Last Updated 04 Jul 2021

The Big Lesson Business Owners Can Learn From Rocky Balboa

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Sounds like wise words spoken by a billionaire business mogul, right? Actually, it’s a quote from Rocky Balboa, the gritty, tough-as-nails boxer portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone in seven Rocky movies.

Turns out, the first Rocky movie made its theatrical debut 40 years ago today here in New York City. A down-on-his-luck fighter from the slums of Philadelphia who becomes World Heavyweight Champion, Rocky Balboa always was the ultimate example of how anyone can overcome obstacles with hard work, determination and passion.

Can you hear “Eye of the Tiger” playing in your head yet? I sure can.

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Hard work, determination and passion transcend the boxing ring. They are attributes any entrepreneur would be better off having. But don’t take my word for it. Multi-millionaire fashion mogul and Shark Tank investor Daymond John thinks so, too.

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In his book, (Crown Business, 2016), John talks about how any aspiring business owner can take a lesson or two from Rocky. Specifically, John points to Rocky’s desire and desperation to be the best, and how entrepreneurs need to harness their own hunger for success. It gives you an edge.

In the book, John talks about how in Rocky III (1983), Balboa received an “ass-whupping” from Mr. T’s character Clubber Lang. It wasn’t because Rocky wasn’t a better fighter. After becoming champion, Rocky relaxed and “took his eye off the prize.” In other words, he lost the passion and hunger to get the best that made him the best. He lost his edge.

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“The same goes in business,” John writes. “When you want it, when you need it, you find a way to make good things happen. When you expect it, when you feel entitled to it, you might be headed for an ass-whupping.”

Can you see yourself as Rocky, training, running up the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Get up! Keep moving forward.

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