Former Sportswoman shares parallels from Sporting Career to Running a Business

Written by Katie Chan

It’s safe to say that entrepreneur, former sportswoman, successful business owner and international speaker Tineke Rensen isn’t short of accomplishments. With over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, the founder of coaching business Powerful Business Academy currently works exclusively with businesswomen to help scale up their businesses. 

A former professional sportswoman, Tineke has previously competed nationally and internationally representing the Netherlands in whitewater kayaking. Not only is she a national champion, but she placed in 10th position at the European Championships and 30th at the World Championships. Over the years, this has taught her countless lessons she was able to apply to her businesses and help other businesswomen.

Prior to this, Tineke founded Umyak Buitensport BV, an outdoor survival sports company. After 22 years of running the company, she had grown the business into an international SME. An active outdoor sports business, Tineke was surrounded by a heavily male-dominated environment. 

Taking this in her stride, she learned from her male competitors and used this to gain a competitive advantage. Now working with businesswomen who have big visions, Tineke assists clients in creating systems that help them grow their businesses. 

With my clients, some of the time they need my knowledge, but often they also need my guidance.

From these contrasting career paths, Tineke has found a multitude of resemblances that apply to her experiences in business. For instance, having perseverance and a clear destination in your mind of where you want to go to and why. She mentions already  visualizing herself becoming a national champion when she was 11 years old. Beginning with the dream of gymnastics, this later became skiing, and eventually led to whitewater kayaking; and at the age of 37, Tineke did it. These qualities must be present in business –often, a clear goal and drive are lacking. 

Another fundamental take away that quickly became apparent was adaptability. Tineke states that you can always make plans, but this won’t guarantee that you will achieve your goal – because life will get in the way. And when this happens, you will need to course-correct – something that happens frequently in kayaking when things don’t go as smoothly as anticipated. 

Somehow, I always choose the hard way, because I’m used to making things happen. You can’t always clearly see the easy route either. I never give up.

According to Tineke, asking for guidance is another key lesson that applies to running a business successfully. Although kayaking is a solo sport, it can be seen as similar to entrepreneurship; you can’t do everything on your own. Tineke recalls needing others on the river to help her when she did something wrong – a common problem she sees with her clients, especially with women. Having others around to share the burden so you can take time off doing things you enjoy is paramount. 

To improve her kayaking abilities, Tineke learned a great deal by surrounding herself with those better than she was – and believes it is imperative to pick a good mentor. Pertinent in the business sphere, a common issue she sees is businesswomen often choosing mentors who may sell the best, but aren’t always the best teachers. Your coach must excel in everything that you are looking for. So many entrepreneurs are lacking in the skills they need to accelerate their business because they are not equipped with the right people, and end up with no progression.  

There are two key frameworks that Tineke loves to operate within. One of them establishing your parameters and a clear destination. But in-between, she stresses the importance of letting go and manoeuvring loosely, following an ebb-and-flow motion. 

Solely following traditional goal-setting methods such as SMART goals can exclude the fact that we cannot predict everything that is going to happen. Rather than getting stuck on fixating on numbers and timeframes, we must be open to allowing change and have flexibility around our parameters.

There is no problem that businesswomen face that I do not have an answer to.

Utilising knowledge from both her sporting career and of running her businesses, Tineke uses a blueprint that she created to help women achieve successful business growth. A Woman’s Blueprint to Business Success consists of eight major aspects that business owners should constantly maintain. Tineke helps clients achieve all eight aspects, which are:

Mindset, Planning, Branding, Clever Tools, Team, Acceleration Power, Flow & Ease, and Help & Support.

Every businesswoman is different and every business is different, but Tineke believes she can help them all. With three decades of knowledge and experience, no scenario or obstacle is new or unfamiliar. 

I haven’t come across anything my clients are struggling with without a solution, because I’ve already done it. I’ve already worked with a client with similar issues or I’ve experienced it myself.

To find out more about Powerful Business Academy, click here.

Tineke Rensen, the founder of Powerful Business Academy and the Powerful Business Women’s Club, is an author, public speaker and Business Mentor for businesswomen. She works with businesswomen who want to Scale & Grow AND work less in 60 days. She only works with ambitious women..

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I Loved the parallels drawn and I think it is so valid and true.
    As a sportswoman, I have participated in Gymnastics, Swimming, Karate, Tennis and Kickboxing, and have also been an exponent of Classical Indian Dance aside from sports. In addition I have also represented my state as a leader in the National Cadet Corps, the second line of Defence in India. After spending about 20 years in the Corporate I am now an entrepreneur and I think all of what you said there resonated completely. Sports and to my mind NCC pushes you to your physical and mental limits and thus builds tenacity and resilience in you as well as the strength of character and emotions. There are so many times during a sporting activity that your body is so tired and you feel you can go on no more, and the mind pushes you showing you the finish line or the end objective or end of the game and says just that much more and helps you get there .. Exactly the same is what one has experienced in business where one feels that it’s enough trying and pushing and one would rather return to the comfort of a well paying job but then the excitement of being an entrepreneur, A coach and Trainer pushes the mind and body to think beyond that frustration and keeping going, treating each day as a new one with renewed vigour and a sense of direction!
    Sports teaches you to Assess, perform, stop, think, reassess, change course, Act and Review ! I tend to follow these process in business and hence tend to have regular reviews.
    Never give up is what sports teaches and I follow it to the last T and it has never failed as a principle!

  2. Great article and yes the comparison with achieving greatness in sports and business are similar. I run a wellness business and love helping people and have been in business for 40 years. I did take a number of years off as I got older and almost retired but missed helping people so back with helping people have better health and financial wellbeing.

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