In Their Own Words: 4 Characteristics of Champion Athletes to Instill in Your Workforce

Runner crossing finish lineAthletes who play at the most elite levels don’t reach the top by chance. They spend a lifetime developing the unique set of skills they need to achieve their goals and position themselves for success. As a business leader, you want to instill many of the same characteristics that make pro athletes great into your own workforce.

So, what better place to seek insight for developing top performers than in the words of professional athletes who have built legendary careers by winning at the highest levels?

Mental fortitude

  • “The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”
    – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bodybuilding
  • “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”
    – Laird Hamilton, Surfing
  • “You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.”
    – Arthur Ashe, Tennis


  • “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”
    – Derek Jeter, Baseball
  • “If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.”
    – Ben Hogan, Golf
  • “To uncover your true potential, you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.”
    – Picabo Street, Skiing


  • “When you’re riding, only the race in which you’re riding is important.”
    – Bill Shoemaker, Jockey
  • “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.”
    – Martina Navratilova, Tennis
  • “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
    – Rogers Hornsby, Baseball


  • “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back … play for her.”
    – Mia Hamm, Soccer
  • “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”
    – Mike Singletary, Football
  • “Some people say I have attitude—maybe I do … but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does. That makes you a winner right there.”
    – Venus Williams, Tennis

What are your favorite quotes from professional athletes that help motivate you to perform at work? Share them with us in the comments section below.

And for more inspiration and resources for developing your workforce, visit Express

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