While it may not be too difficult to draw a parallel between business and just about anything else you can think of, the world of sports might be one of its closer analogies. The main qualities required by either are pretty much the same, you need guts, persistence, strategy and passion; you face challenges on a daily level and constantly have to keep proving to the world that you are better than your peers; as well as stay aware of the fact that you are a member of a team, a team which depends on your performance and dedication.
While, as a player, he encapsulates most of the qualities we listed, that is not the reason why we chose Predrag (Sasa) Danilovic as an example. Instead of focusing on his achievements on the court, it is his choices outside of it that made us recognize him as one of the athletes that can serve as an inspiration to people trying to make it in business. Specifically, what we find the most inspiring is his dedication to the sport he loves, teams he played in, and the idea of sport in general.
In order to better illustrate what we mean by this, we need to first provide you with his short professional bio of Predrag Danilovic. He started displaying interest in basketball at a very early age, and his already impressive talent was recognized by his soon to be coach, Dusko Vujosevic, who insisted Danilovic transfers from KK Bosna to a much more popular KK Partizan. After achieving impressive results there, he transferred, first to Italy, where he played in Knor (Virtus Bologna), and later to US, where he was a part of two teams, first Miami Heat, and later Dallas Mavericks.
While, as a player, he exhibited a number of qualities any businessperson might only hope for – persistence, courage, competitive nature, etc, it is what he did after he retired from the court that made us choose him as the subject of this article. Namely, after leaving the court, Predrag Danilovic (in the US, most commonly referred to as Sasha or Sasa Danilovic) first helped run his favorite team, Partizan, as a vice president only to later become its president. Once he felt he did all he could for his team, he withdrew from the function, but the recognition and expertise he accumulated during his years in the sport led to him becoming the president of the Basketball Federation of Serbia last year.
The reason his story is so inspiring is that he has managed to start at the very bottom, and one step at a time, reach the point where he is considered capable and unbiased enough to be placed in charge of managing the sport he excelled at in the country of his birth. While talent is a prerequisite for this kind of success, it is far from being the only thing you need.
Predrag Danilovic managed to get where he is thanks to a lot of hard work, dedication, and a focus born out of true love of his profession. When he felt like he has done all that he could as a player, he had the courage and the drive to move on to the next, more complex and challenging stage in his career, where he could keep contributing to basketball in a completely new way. After a period of successfully running his home team, he recognized the point at which his ability to help diminished, and again moved on to greater things, i.e. position of the president of Basketball Federation of Serbia.
Applied to business this would mean that you should never allow yourself to become complacent and find comfort in stagnation, just because it is stable and secure. When you reach the limits of your potential, find a new way to grow and develop, find new venues that could benefit from your existing knowledge, and new challenges that will keep enhancing it.