In the world of professional sports and business, success takes on various forms, but the pursuit of victory is a common thread that binds them together.

As kids, we often aspire to emulate our TV, theater, or digital idols. We seek to follow in their footsteps, adopting best practices and even asking our parents to facilitate our journeys through “games” or coaching.

My journey began in our own community at what’s now known as Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. Raised in a military family and educated at Princess Anne High School and Old Dominion University, I achieved a dream draft into Major League Baseball by the St. Louis Cardinals. Now, as the CEO of Norfolk-based Valor Cybersecurity, I attribute my success to the synergy between two critical facets of my life: athletics and business.

Professional athletes and entrepreneurs alike dedicate countless hours to hone their skills and prepare relentlessly for their respective “games.” Athletes train rigorously for competition, while entrepreneurs work tirelessly to establish their businesses and enter the market. In both arenas, the path to success involves trial and error, learning from mistakes and persistently pushing forward.

The transition from a professional athletic career to a new venture can be daunting. Many athletes struggle with leaving behind the sport that has defined their lives for decades.

Uncertainty about what comes next, a deep passion for the game, or simply the fear of change can make this transition challenging. However, there is hope in a second career, and entrepreneurship surprisingly aligns well with the world of sports.

Failure is a common element in both business and sports. Sports teams face losses regularly, while entrepreneurs encounter setbacks and obstacles on their journey.

Embracing failure as a valuable learning tool and finding motivation in setbacks are essential aspects of personal growth. The legendary Michael Jordan, often regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, missed numerous shots, endured losses, and took seven seasons to win his first championship. Yet, his relentless pursuit of excellence propelled him to the pinnacle of success.

Leadership is another area where business and sports intersect. Effective leaders in both realms share the ability to articulate their vision and foster a culture of teamwork within their organizations. Building a strong team culture is indispensable, whether in a company, a sports team, or any community.

The journey of starting a business mirrors the developmental stages of a child. It starts with the basics and gradually progresses to more complex tasks. Just as a child learns to crawl, stand, walk, and talk, entrepreneurs start with fundamental skills and gradually improve, gaining speed and accuracy as they go. Business, like sports, involves numerous attempts and practice to refine one’s skills.

The power of positive thinking and self-encouragement is a common theme in both athletics and business. Overcoming challenges and pushing oneself beyond limits builds mental resilience, whether it’s during a tough workout or facing adversity in business. How individuals respond to hardships ultimately shapes their character and success.

Becoming a professional athlete or achieving success in business doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time, effort, planning, teamwork, and the willingness to embrace both failure and success. With the right mindset, a strong work ethic, and a supportive community, you can turn any chosen field into your arena of triumph.

Greg Tomchick, a Virginia Beach native, is the CEO of Valor Cybersecurity, which is based in downtown Norfolk.