Money Smart Athlete Blog

Using Your Athletic Strengths to Overcome Financial Setbacks

Mar 27, 2018 | Financial Psychology

Financial setbacks and difficulties are something that all of us encounter at some point of our lives.  To be able to deal with these challenging financial situations, we all try to draw upon our experiences and strengths in order to bounce back as quickly as possible.

Athletes are no different than the rest of us in this respect; they also try to use their strengths to deal with financial distress.  What is different though in the case of athletes, is that during their athletic training they have developed a unique set of strengths, unlike most of us, which if used properly, can help them get into a positive recovery mode faster.

So what are these unique athletic strengths and how can athletes apply them to financially challenging situations in order to expedite the recovery period and have positive results?

  1. Resilience – Throughout their athletic career, athletes must have failed more times than they have actually won. They realize that this is how life is and they always get up and keep going, because very soon, there is another game or another competition to be won.  There is no time for self pity; they have a situation and they need to deal with it immediately and move on!  Resilience is one of the important traits in situations of financial difficulty as it gives the person the strength and the insight needed to move on quickly; athletes have an advantage because they have already cultivated and possess this trait, so can get a head-start due to their ability to bounce back quickly.
  2. Focusing on the target – Also, particular to athletes, is focusing on a target. Because athletes have been winning and losing their entire life, they have learned to eliminate external influences and focus on the target so that they win the game.  In consequence, they do away with all the negative emotions associated with failure-like situations fast and they focus on how to win the next game.  Drawing upon this strength can help athletes minimize the negative emotions arising from financial distress and focus on devising a recovery plan.
  3. Self reflection – For athletes it is common practice to reflect on the results of the performance during game breaks and after the end of the game, to assess what was done right and what went wrong. Self reflection helps athletes reflect and analyze the financial challenge they are faced with, in order to assess what went wrong and how to prepare themselves to do things differently so as to turn around the undesirable situation.
  4. Collaborating and following instructions – Most athletes are part of a team. As team members they have learned how to receive tough feedback from their coach and coaching team and how to follow instructions.  These skills are important when faced with a financially challenging situation because in most cases, you will have to create a team of professionals with whom you will collaborate and whose instructions you will have to follow in order to get out of the rat-hole!
  5. Getting into an effective state of performance – When under pressure, elite athletes make sure they get the performance they want by being able to shift their body and mind into an effective state of performance. How do they do that?  They tip the balance in their favor by visualizing past and future successes to increase self-confidence, they develop consistent pre-performance routines in order to increase perceived control and they make sure their goals are set towards success and not against avoiding failure.  All these are learnable techniques and they can be applied to a multitude of stressful situations including financially challenging ones.
  6. Self Control – Research shows that self control is a decisive factor that enables athletes to transform their workout intention into actual workout behavior. Regularly exerting self-control strength in one situation can have a positive self-control effect in various different situations.  The self-control strength that athletes cultivate by training throughout their entire athletic career can be applied when they find themselves in a negative financial situation, in order to restrain their spending and change their spending habits.
  7. Work Ethic – The best athletes have become the best because they have perfected their skill by perfecting their work ethic. They know that in order to be successful, they need to work long and hard.  The effects of financial failure can be devastating and along with resilience and devising a plan to come out of it as soon as possible, a lot of hard work is required from the athlete’s part.  Having a strong work ethic helps athletes put in the hard work necessary to overcome financial failure.

In addition to the transferrable athletic strengths identified above, there are many more athlete unique traits that athletes can draw upon when faced with financially challenging situations.  These traits include persistence, attentiveness, organization and so forth.  All these strengths, skills and traits, inherent to and as a result of athletic training can be transferred and utilized by athletes in all sorts of challenging situations and they give the athlete the tools to deal with such situations more effectively and come out a winner!

For more information, you may contact us at  We will be more than happy to discuss with you and direct you on how you can draw upon and utilize your athletic strengths to deal with financially challenging situations and shape a financially rewarding future.