by Dana Cavalea May 29, 2018

Hey Team-

Every so often in my coaching journey, I come across a great competitor...

They come in many different packages.... but they all have a common denominator..


They are all hungry... and most of the time.. these people are not just successful in athletic competition... but in business as well...

This past weekend I received an exciting email from one of those competitors..Roger Kahn...

Roger is a swimming athlete in his 60s I have had the privilege of working with..

Competitive. Hungry. Perfectionist. Detail Oriented. Relentless.

Kind Hearted. 

These are the words I use to describe him...

So for today's blog... I wanted to share a "guest-blog" from my man Roger... Enjoy!



We Are All Pro Athletes [Competitors].

I read Dana’s blog pretty much every day. His messages and advice always ring true with me. I have always been a believer that the mentality and habits of a professional athlete should be mirrored by business people to help achieve success.

When I was reading Dana’s “Out of Order” blog, it really hit me.

We are all pro athletes and just like the pro has to keep his/her body as finely-tuned as they can, business people have to do the exact same thing.

We (athletes and business people alike) are all engaged in ‘sport’ every day.

We all compete to win every day. A pro athlete competes, and a business person competes. We both compete to win.

The only real difference between the pro athlete and the business person is our primary tool in competition.

Pro athletes earn their livings excelling at physical games. They need to run, jump, shoot, dive, catch, putt, hit, drive, kick etc.

The better they can perform the physical aspect of their game, the more they can win (or help a team to win), and the more they can earn.

We all played various sports growing up and many of us continue doing so.

Whether it was/is in a backyard, on a ball field, a golf course, a court, or in a gym, we are all acutely aware of how important our physicality is to our performance and success in sports. We can all see it, and we can all feel it.

Business people on the other hand need to sell, negotiate, convince, understand revenues and expenses, manage cash flow, buy low and sell high.

We do it primarily sitting down, or standing in front of a group. Almost all of the activity taking place when we compete is above our shoulders and between our ears - - in our heads, our brains.

There is no apparent physicality like with the athlete. We can compete and ‘wow’ people, or at least have success, without any meaningful movement whatsoever.

And this is where the disconnect lies.

We all marvel at an athlete’s physical prowess and can very easily relate to the fact that they have to keep their bodies finely tuned in order to stay at the top of their games.

They need to eat well, keep themselves properly fueled for performance, and workout to maintain/develop strength and flexibility.

Because as business people we don’t really need our bodies like an athlete does, we cannot directly relate to the importance of being fit and well-fueled, etc. to succeed.

The tool of our success is our brains. We don’t make the same connection between physicality and business performance because we simply don’t have any cues to do so.

We can use our brains without jumping, or taking a shot or throwing the ball, or being strong. In fact, we don’t even have to move an inch to use our brains……and if we don’t have to move, why in the world do we have to be in good physical shape?

Now I am no doctor, and I don’t have any degrees in science, or physical education, though I have been a competitive swimmer for over 50 years who has stayed in ‘competition shape’ throughout, and I do know this…….of all of our organs, our brain consumes the most energy, and our brain and heart require the greatest blood supply.

Given this, and knowing that as a business person my brain is my most important tool, I want to make sure that it is getting its maximum energy, and its best energy, throughout the day.

If my heart is overtaxed because I have extra weight, or because my arteries are clogged with garbage, or if I am sending too many carbs and not enough protein into my bloodstream, my brain will not be firing on all cylinders.

And just like the athlete that is 10 pounds overweight and can’t get around the bases, quite as quickly as he used to, I don’t want to be in that position of under-performance.

If our brain is getting less of what it needs, or the energy available to it is from an unhealthy diet, logic says its performance has to suffer. If its performance suffers, the business person’s performance has to suffer as well. This is not a desirable situation. Business people need to eat well and to stay in shape in order to give their brain its best shot at optimum performance. We are ‘pro competitors’ just like a pro athlete is.

Another compelling argument for the pro competitor business person to stay in shape is the length of their careers.

Pro athletes, have what, a 10 to 15-year career during which they can maximize their earnings? [Note, the career of the average MLB player is 5.6 years according to a University of Colorado study.]

On the other hand, business people can have a 50-year career. Think about it.

Business people have to stay on top of their games 8-times as long as a professional baseball player does.

A business career covers an extremely long period of time. This makes it critical that business people take care of their bodies – and thus their brains. They need to in order to endure the long haul and to perform optimally throughout.

Once business people recognize that they are pro competitors just like pro athletes are, they will understand how important their physical well-being is to the performance of their brains, and they will realize that it is time to get up and to get fit….and to stay fit and well-nourished. We are all pro athletes [competitors] we have to take care of ourselves and maintain our fitness like we are one.




Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

Dana Cavalea is the World Champion Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance of the New York Yankees. Currently, he is a High Performance Speaker & Consultant to Pro Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, and Workforces on lifestyle strategies to reduce stress, improve work/life integration, and most importantly improve daily performance /outcomes. Book Dana to Speak at your Company Event or Conference Today!

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