NCET Biz Tips: Drink your own Kool-Aid

NCET helps you explore business and technology

Dayo McIntosh

Dayo McIntosh

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, indication of success is often measured by traditional benchmarks, such as educational background or industry-specific experience. However, this conventional approach overlooks the wealth of skills and resilience ingrained in individuals with diverse backgrounds, particularly athletes.

As the founder of the tech startup Yateou and a former track athlete, I draw on personal experiences to illustrate how the discipline, commitment, and mental fortitude developed on the track directly contribute to my success in the business world. Here are five actionable takeaways from my journey that entrepreneurs can implement to elevate their own endeavors: 

1.”Leave it all on the track”

The ethos of “leave it on the track” serves as a powerful reminder that success often hinges on giving one’s absolute best. Just as athletes pour their energy, dedication, and determination into every stride on the track, entrepreneurs must invest their passion, creativity, and resilience into their ventures. By leaving it all on the metaphorical track of business, individuals not only maximize their potential for success but also mitigate the risk of future regrets. Just as a runner strives for a personal best, entrepreneurs should aim to achieve their highest aspirations, knowing that every ounce of effort expended contributes to a fulfilling and impactful journey. 

2. Be Adaptable

The lesson of adaptability draws a parallel between the unpredictable nature of sports and the dynamic environment of entrepreneurship, emphasizing the necessity to embrace change, pivot strategies when needed, and view setbacks not as roadblocks but as opportunities for growth; cultivating adaptability is not just a survival skill but a strategic advantage that positions entrepreneurs to thrive in the ever-evolving and competitive business landscape.

3. Cultivate a Goal-Oriented Mindset

Borrowing a page from the athlete’s playbook, entrepreneurs should adopt a goal-oriented mindset. Clearly define your objectives, break them down into actionable steps, and celebrate each milestone. Beyond serving as a strategic roadmap, this approach becomes a dynamic source of motivation, fostering resilience and determination during the inevitable challenges encountered on the entrepreneurial journey.

4. Prioritize Self-Care and Recovery

Just as athletes understand the importance of rest and recovery for peak performance, entrepreneurs must prioritize self-care. Burnout is counterproductive. Avoid burnout by prioritizing self-care, striking a balance between work and personal life, integrating consistent self-care practices, and understanding that safeguarding one’s well-being is not only vital for immediate productivity but also a fundamental cornerstone for achieving sustained long-term success in the demanding entrepreneurial landscape.

5. Have Grit and Perseverance

In both athletics and entrepreneurship, grit is the secret sauce. Recognize that setbacks are part of the journey, and perseverance is non-negotiable. Believe in yourself, stay determined, and channel setbacks into opportunities for growth. Grit is the driving force that propels you forward, even when the path seems arduous.

Believing in yourself and your vision is crucial. “Drink your own Kool-Aid” signifies embracing your ideas, having confidence in your abilities, and staying true to your unique perspective. Self-belief can be a powerful catalyst for success. Remember, success is not guaranteed, but the journey is enriched by giving your all, believing in yourself, adapting to change, setting and celebrating goals, taking care of yourself, and having the grit to persevere. In the entrepreneurial journey, it’s not just about reaching the finish line; it’s about the lessons learned, the growth achieved, and the legacy built along the way, just like in sports.

In my NCET Biz Bite presentation April 24, “Entrepreneurial Insights from a Former Athlete,” I share how breaking free from these constraints can reveal unique and transferable skills that ultimately strengthen the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. My transition from the track to founding Yateou highlights the transformative power of embracing diverse experiences in entrepreneurship.

NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.

Dayo McIntosh, a self-professed “non-techie” tech founder, embarked on a transformative personal care journey resulting in the creation of Yateou. This category-defining brand incorporates AI, robotics, and custom skincare to address the void of safe products in beauty and wellness. Serving as the visionary force behind Yateou, Dayo not only holds a robotics patent and trademarks but also aims to reshape the future of the beauty landscape.


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