I am so stoked that it is time for the Olympics once again! I have always loved the parallels between sports and business. When I train sales people, I often use sports analogies, and metaphors to drive my point home. As an entrepreneur, I know that it requires dedication and constant practice to really play in the big leagues, not unlike training to be a competitive athlete. Bottom line, when it comes to seizing your moment in sales, business or even life in general, The Olympics can be a hotbed of inspiration.
Let’s face it, in virtually every field of work, if we are lucky, we are given one big opportunity to shine. Sometimes this opportunity is landing a big account, winning the Super Bowl or getting the funding that you needed to grow your start up. Or maybe it means beating your own time as well as dozens of the greatest athletes in the world in order to win a gold medal, or landing an audition for the role of a lifetime or perhaps it is an unexpected phone call that could forever change your life for the better…but only if you are ready.
So what does it mean exactly to be ready? Some of us will never operate at the level that it really takes to take advantage of the opportunities given to us. One of my favorite Oprah quotes is, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Think what you will about Oprah, but no one can dispute her relentless work ethic. I want to use Katie Ledecky, the recent Olympic gold medalist of the 400-meter freestyle as an example of what I am talking about. Some of you may remember her from 2012, she unexpectedly won the gold medal for the 800-meter freestyle in the Summer Olympics that year. It was the second fastest performance, ever! Did I mention she was only 15 when that happened? Even though we hadn’t heard about her until her “moment”, she had been swimming competitively since the age of six. She has been breaking world records and winning medals in events ever since.
In the swimming world, Katie’s “big moment” is the Olympics. Most recently, she broke her own World Record by nearly two seconds, winning her second Olympic gold medal. Britain’s Jazz Carlin, who came in second place, was almost 5 seconds behind. Katie trained and competed for nine years to win her first Olympic gold medal, and 13 years to gain her second. Think about that for a second when you are frustrated that your 6 month old sales gig isn’t yielding you $500k per year yet.
So what is my point, you may ask? The point is, that training, practicing or educating yourself constantly and diligently is the only thing that can prepare you for that big sale, or that big game or that big audition…you can’t just show up and think things will just happen because you want it to. You must be in action towards your big goals, long before those big goals can come to fruition. So whatever your game, get serious about it. Hone your craft, be unique and awesome at what you do. Take action, always, towards your goals, quit friggin’ talking about it or strategizing about it and dive in the pool and swim your laps!
So be sure to tune into the Olympics this week, and marvel at the unbelievable level of competition in which these athletes operate. I hope you find as much inspiration as I know I will!
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Also published on Medium.