Hello SOTGC community,
The 2016 Rio Olympics is in full swing, and there’s nothing like a colorful, musical opening celebration to kick it off right! And Brazil knows how to throw a party! Samba ruled for the night, welcoming countries far and wide with their colorful team uniforms, individuals who trained diligently to get there. With the musical spectacle and the winning pride gleaming from the faces of the Team USA athletes, it got me thinking about “winning moments” in our careers and how we can bring that feeling of pride to our jobs and our team environments on a daily basis.
Whether these athletes win gold, silver or bronze medals at the games – or go home without a medal, they made it to the Olympics – a symbol of excellence, achievement and their dreams coming true – just getting to the Olympics is in and of itself a winning moment. So how can we bring winning moments like these into our business endeavors on a daily basis? What lessons can we learn from these amazing Olympic athletes?
Set Goals, Visualize the Prize and Find Winning Moments to Celebrate!
The athletes competing at the 2016 Olympics didn’t get there by chance. They found something they loved and excelled at, and they went for it with hard work, determination and drive – and they didn’t give up. In addition, they worked with partners to help them achieve the goals they set. Choosing excellent specialty coaches, nutritionists and trainers along with building a winning team partnership from start to finish is all part of an Olympian’s road to success. An Olympian doesn’t pick up a sport and end up at the Olympics the next year. They build their skills over time and then set achievable goals along the way – from local wins, to State wins to National wins – and then onto the Olympics.
We can all do this in our careers, but you have to start small. When setting goals, find excellent partners, business mentors and colleagues, who will encourage you to win. Set an overarching final goal, but break it down into achievable chunks that you can win at as you work towards the big goal. Winning helps drive us to win again, so taking a larger goal and segmenting it into smaller individual goals will bring you a feeling of pride and success, and you will be much more inspired to keep going and not give up.
It is also important for you and your team to visualize the prize you are setting out to win. Olympians set their vision on winning the gold medal and knowing how amazing they are going to feel when they are honored on the podium, representing their family, team and country – and the celebration that follows. As an inspiration, some even close their eyes to visualize the win, and we can also do this as we visualize specific success benchmarks in our careers.
Remember, success doesn’t come easy. In his youth, my dad was ranked as the top butterfly swimmer in the United States – it didn’t come easy. Something he always told me was, “Suzy, what are you willing to give up to achieve your goals and your dreams?” I’ve always remembered that – nothing worthwhile comes easy, but if you love it, it isn’t work after all, but some days are more challenging than others. My dad loved swimming so much that he wanted to be the first person in the pool each morning before school to make the first wake in the water. Passion for what you do combined with proper training, diligence and stick-to-it-iveness builds a champion. We can all be champions, so don’t give up!
Take a Moment to Share Winning Moments Socially!
The athletes, who took part in the opening ceremony, had something else in common. They wanted to document and celebrate the moment with pictures, Snapchats, Tweets, facebook posts, interviews and conversations because it represents a culmination of hard work, determination and drive that got them there – a winning moment. It is a memorable time in their athletic history, and sharing the winning moment socially amongst family, friends and teammates is fun and makes the experience live on – and it connects them with each other and their fans.
Keep this in mind, when you or your teams achieve goals. Make the moment memorable – celebrate it – give them something to look forward to. Create special celebration times and documentary moments with your team for both small and large wins. Utilize all that is available to you socially to promote this kind of team excitement around winning moments.
You may already be doing some of this, but I challenge you to expand your mind in this area – brainstorm additional ways that you can create winning moments, document them and get your team involved. Ask your internal communications team and human resources team what they might have available as methods to share wins with other departments and the rest of the organization. In addition, ask your team what drives them, what kinds of social media they like to utilize and what inspires them to win – asking for input creates a team environment and builds productive connections. We all need to find things that excite us in the workplace, keep us going and working smarter to achieve the goal. Sharing wins inspires us and makes the workplace a happier, more productive place to be.
Represent Your Team With Pride and Appreciate the Hard Work that got You There!
There is something about watching Team USA and the pride and gratitude you can see in their eyes, as they took part in the opening ceremony and compete in their area of excellence. It makes us want to cheer and support them and our country, and it’s exciting to watch! When we illuminate the pride we have in what we do and our accomplishments, with gratitude and a healthy appreciation of the game, it inspires the whole team – and inspires other teams, and on and on.
Regardless of what career stage you are in, or the up’s and down’s that might come your way, remember to take pride in what you do and your work product. I also suggest creating a weekly gratitude journal to remind yourself of all the things you are thankful for. There are countless stories of athletes struggling along the way – the whole “agony of defeat” concept that we see over and over again during the games – it can be heartbreaking to watch. But do these athletes give up? Do they stop being part of the team and taking pride in how far they have come to even get to the Olympics? No – they don’t. The encourage each other – they take pride in the whole team, utilize their training, and many of them come back to compete again, and often win.
So take a lesson from these amazing Olympians. Set goals, visualize the prize and find winning moments – create excitement around winning moments and share them socially – take pride in your work product, be thankful for all you have learned along the way – create a weekly gratitude journal and take a look back to appreciate the hard work and training that got you where you are in the first place. And if you fall down, dust yourself off, cheer on your team, look to additional resources and training if necessary and start again. Make your own winning moments happen. You’ve got this!