I started this entry 2 weeks ago, during the first days of the Olympics. Time passed & tugging guilt remained for not having made the time to finish it…turns out maybe I need to bookmark my own thoughts on what we can learn from Olympians. Read on & see what you think!
Competition Means Constant Improvement…Forever.
In the spirit of the Olympics, I can’t help but feel a little inspired by the greatest athletes in the world coming together for the toughest competitions in each of their sports. What can we, as leaders, learn from Olympians? Here are some of the top qualities that come to mind:
Discipline: To me this is the most impressive quality of this caliber of athlete. These tremendous athletes & their families sacrifice so much to get them to where they can compete at this level. Obviously the physical discipline to exercise, train, eat properly,sleep, recover, etc are evident. What about the discipline to get up early, train long hours without quitting & make choices that enable them to stay “on track”?
Think about the families, who often have to make crucial choices, commitments…to practice financial discipline…to save & plan to come up with the resources necessary to get the best coaches & training opportunities for their Olympian. To give up their own needs & wants to help fulfill the dreams of their loved one…that is something.
Perseverance: Haven’t we all wanted to quit? Every Olympian seems to talk about this, in a very matter-of-fact manner. To me, this quality is a double-sided admirable trait. On the first side, the sheer will to overcome challenge is admirable & aspirational. On the other side, the honesty & candid nature makes me admire & respect them even more. Admitting your moments of weakness in an articulate manner, in front of millions of people takes talent.
High Standards & Ownership: This only-the-best-is-good-enough mentality is contagious…like a tonic for success. Not settling for imperfections, trying to always do your best…no matter what. That is the core of any good leader. Even when these athletes don’t deliver #1, what you hear is that they tried their best, they will keep working, & usually acknowledging the superior performance of the winner. Wow. Let’s all emulate the articulation of this sentiment of respect.
Character: Overcoming Adversity: I can’t hide it. My favorite stories are the ones that bring a tear to my eye or cause me to call out to my husband, “Can you believe this?!” Many of these World-Class Athletes have overcome hardship I cannot imagine…yet accomplished things out of my personal reach. Again, WOW. What is it that sets them apart? I believe it is their ability to overcome adversity. The drivers vary between individuals but much of it boils down to sheer character. And that is a character I want to emulate.
Attitude: Failures lead to success. This is not a new concept if you read these types of writings. Sacrifice & Failure are both merely stepping-stones to the place most of us want to be: Success. And there is no route that avoids these roadblocks….they are actually the rights of passage. The only question is what happens when each person confronts these challenges. Olympians have the ability to maintain the right attitude to persevere to be successful NO MATTER WHAT. Attitude takes work, discipline, perseverance & character.
In other words, these leadership qualities to be the best winners in the world are interconnected…perhaps the ability to execute all at once is what sets them apart.
Wow. More World Records. Bigger Better Accomplishments. Who else is motivated to become the “Olympian” in their field? Four more years to take these examples until the next round of world class athletes appear to give us that special motivational tonic! Who is going to bottle it? See you in Rio, Baby