Beating out competition, breaking limitations and making the impossible happen are things athletes train for. Here’s how to tap into their mindset to make great strides in business and life.

Making the impossible possible, doing what’s never been done before, beating strong competition and breaking through limitations are traits of the extraordinary. The question is — how do you win and thrive in a tough and competitive marketplace?

Some agents hire business coaches, some get mentored, and others get spiritual. For me, it’s mind over matter — and getting my mind right happens best in a challenging athletic environment.

I’ve been selling international real estate since 2010, starting a career in the middle of a global recession in Dubai. It was the challenge of a lifetime — a period laced with disappointment, struggle and frustration. I started athletic training in 2013 and quickly learned that nothing worth having comes easy.

Through adopting the “athlete mindset,” I learned to fall I love with the challenge, to embrace the pains as they lead to breakthroughs, and to come back better and stronger from every setback. This is as true in the business world as it is in the fitness world.

For me, no one can train you to become extraordinary at what you do better than athlete coaches. I conversed with AARMY athletes and co-founders Angela Manuel Davis and Akin Akman on how to use the athlete mindset to achieve greatness in business and life.

Both incredible athletes with stellar careers coaching a myriad of celebrities, Davis and Akman launched AARMY late last year in an effort to marry mental conditioning and personal inspiration with physical fitness.

They run a training facility in New York City and Los Angeles, both of which have garnered attention from sports, film, music and fashion heavy-hitters. And though the locations were forced to close due to COVID-19, AARMY took to Instagram to offer a digital training program to its fitness community. Here’s how this duo wins daily against all odds — and how you can, too.

What is the athlete mindset?

“Someone who will always find a way to get what they want,” Akman said. For him, an athlete will show up regardless of circumstance. Athletes are trained to never settle, to defy odds and make what seems “impossible” possible.

For Davis, the athlete mindset means consistency. “Being able to repeat the same mundane motions, over and over, knowing you are going to get better,” she said.

How do you achieve the extraordinary?

Akman believes that you build yourself so you become strong. There are no shortcuts to greatness. “You train extraordinary,” he said. “You don’t settle for the ‘easy’ to ‘feel strong’ — you go through it.”

For Davis, it starts with a decision. “By pushing through limitations, by deciding that good isn’t enough when greatness is the intention,” she said.

How do you win?

If you address what you need to work on today and really get to it, that’s winning as defined by Davis and Akman. “[Winning] is focusing on what is important now.”

How do you apply the athlete mindset to business?

Davis and Akman believe that the way to do that is by realizing that challenges and setbacks are inevitable, and by choosing to operate with perseverance and resilience.  

How do you beat the competition?

Akman isn’t afraid of competition. “I’m adaptable and creative,” he said. “I stay in my lane. I trust in my team. I get to do what I love.” 

What would be an athlete’s advice to entrepreneurs?

For Davis, it’s all about instinct. “Listen to your instincts,” she said. “Be willing to bet on yourself, and have a really solid team around you.”

Akman advised: Make sure you have a strong point of view, a solid foundation of ideals and philosophy. Then, go for it! Take it one step at a time, brick by brick. Be adaptable and be willing to be creative.”

A few words to live by

“Change your mind, change your body, change your life,” Davis explained, “Change your mind about what you think is possible for you, so that you can change your body and get strong enough in your body, so you can change your life and live the life you were created to live.”

“If nothing is fixed, everything is possible,” Akman said. 

Tamara Bakir is a global real estate advisor with Vista Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Angeles, Dubai and Miami. Connect with her on Instagram or Facebook

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Inman Connect Las Vegas Memorial Day sale – 44% off exclusively for Select subscribers!Register Now To Save×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription