Lou Cysewski, EO Seattle, is co-founder and CEO of Coolperx, the world’s first net carbon neutral merchandising company. As a minority female entrepreneur, Lou shared her observations on the Olympics and how they reflected and exposed the struggles of female entrepreneurs striving to build sustainable businesses. With the 2022 Winter Olympics upon us, we’re reposting this article that originally appeared on EO’s Inc.com channel.
The 2020 Summer Olympic games (which took place in Tokyo in 2021), were my 10-year-old daughter’s first real exposure to competitive sports. She’d watch and ask, in her sweet innocence, “Why are the Americans teasing the other team with the ball? Why don’t they throw it? I don’t like that!”
Her observations alerted me to ways in which we see and experience competition throughout our lives. I noticed many similarities between the athletes’ experiences prior to and during competition and my own journey over the past four years as a minority, female entrepreneur.
Here are three observations I made about how the Olympics are similar to entrepreneurship:
Courage is required.
I care deeply about the environmental impact of my industry, which led me to gather carbon emissions data on all consumer goods. I knew I couldn’t hold this data for just my clients. This was important information to share with the world, as we slowly but surely shift to more sustainable ways of working and living. But I was uncertain about presenting it publicly. The little voice inside my head, the one that questioned whether people would work for me, buy from me, and follow my lead at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey gave me pause about my company’s important contribution to stopping and reversing climate change.