5 Business Lessons For Women from Mohammad Ali

Hanna Fitz- Brand Strategist and Online Business Coach

women in business

Widely regarded as not one of the greatest boxing legend of all time, Mohammad Ali made an impact on the world through impressive sportsmanship, wit and his unwavering stance for what he believed in the face of adversity. He was stripped of his title, banned from the sport he loved but never wavered.

What has remained remarkable about Ali was his ability to prophecy things into his life. He had a quick tongue and was very confident bordering on corky; he had the courage to believe in himself and boldly declared it to the world!

He built his brand around greatness and being great, and got the world to believe him and declare it too. I believe every woman in business can learn from this legend in these five lessons:


# 1 Combine Elegant with Power

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

Mohammed Ali was known for his elegant and graceful movement in the ring, yet his punches had power and would knock his opponents out.

I believe in business, you need to display elegance and grace. There must be a good balance between vulnerability and power.

You don’t have to be masculine to be powerful. Power can be displayed in your skills, competence and confidence. That, mixed with a feminine air of ease and elegance can be such powerful display of greatness.

Being vulnerable does not make you weak, in fact, it is what makes you a woman, nurturing and sensitive issues while still displaying character and strength.


#2 Declare your greatness

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

In my book I AM THE GATEKEEPER, I talk about giving yourself permission to say that you are great which is accompanied by an affirmation. Ali knew the power of affirmations and said he was great until he became great.

Often we are afraid of sounding arrogant or coming off as over confident, but how much more often do you criticize yourself and not acknowledge your unique skills and talents that make you great.

It is OK to acknowledge that you are good at this, “really good at this”. It is OK to declare yourself the greatest at what you do so that you have a personal benchmark of the standard you want to achieve, and the legacy you want to leave behind.

Mohammad Ali was not arrogant, he understood the power of intention, the power of declaring it as if it already is, so that it can become.

He said, “I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” He taught us that if you belief in yourself first, the world will believe in you.


#3 See the impossible as a DARE

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.

Everything is impossible until it is done. Mohammad Ali believed that if you want to live a life greater than the one you were born into, you have to be willing to explore and use the power you have to change it.

When someone says something is impossible, it is just an opinion! Often we are anchoring in on past experiences and what has been done before, to decide what is possible.

You have to be willing to be visionary and see what is possible beyond what exist. You have to be willing to trust inspired thoughts and take action on it with conviction.

This was the greatness of men like Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb and Thomas Saint the inventor of the sewing machine. Things were possible one way and they took it to the next level and created a new possibility that we can all enjoy.


#4 Do It Anyway 

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

In pursuing your purpose, there will be tasks that you have to undertake that you won’t like to do, but is necessary to get to where you want to go.

Mohammad Ali knew that to be the greatest boxer of all time, he needed to train and perhaps train more than most, so though he said he didn’t like training not a single minute of it, he knew this was the bridge between where he was and where he wanted to go and imposed it on his self.

I heard Mel Robbins in a Tedx talk say that you have to parent yourself and force yourself. You won’t always be super driven and passionate, but are your dreams worth the pain of the tasks need to get what you want?


#5  Embrace your fear as a driving force

“We can’t be brave without fear.”

Fear has kept millions of people from achieving their dreams. The fear of failure, judgement, being seen or getting hurt. The difference between people who achieve great things and other people, is that they feel the fear and do it anyway.

Mohammad Ali said being brave is a bi-product of fear. It is when we challenge ourselves to rise above and become more curious to see what lies behind our fear rather than sit in the shadow of it, we get the drive needed to move ahead.

Let your fears drive you, challenge you and propel you to new heights.

Greatness is not achieved by great men, it is achieved by men who believe they are great, challenged the status quo and despite opposition or fear, pushed themselves to achieve the things they saw possible. In the process, they are able to change the landscape of their industry and the world around them.

Whatever your unique gift or talent may be, declare the outcome you desire and work steadfastly to achieve your own greatness.


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