1. You are never too old or challenged to reach that dream.
While we saw our share of young men and women, even younger girls and boys, the oldest U.S. Olympian is 54-year old equestrian Karen O’Connor. She doesn’t even come close to being the oldest for this year’s Olympics. That goes to 71-year old Hiroshi Hokestu, also an equestrian. As for being challenged, consider the South African sprint runner Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee who competed with his J-shaped prosthetics. In that same category would be Im Dong-Hyun, an archer from South Korea who is legally blind and wears nothing to correct his sight. Or even Malaysian shooter Suryani Mohamed Taibi, who participated in the Olympic games 34 weeks pregnant.
2. Be “all in” all the time.
The Badminton World Federation disqualified eight female badminton players from China, South Korea and Indonesia from the Olympic doubles competition for trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable draw. I learned that this was not the first time nor the first sport where this happened. Another example, the Japanese women’s soccer coach had his team play for a 0-0 tie with South Africa so it didn’t have to travel to Scotland where it might have to face the US. If we act from a place of service, we won’t be scheming to get ahead. We’ll just be ahead, or learn how to get there honestly.
3. Perseverance, determination and focus pay off.
Gymnastics is one of my favorites to watch and I loved watching the USA girls win the gold. When it was down to the finals, they knew they had to “stick” it and did. You see those qualities in all the athletes.
4. Protect your intellectual property.
This happened earlier this summer. Ravelry, the online knitting community, was set to hold its third Ravelympics, the timing of which coincided with the Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Committee didn’t think much of the Ravelympics and sent the 2-million member group a cease-and-desist letter stating, “We believe using the name ‘Ravelympics’ for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. It is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.” Of course, the USOC didn’t know what they were dealing with when it comes to knitters and eventually apologized for any insult and its plans to take legal action seemed to unravel. As for Ravelry, it hosted the Ravellenic Games.
5. Work in your brilliance.
In team sports, each person has a role. A good example is gymnastics. While the whole team needs to be excellent overall, each person is likely to be brilliant at one aspect, for example, the balance beam. (I marvel that someone can do a flip on that four-inch wide beam.) And, some members are good leading off the event and others ending the event. If you think back to the women’s vault, Jordyn Wieber, who had failed to qualify for the overall, led off, nailed her first vault setting up the rest of the team. In your business, look for where you can work in your brilliance and let other team members do the same.
6. Keep improving.
Olympic athletes continually push themselves to be faster, stronger, better than they’ve ever been. Look at the numbers of athletes who return to the Olympics competition again and again, bettering their results each time. This is what builds skills and confidence for us.
7. Have a good support system.
While the athletes are on their own competing in many events, off the course they do have a strong and vast support team. That includes family, friends, coaches and untold fans. And those fans don’t even have to be in the stadium. I’m sure wherever you lived, you watched the home support team of your local athlete. I remember seeing the coverage of the back-home-supporters in the gym watching 15-year-old Katie Ledecky from Bethesda win a gold medal. Look for people you can add to your support system to help keep you grounded, give you advice, cheer you on and help pick you up.
8. We are all champions.
From the influence each of the Olympians had on others around them, we all have that influence on those around us. So take time to be the champion for others.
What lessons did you see from the Olympics? Please share your thoughts below.