Bonnie Frankel

Bonnie Frankel: How My Experience in Athletics Trained Me to Become a Better Leader

Creativity- An essential idea to optimize creative actions because they are an obvious sign that the player who performs them has the necessary skills to adapt to what may occur in a game which is the basis for success in unpredictability in a competition. It prepares you to use this skill to become diversified in any leadership role you undertake.

The world of sports is not just about physical prowess or competition; it’s an incubator for leadership qualities such as discipline, teamwork, strategic planning, and resilience. Athletes, from amateur levels to professional arenas, often encounter situations that test their limits and require them to step up in ways that mirror the challenges faced by leaders in various fields. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Bonnie Frankel.

Bonnie is a respected leader overcoming adversities and became an athletic influencer. She is gifted with her contagious enthusiasm to inspire others to pursue their dreams and aspirations. She serves as a role model of how athletics profoundly impacts our society by shaping our culture in a wide range of ways.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career in athletics?

Fate launched a new chapter in my life by trusting my instincts to engage in a running class when I re-entered the educational system. Having been physically active at a young age, in mid-life I discovered the relationship with the art of running and its magical connection. Like the wind, this exercise transposed my mind and body to excel in all aspects of my life. Benefitting from this effect, I was determined to share the knowledge with others when you discover the right exercise, positive transitions become available in your life. Physical activity provided me the wherewithal to integrate more discipline, strategize effectively, boost resiliency, and improve cognitive performance. It provided an improvement to assist with my disabilities. Running renewed my faith to trust myself and trained me to be a better influencer.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

There were many. Running with a younger generation when I re-entered the educational system had a significant impact on me in my late forties. Communicating with my young pals presented a unique yet positive adjustment in thinking which affected my behavior to enhance my values. I adjusted to familiarize their lingo along with their new and refreshing ideas and reinvented the way I communicated with them. I was also able to shake arrogant patterns because they would discipline me by calling me, “Bonster the Monster.” This modernized my ability to converse with them by lessening my arrogance and becoming more approachable. They educated me in the knowledge of running and racing. I remember my first competitive event whereas I didn’t finish the race because of a penetrating side stitch. After the race, they boldly told me to finish your race with dignity even if you finish with a walk and I never forgot it.

Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

By embracing passion, being persistent with an optimistic attitude enables me to embrace failures which can lead to my success. When I want to reach a goal, my passion fuels my drive and stimulates my motivation to go beyond the comfort zone even when it seems impossible. When I approach my goals with fervor, I find them to feel and be more enjoyed when the task is completed. It also inspires me to improve on my skill and gives me the confidence to take more risks. Being optimistic authorizes my ability to commence my targeted fantastical goals even when it feels like pushing a donkey uphill. My persistence provides me with the wherewithal to continue my journey to the destination despite challenges and setbacks. This trait gives me the fortitude to stay focused and work through obstacles. My leadership ability not only helps me to keep focused, but also serves to adapt to change and inspire my team to persevere.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Can you share a pivotal moment in your athletic career that taught you a leadership lesson you’ve applied outside of sports?

My failure to qualify for the Olympic Trials guided me into an unexpected pleasurable direction to begin a leadership role in becoming a personal development coach. It wasn’t foreign to me as I naturally used this method when I coached athletes in high school and on a collegiate level. When I failed to accomplish my goal at sixty to qualify for the Olympic Trials, I decided to set up separate time for my athletic clients to counsel them in setting up and achieving life goals beyond the world of training. This was done so they could identify the ways to achieve their personal and professional goals. By engaging in this form of assisting others, it took the sting out of my frustration and honored me with the ability to make a difference. My goal was to inspire others that no matter how old you are, if you feel that you desire to try something you have always wanted to do but scared of failure to just do it. By failing to achieve my goal, it led me to realize that being a true leader is not about winning, it’s about a creative effort to discover where my next challenging adventure is. When I changed the NCAA eligibility rule, it was to open the door for women to go to a collegiate institution of their choice to be able to compete athletically and to combine the different generations to share their ideas.

How has your experience in team dynamics within athletics influenced your approach to leadership in the workplace?

It magnified the significance of the communication of body language and to respectfully listen to my clients. Sometimes the both are not in cinch specifically when my clients are not in harmony with their core self and are in a crisis situation. The combination of these two dynamics recreates a shared vision that arouses individuals to fill their authenticated goals. It transformed me to take pride in depth in the organizational workings and take the helm to build the culture of my organization right from the top. Effective communication, trust, shared goals, and mutual accountability gives me the opportunity to grow and mature through difficult situations. This gives a sense of connectiveness that provides the faith of belonging. It becomes personalized as each member feels valued and motivated to contribute their best and the result is a mutual feeling to prosper.

In what ways has facing defeat or challenges in sports prepared you for handling failure and setbacks in your professional life?

The path to success in sports is rarely a smooth one. Embracing adversity has been a crucial aspect in my athletic journey because it prepared me for the job of my life. My career was filled with hurdles, setback, and sometimes, heart-wrenching defeats that gave me the strength to tackle setbacks which built up my resiliency and integrity not only in my profession but in my personal life. The moments of my struggle, signifies the true spirit of being an athlete that initiates the fortitude to keep forging ahead to find the moments of pleasurable ones. It continues to assist me to cope with my emotional and mental setbacks encouraging me to reflect and maintain an optimistic attitude to recover. The essential part of defeat and challenges enables me to extend a search for a creative solution to persevere. Failure is an essential ingredient in order for me to succeed. By feeling disappointment because of the lack of accomplishing goals in my athletic career, taught me to persevere to flourish by seeking an alternative solution that provides me with a resolution. Failure is a goldmine of learning opportunities, and I am a walking, talking informercial of just that.

How do you apply the discipline and training regimen from your athletic pursuits to your current leadership role?

I respond with the identical serious state of intent when I was training for each workout to transcend to getting the gold. It equips me to embrace the structure of my passion to focus as an integral part while training to face challenges, push the limits, and achieve greatness. As a leader, the ultimate goal in mind is to develop strategies as well to make sure the work accomplished is executed with efficiency, effectively, and with integrity.

Reflecting on your journey, what specific skills or attributes developed through athletics do you believe are most essential for effective leadership?

Being an athlete requires me to give a great performance in all settings in my physical, mental, and emotional mindset and to focus on the present moment. If I cannot maintain a healthy fitness, then my ability to be the best I can be falters. I have often wondered why executive leaders don’t spend as much time at optimizing their performance as pro athletes do. The arena of competition is more than a little different, but the stakes are still important and my professional work is often the single largest element in my daily life. Yet how many leaders neglect athletics not only to maintain their physical health, but emotional and mental health, because it limits their ability to live up to their potential as leaders in their profession. Being zealous, persistent, optimistic, focused, creative, and using emotional intelligence are just valued traits that transfer to being a definitive leader.

Based on your experience, can you please share “5 Ways That Athletics Can Help Train Great Leaders?”

1 . Creativity- An essential idea to optimize creative actions because they are an obvious sign that the player who performs them has the necessary skills to adapt to what may occur in a game which is the basis for success in unpredictability in a competition. It prepares you to use this skill to become diversified in any leadership role you undertake.

2 . Athleticism — Great leaders need to build skills to lead by setting an example as well as being practical to those they lead. Playing sports develops those team-building skills because of the bonding and communication in the team environment. Being physical is a trait that maintains your desire for being persistent plus versatile in your goals. Having an athletic background sets the stage as a role model for various leadership roles because it gives you the edge for being directly responsible for generating good energy and setting the tone for the rest of the organization. The passion you inject into the organization either fuels the executive of your culture or impedes the growth and development of your efforts. When you are physically in shape it affects your mental and emotional state of mind to be in the right place to lead.

3 . Communication — Always has and always will be that effective teamwork connects and ends with the ability to be precise and give clear ideas because in athletics you must communicate fast and effectively with your teammates to be able to succeed. Sports helps you to constantly use and develop your interaction and strategize team building sports. Being an athlete prepares you as a leader to set in stone that everyone is on the same page which makes it conducive to work as a team. It prepares you to correspond with your workforce what the goals are with direct swiftness so the plans are successful.

4 . Perseverance — Will perdure. Athletes put in incredible hours of preparation including physical, mental, and emotional training every day. When they fail to accomplish their goal, they have the priceless ability to never give up to achieve their desired result. This trait results to their becoming great leaders and provides the sustenance of team players.

5 . Passionate — Passion is what drives athletes to greatness as it guarantees total fitness, physically, emotionally, and mentally and will go the extra mile to win. They are adept at sparking innovation and excitement in others because that stimulates a team to thrive. They inspire leaders to be the best they can be and don’t balk at making disruptive changes with their organization and industries. Zealous leadership involves developing a deep connection with your purpose in business and in life to make things happen. It’s the passion that produces the biggest risks, step up to the plate, and make the biggest leaps forward with teams, companies, and organizations.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Participation in athletics prepares you to become a better leader.

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