Hello SOTGC Community,
Now that the 2016 Rio Olympics are officially over, the athletes are heading home and we are all getting back to our regularly scheduled programming, I thought it would be valuable to take a few minutes to evaluate how we can apply their achievements to our careers. Watching the “thrill of victory” for some and the “agony of defeat” for others got me thinking about their brand story. What personal brand consistencies did these athletes inspire within themselves that got them to the Olympics in the first place?
The Training Stage: Establishing Consistent Behaviors
The training stage for an athlete is key. This is the time they spend building their skills and establishing consistencies in their physical and mental training, nutrition and the execution of their athletic performance. This is the process that builds the personal brand of each Olympian, a brand that stays with them throughout their career – one that creates their athletic brand character.
Think about your favorite Olympic athlete – whether they are a swimmer, gymnast, runner, tennis player, golfer, beach volleyball star, diver or any of the other sports showcased at the games. No matter what sport they might play, all athletes have a training program, and it is imperative that they stick with the program consistently. From finding the right coach, to weight training in order to keep their bodies in top physical shape, to visiting nutritionists, physical therapists and even some alternative therapists to perform techniques such as “cupping” that we learned about this year from Team USA swimmer Michael Phelps during the games. This technique is used to help increase the recovery process between workouts and increase muscle mobility. (source – USA Today: http://usat.ly/2ayw9Nv)
In addition, some sports such as gymnastics require that the athlete work with creative teams to help them develop their program choreography. Olympic athletes pair themselves with the training, experts and teams needed to be successful. True winners add an additional ingredient – they do all of these things consistently. Successful athletes practice their programs and sport over and over again. And consistencies over time help drive success and a higher probability of wins for them, which ultimately could lead to participation in the Olympic games.
What kind of consistent behaviors can we bring to our own brand that will launch our career to greatness and make us winners in our professional and personal lives? Think about how you can apply some athletic training strategies to your career and your brand.
Do you have daily rituals you perform in preparation of your day and as part of your weekly routine? If not, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Prepare for the challenges of the day and come mentally prepared by doing what works for you – maybe it’s making lists, utilizing organizational tools and systems, choosing inspirational weekly/daily quotes that inspire you, keeping a gratitude journal, attending career development seminars, webinars and events, whatever helps keep you centered;
- Set goals for the day, the week and month for yourself, your team and your projects – and evaluate if you are achieving them along the way, making adjustments to your tactics if necessary;
- Take some time out to exercise and get your blood and endorphins flowing – take a walk at lunch or before/after work, hit the gym, join a fun exercise class, take up a team sport or try some breathing and relaxation techniques;
- Utilize any reporting information or data available and ask the proper questions before attending a meeting or presentation in order to have full understanding of a project work flow or situation;
- Be an active leader or participant in meetings and team projects – as Sheryl Sandberg said “Lean In”;
- Get involved in your community and volunteer in your spare time if that is important to you in order to add an element of giving back and joy to your life.
I challenge all of us to be known as someone, who comes prepared with the proper training and is consistent in our work ethic and product output on a daily basis – and someone who brings enthusiasm, a team focus and a positive attitude to our daily training rituals.
The Prep Stage: Practicing and Stretching Before the Game
Once the athletes have done the work and made it to the competition, it’s time for the final prep before they showcase their achievements and all the hard work that got them there. This requires experiencing the new sporting venue before the actual competition during practice sessions, working their daily plan and getting their mental game ready for the performance with meditation, balance and other techniques.
Before you have a big meeting or presentation, you can utilize some of these lessons. Is there a way you can access the venue (meeting room, presentation area, stage area, etc.) before you actually present? If so, you can find out if you can practice there to get a better feel for the space. Find out in advance what kind of technologies are available to you and do a test run if possible, and make sure you have the contact information of the tech person in case there are any technological difficulties.
On the day or night before your presentation, make sure to set aside time to mentally prepare with meditation, inspirational reading, yoga or your daily exercise ritual. If you don’t have time for a full exercise class or aren’t familiar with meditation, you can utilize some easy-to-download guided meditation or yoga relaxation apps that you can try.
In addition, make a practice of being your own personal cheerleader. Pep yourself up for the presentation, meeting or sales pitch. Remind yourself of your training and how you have prepared, even if you don’t feel that way in the moment. Try making a list of all the training that got you to this moment and get rid of any negative feelings of doubt or failure. Visualize yourself doing an awesome job and scoring a win in your meeting, presentation or new business venture. You can make it happen – you can succeed and win – remind yourself that you can do this! Cheer yourself on to your own victory!
Game Time: Executing on the Plan and Giving Your Best Personal Performance – Go!
So once you’ve established consistencies in your training, practice and mental preparation, it’s time to implement your plan. When athletes perform at the Olympics or any of the competitions getting there, it’s their shot at a medal – it’s the time for them to bring their many years of training along with mental fortitude to execute their best personal performance.
We all need to take this attitude when it’s time for us to give a presentation, sales pitch, lead a meeting or start a new business venture or partnership. Be confident in the training you’ve received, properly prep for it and then go for it! Give your personal best! And at the end of the day if you experience an unforeseen fall (disappointment in your presentation or performance – or another team or company winning the business over you), take an example from runners Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) and Abbey D’Agostino (Team USA) – if you fall down, get up, be a good sportsman helping others and encouraging each other to finish the race!
Afterwards, take note of how you could make improvements, apply what you’ve learned, gather new tools and start your training again. Then next time, you’ll ace it! So, as the 2016 Olympics become a memory, let’s allow what we’ve learned from these inspiring athletes to live on – train consistently, prep effectively and be your own cheerleader, giving your best performance and bringing your own winning talent to the forefront of all of your professional and personal endeavors. Until next time – Let’s Go Team – You’ve Got This!