Learn from our competitive heroes for success at work!

“It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.”
Alabama head coach, Bear Bryant

Well, that’s the World Athletics over and what an event it was! Once again London saw a rollercoaster of highs and lows in the sporting world and we managed to scrape our target of 6 medals – so well done Team GB! :0)

I think half the country may have gone hoarse cheering Mo Farah on in his last race track event  – just a shame he didn’t get the gold for the 5000m – but you can’t turn your nose up at a silver medal!

Whenever I see these majestic athletes competing for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals – I admire their tenacity and dedication to achieving their dream. Not only do I feel like a couch potato, but  I envy their focus on their end goal – for which they have an unfailing perseverance and endurance to win.

It must be a strange feeling when they decide to move onto something else and hang up their running shoes….

So what can we learn from our competitive heroes?

And how can we make use of this in the workplace – their work ethic is certainly one we should aspire to. It sounds simple, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the basics….what are our end goals in our job role. What do our employers need us for, how do we benefit the business, and how can make sure we deliver?

Once we remind ourselves of these points – we can review /create a plan and put it into action to make sure we reach these and exceed our goals. Let’s look at the common traits that professional athletes have, that we aim to emulate ourselves in our professional lives….and of course personal lives to be successful.

Characteristics of great athletes to emulate in the workplace

  • Drive and ambition to go to the next level.
  • Resilience when it comes to handling loss or injury.
  • Work ethic as they endure and even enjoy the daily grind.
  • Problem-solving skills as they overcome adversity or obstacles.
  • Emotional Intelligence as they navigate relationships with teammates.

Life lessons we can learn from athletes:

1) Hard work now makes it easier later
Any athlete will tell you that there is no way around hard work. If you skimp on your workouts, you cheat yourself on race day.
Focused efforts in any area will give you future life rewards. Those with a strong work ethic often succeed where others fail.

2) Performance isn’t dependent on outside forces, but inside perseverance
Life throws us unpleasant circumstances. To become successful, you can’t run away when situations get hard. If you keep your inner fire fueled with positivity and focused determination, you will weather any storm and become better for it.

3) Positive thinking is key
Think positive and reject your limitations. Athletes use visualisation techniques before they compete to blow away limiting thoughts. Instead of focusing on failures, they see themselves succeeding. What they believe, they then achieve.

No matter what, don’t put yourself into a category. You may think you will never be as fast or as strong as others, but give it time. Learn to reject the limits life has taught you and dream bigger. Start to see yourself as your ideal inner athlete. Soon, they will be staring back at you from the mirror.

4) Setbacks happen, but defeat is a choice
In life, setbacks happen. You may lose your job, face a health crisis or find yourself settling instead of living your deeper dreams. These bumps in the road will only defeat you if you let them. Choose to keep going, and you will never experience failure.

5) Don’t be a hermit
In life, we often need an outside perspective as well. Many times, we are too close to the goal. It’s important to be open to what other successful people/managers can teach you and not resist sound advice. A little humility and a listening ear go a long way toward making you better in any discipline.

6) Big dreams need focused plans
Most athletes don’t randomly work out. They know that strategic workouts equal better results. They have a plan to target weak areas and improve on strengths.

If you have a big life goal, like starting a business, paying off debt or bringing a new idea to life, you have to put a plan in place to ensure success. Think about it like climbing a mountain. Plan for each little step of the journey. Eventually, you’ve met your goal and are enjoying the view. No one gets to the top of any mountain in one big jump – unless they’re superman.

7) Run from the stagnant life – even dead fish move with the current! dead fish float
If you notice that you are simply gliding along wherever the current takes you in life, it’s time to wake up. Anyone can go with the flow. Even dead fish move with the current. Every choice to do nothing is a step closer to dead-fish status. The tough fish swim against the current and go places others never dreamed!

8) Comfort is sweeter when earned
You will find that success tastes much sweeter when you get there on your own. Don’t go through life looking for handouts. You have everything necessary to win your own battles. Your success is 100% within your own control.

9) Embrace change
Change is inevitable in life. Many people resist it. However, those who adapt and embrace new possibilities find happiness.

10) Seek progress over perfection
Everyone has their own journey. Too many times, I got frustrated that someone else was farther along the path. I would look to that magic moment when I could run a mile in a certain time.

Now, my goals have changed. I no longer want to be better than others; I want to be better than the person I used to be yesterday. When you are always looking to the distant future, you have an unpleasant present. Don’t get so caught up in the person you want to be someday that you don’t appreciate where you are now.

So many people live life in the future tense. They believe that when they achieve goal “X” they will be happy. That’s a hard way to go through life. Learn to be happy during the process – not only at the end of it.

11) Not all pain is bad, but don’t forget to listen
You’d be surprised how many people recklessly grind themselves into the ground in their jobs, lives and relationships. If life is running you instead of the other way around, start taking control. However, don’t shy away from hard work either. Find that balance.

12) Learn to forgive yourself and move on
Dealing with failure is an important factor too. No matter how far you’ve fallen, you can get back to your glory days – you can always begin fresh again.
Everyone messes up. While we may wish we had a time capsule that allowed us to redo some of our choices, it isn’t healthy to remain stuck in the past. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t repeat them, but don’t reenact them in a tortuous cycle either. Learn to forgive yourself and move on.

13) Surround yourself with success
Try to surround yourself with winners at the game of life. Some people feel uncomfortable if they aren’t the richest, strongest or most intelligent person in the room. They also thrive on bringing others down to feel more secure. This isn’t the way to grow; it’s the path to atrophy. Always make sure those closest to you inspire you to become better by their example.

14) Recognise your excuses and crush them
Learn to recognize your defenses for defeatism. When you discover your underlying fears and address them, you can eliminate your excuses. If you truly want to do something, you will find a way while everyone else keeps a white-knuckled death gripe on the reasons why they can’t.

15) Live outside of your comfort zone
Doing anything legendary takes risk. All of the biggest inventions, companies and success stories started when someone stepped away from routine to become revolutionary. So don’t wait another minute. Find something that terrifies and inspires you – and then go do it!

Growing leaders
Keep inspiring
The Guardian



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