I have seen this expression altered slightly to “Train like you’re sponsored by Nike”. Both are good bits of advice.

Always Be Learning

An Athlete will benefit from continuous training, and a business leader is no different. The first part of this quote is “play like you are in first”. Whether or not you are the market leader in your business, there is something to be said for confidence in your product sitting alongside a constant desire to improve.

Complacency is a dangerous bug for a successful business, so remind yourself that you should always be looking for ways to improve.

You Don’t Control Your Position

When you are last in your field, you keep fighting because you believe you can do better. To climb up that ladder you are displacing all the brands that sit above you. As you journey up, don’t forget that somebody else could turn around and displace you as well.

But competition is not the only threat you face. Your customer behaviors and wants might change. The economic or regulatory environment might change. And when that happens, you are either chasing the business, ready to adapt, or, best of all, have anticipated the change.

Cannibalize Your Business

Enjoy today’s success, but always question tomorrow’s idea.

Ask yourself what you might not be seeing. Think of what you take for granted, and then turn it on its head. Think of ways that you can compete with yourself, making a better product or providing a better service. And then do just that.

Stay ahead of external threats by always finding new ways to improve.

In other words: never stop learning, and never stop training.


To Do

  1. Know why people buy from you rather than any other competitor
  2. Review your Mission Statement and note your unalterable Guiding Principles
  3. With those set in stone, start to review the areas open for adaptation that will keep you current and innovative