Muhammad Ali: The 10 Lessons for Entrepreneurs
According to several news sources: Muhammad Ali, 74, who had advanced Parkinson’s disease, died Friday after being taken to a Phoenix-area hospital due to respiratory issues. He had been placed on life support to regulate his breathing.
Muhammad Ali shall be remembered for not just being one the best boxers that has ever touched this earth but for his philanthropy, books, and great strides as a much more than being one of the greatest athletes in the world that has ever touched this earth. He will also be remembered for being an awesome father and his mark in the world as an African-American when there was great racial strife in America. We will also remember him for his philanthropic efforts, fights for social justice, and much more.
We will take this time now to look at 10 of his most famous quotes and how they can apply to being the “greatest” in your business.
1. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
When running your business, do it with grace yet with power. Learn how to be one who has discernment in all areas of your business. Don’t be the business owner who is aggressive where you shouldn’t and soft where you shouldn’t. We should all strive to be a mix of gentle and at the same time potent. The effortless movements of a butterfly show the beauty and elegance in movement. Clean up your footwork and learn how to glide. Sometimes as business owners, we can struggle with adapting to a situation. Do we float or do we sting? Notice that float and sting are two different verbs with different meaning. Float = movement and Sting= to issue a wound. This means that when you hit you leave with a mark/feeling/sensation. Does your business do that? Do you leave an effect on people that makes them do a double take?
2. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
Ali took a risk every time he stepped into that ring. However, he was confident of his preparation. He was convinced that He was “it”. You have to overcome every piece of doubt in your head to achieve greatness. You have to take a risk. Isn’t this the definition of entrepreneurship? However, many times when we get into business, we can still have these “choking” moments. The crazy thing is that there is always something facing us as business owners no matter what level we are on. However, that’s the type of world we operate in. Business is a risk. You’re placing you future in the hands of yourself and this burning passion to create something awesome to stand the test of time. People are a product of their choices. We have ALL been dealt different cards in life. It’s how we play them that define who we end up being. You may have gotten a worse hand than me but if you are determined to turn your risks into opportunities, you will beat me to the finish line every time. It’s time to take risks in your business. Don’t plateau. Don’t stay stagnant. Yes, maybe you’re money but because of the fear, you’ve choked and your capping your potential of greater profit. Let’s go to the next level in our business ladies.
3. The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
You grow with your business. Appreciate every step. The world is also progressing and as time goes, you go with it. If you run your business like it’s 2010, that’s an issue. I was talking to a friend during a career talk at a local school in Philadelphia. She shared with me how a relative of hers operated her business like it was still the 90’s. Even though there are some old school principles that still stand true, you have still adapt those principles to a new climate that is constantly changing in the business world. Let life grow you and operate your business the same way. Your viewpoints should mature and so should your business! Heck, life will throw experiences your way and it will help how you operate your business. Motherhood has helped so many female entrepreneurs come up with additional services/products that has helped current/future mothers. Maybe it’s a devastating loss that causes you to launch a new company geared to life coaching or helping those battle inner pain. The point is, grow with life. When I work with entrepreneurs who are in their 40's-60's, I often tell them to stop trying to be a millennial. We have enough millennials. We need entrepreneurs who see the world in different ways yet adapting to the times without silencing their perspective.
4. Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
Muhammad Ali understand this law. He gave to many efforts all over the world to make the world a better place. He made sure that his success wasn’t the end. Success is never meant to be the apex of who we are. It’s what we do with what we build that creates strong character. What good is it to have achieved great things but never pour out to others? When you’re building a business, understand that every success you obtain should be given back to the earth in some way. Whether it’s a free service to a brand in need, 10% back of profits to a non-profit, or seasonal giving, do something! Make somebody smile through your gifts, talents, and abilities.
5. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
What are you being distracted by? Many times as business owners, it’s the pebbles that drive us away. What I mean by “pebbles” are the issues, confrontations, concerns, and more for your book. You must identify the pebbles in your life and remove them because you have a mountain to climb! These little pebbles begin to hurt bit by bit. Because of its size, you don’t think that it’s anything. However, your staff is growing crazy, bills are coming in, kids are running left and right. Those are just the pebbles of life. When it comes to my business and platforms that I operate over, I’ve learned that I can’t allow little things to get in the way of where I’m headed. Get the pebble out and keep it moving! Stay focused on the last lap and get it done!
6. I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
One of the most life changing points in your business is when you decide to be true to you. I’ve seen many people who haven’t found their “truth” and they are lost in this cycle of should I pretend to be another to gain the following? Should I rock my outfits like this because these are the trends? Should I rebrand my business to fit whats popular? Should I change my business model to be like someone else’s because everyone is pouring their way? Listen to me. You will succeed by ONLY being you! The passion and the provision is FOUND in FREEDOM. Let me say it this way. You can only truly sell what you know and who you are. Many people try to sell another version of themselves and even though you may make profit, you’re limiting yourself to this coverup. Don’t be scared to open up the doors and allow yourself to walk in freedom.
7. Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.
Sometimes it’s good to just shut up. I know it can sound harsh but as a business owner, I’ve seen too many people speak instead of silencing their tongue. Also, know that not all battles are meant for you to fight in. Silence can be an amazing way to keep your peace. I’ve also seen owners ruin a business opportunity because they were not wise in silencing their words. Learn how to communicate effectively and when. You can hurt your reputation by not giving good advice. Keep that in mind.
8. I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
How do you see yourself? Muhammad Ali was known to be one of the biggest trash talkers in the sport of boxing. However, when you see the work and the training that he put in, it made sense. The first step of training is in the mind and heart. You have to set yourself up for success. Ali believed that he was the greatest even when it didn’t look like it. He knew that one day he would be what he was saying all along. You need to give yourself a pep talk every now and then and tell yourself who you are. You are the best. You are talented and creative. You are full of life and energy and your path is filled with great things. You may not know how you’re going to get there or when you will make your life changing decision that will catapult you to the front. However, know who you are and that you’re the greatest.
9. It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
I love how Ali said this. Each pairing (grass to grow, birds to fly, waves to pound) is linked to the prime nature of that very object. Grass is supposed to grow. The majority of birds fly. The waves pound the sand. What is he saying? This was what he was meant to do. Do you know what you were meant to do? What were you created for? Muhammad had his humble moments and this was one of them. He’s just doing what he was supposed to do. When you operate within your gifts and talents, it will be much easier to manage through success. It’s not that it will become easy. It will be less of a load because there won’t be a large amount of stress due to doing what you never meant to do. What were you meant to do?
10. The man who has no imagination has no wings.
Imagination is what takes your life to whole other level. Many of us have desires and dreams but imagination is the exploration of those inner desires and dreams. It’s what you use to figure out how your business will become your business of your dreams. Muhammad Ali used his personality, charisma, determination, and work ethic to form an amazing career. He was known for his moves in and outside the ring. His creativity was infused within his career. When you operate without creativity, you’re limited in your ability to fly to another dimension of success. Many limit their business according to what they see and do not include what can be created to defeat the impossible. It’s time to imagine and soar!