Business lessons from an Olympian

By Mike Saunders

The Washington Post reported that the third-place finish marked the first time the United States has won an Olympic medal in the two-man bobsled since 1952. That is a lot of years.We all watched and rejoiced with the bobsled team and Steve Holcomb, one of the world’s top bobsled drivers, who pushed through the pain and adversity of a sudden calf injury to take his team to bronze. The thought came to mind of how easy would it have been for them to chalk up yet another defeat to adversity? After all, it had been 62 years, what’s a few more, right?

The two lessons we can learn from this success go much further than the typical persistence and diligence that you might expect. While these are great points, let’s look at a couple of different perspectives.

Lesson No. 1: Holcomb relied on teammate Steven Langton to push a little harder. “When you’re sitting in third place, you can deal with a lot more pain than you think you can,” Holcomb said.

The takeaway: Surround yourself with a great team. This could be people you work with or it a strategic business mastermind group. Consider tapping into your “mastermind alliance” to stimulate motivation and accountability.

Lesson No. 2: The Washington Post reported that at the conclusion of the race, Holcomb was again on an Olympic podium. An event volunteer handed him a victory bouquet, and the top American driver buried his nose inside and took a deep breath. “That’s kind of my thing. I always stop and smell the flowers,” he said. “You’ve got to cherish the moment.”

The takeaway: Don’t be in such a hurry that you miss out on celebrating the accomplishments along the way! This is healthy for you and keeps you focused at the task at hand. If you are always “turning and burning,” you never get to catch your breath and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In the spirit of Bob Berg’s great book “The Go-Giver,” challenge yourself to watch out for other people in your network or mastermind group and congratulate for an accomplishment. It might not even be a major award, but merely a marketing initiative they launched. This will give them a wonderful shot in the arm and could encourage you at the same time.

Take a few moments today to write down a few ideas that you can immediately implement in your business that can generate Olympic-style results.

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