With the 2014 Winter Olympics half over, I reflect upon my childhood and how much I have always loved the Olympics. I became very enthralled with the Olympics at the age of 13, watching the underdog US Olympic Hockey Team win the "Miracle on Ice."
I am no stranger to competition. As a youth, I spent more than 10 years traveling all over Texas competing year round in swim meets. My Mom would drive me 45 minutes, twice each day, for swim practice in Ft Worth. And while I never made it to the Olympics, the lessons I learned will be with me for life. I believe that each of these lessons is applicable to both business and personal life successes.
- Always set stretch goals. You can't improve if you don't have goals that you measure.
- If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter but if you continuously compete with yourself, you become better!
- Surround yourself with great people. Great teammates in sports, just like in business and life, challenge you and lift you up to become a better person.
- Always have a mentor and be a mentor to others. Learn from other people's successes and failures.
- Sportsmanship is very important. People remember and respect gracious people. Look at the Canadian ski coach Justin Wadsworth, who ran down the hill to give a new ski to the Russian cross-country skier, Anton Gafarov, this past week when his ski broke. This story has been widely publicized and Justin is being lauded as truly embodying the Olympic Spirit.
- Be passionate! If you are passionate about what you are doing, you go the extra mile, you enjoy what you are doing and your passion will shine through and you will be successful.
- Dedication and hard work pay off. These Olympians didn't get where they are today without lots of practice, heartache and most likely pain. As you have heard many times, "nothing worth having in life come for free."
- If you expect others to believe in you, you must believe in yourself.
- Be courageous. Don't be afraid of failure. You can't win every time and if you are scared to lose, you will never strive for your best.
- And finally, live by the Olympic Values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.
Enjoy this final week of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and in both your work and personal life strive to be Citius, Altius, Fortius!*
* "Faster, Higher, Stronger." The Olympic Motto.
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Cheryl Smith oversees strategic marketing and research as well as IES's regional managers throughout North Carolina. She has a wide background in sales, marketing, strategic planning, public policy and executive leadership with companies such as GE, Wachovia, Armstrong World Industries and Hatteras Yachts. Cheryl has degrees from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University and is a Six Sigma Black Belt. Connect with Cheryl using her LinkedIn account.