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‘How my time as a footballer helped my business’

Sasha Karen
28 November 2016 1 minute readShare
A rugby ball positioned near a goalpost

The worlds of sport and business may appear to be far apart, but according to one footballer turned SME owner, they could be more similar than you think.

Starting a business is a daunting task, and even more so when you have no business experience whatsoever.

In order to thrive, you need to rely on what you know. Sean Garlick, co-founder of Garlo’s Pies, utilised his football background.

“The football background really teaches you and hardens you, and it's not just from a physical point of view, but from a psychological point of view as well,” Sean says on the My Business Podcast.

“Sitting in a room after a loss around all your peers and getting drilled out by the coach hardens you. It's humiliating. It makes you look within: ‘Am I the type of person that wants to do this?’.”

A rugby ball positioned near a goalpostSean says his experiences of dealing with losses helped build his resilience, making him the business owner he is today.

“Everything could be firing for you and there's a bounce of the ball or there's a decision from the referee that's wrong, and you've done everything right, but you still lose,” he says.

“You've had five losses in a row and you just don't feel like going to training, but you've got to train. It's raining and you've got a sore knee. It really does harden you.”

Sean recalls playing for the Sydney Roosters with Phil Gould as his coach, who told him toughness is more than just dealing with physical impediments.

“Is it your ability to play on with a broken jaw or is it being able to cop a whack in the mouth? He said, ‘No, toughness is all mental’,” Sean recalls.

“It's when you don't want to come to training and it's raining outside and it's cold and you've got to get there ... on time and you've got to perform and you don't feel like it.”

By building up that mental toughness, sportspeople and businesspeople can discipline themselves to get through difficult situations.

“It's that discipline: getting your body to do things that it doesn't want to do. I think that's what football really gave me, was that discipline. When your back's against the wall, when you're never supposed to win this game but you win it and by pushing through, you develop this confidence that you can do anything,” says Sean.

However, he says the difference between sport and business is that with the right planning, business owners can never lose.

“If you do things right, if you cover all your bases and you're careful and you've got contingencies and you plan it out, you win,” he says.

Hear more insights from Sean on the My Business Podcast now!

‘How my time as a footballer helped my business’
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Sasha Karen

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