him it can´t get done, he would say “fix it!”, and eventually they would get done. He pursued this for both designing products and engineering problem. Nothing was impossible and it got Apple to invent one of the world´s most innovative products.

Anything can be done; you just have to put your mind to it. Do you think you can never run a marathon? Yes you can!

This article has been written by Erik Brandsma, a triathlete from the Netherlands with a dream to finish the Ironman World Championships in Kona-Hawaii.