Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lessons from our athletes

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica celebrates winning the gold in the
Women's 100m Final on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Europe)
Like many of us, I’ve been watching the Olympics and learning many key business lessons from the athletes’ determination and winning attitudes.

Take the way that Jamaica consistently produces some of the fastest runners in the world.
In a recent documentary on this phenomena, it was interesting to learn how Jamaica focuses intently on grooming young people to become athletes, and not just any old athletes,  but successful ones.  They actively encourage children to run and to run fast. Little wonder they have such amazing athletes and they are hungry to win.

Makes you wonder what would happen if we took that same laser sharp focus to grow our businesses?   If we focused all our energy in making it happen, maybe success would be just around the corner. But sometimes that means taking a risk, getting out of our comfort zone.

Continuing the sports analogy, it’s like any exercise you do for the first time, you use a new muscle so it hurts at first but as it stretches and expands you soon find yourself able to do more.  Maybe we need to flex our risk muscles.

One of my friends recently put herself out there.  She decided to do her first triathalon -   which involved swimming, running and cycling. Being weaker at cycling, she focused most of her training on that, as she’d been an accomplished swimmer growing up and felt confident in her abilities there. 

The results?  She came in 10th overall.  When she checked her individual results she was surprised to learn that she did her best in the cycling where she’d focused her energies, and not so well in the swimming, which she’d assumed she’d be strong and that it was a done deal.

All of which goes to show, that when we focus and make our intent known, we achieve our goals, but when we are more complacent,  based previous triumphs, we can trick ourselves and the outcome is not as positive as we expected.

And sometimes, like the players on the Canadian Women’s soccer team, you have to put the bad stuff behind you, and focus on the future wins, because when we bring baggage with us, it can weigh us down.

When we are determined to be the best in our field, and we focus -  who knows, we could become champions too.

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