Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Leadership Lessons From the Olympics

I enjoyed watching the 2012 Olympic games in London this summer.  Why are we so interested in the Olympic games? We love to watch winners.  As I watched the athletes and heard their stories, I found four things that every winner had in common. All four of these characteristics are applicable to every area of life; not just sports.  If you really want to excel, if you want to be winner;  it requires these four qualities.

I. Passion
As I watched interviews of the different athletes during the Olympics, there was one thing they all had in common: Their passion to win.  They had a passion to do their best, to achieve.

What are you passionate about?  What is it that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and run to win.  The reality is most people live mediocre lives.  They don’t run to win.  They trot to retire.  That’s a wasted life.  If you want to make your life count, run the race to win.  Run it with passion.

2. Purpose
Every athlete had a goal.  All of them had one common goal - to win gold.  But each one had individual goals as well, to be the fastest, strongest, or best in their particular event.  Unfortunately most people today are just playing around in life with no goal.  If most people drove their cars the way they planned their lives they’d never get out of the driveway.  What is your purpose?  What are you shooting for in life?  If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.

3. Preparation
As I watched the biographical stories of the athletes I noticed that all of them paid a price to be where they were.  Their preparation was intense.  They made huge  sacrifices in order to get to the Olympics.

The reason that success alludes so many people is because they are not willing to prepare, to pay the price.  The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.  Successful people understand that it takes preparation and discipline.  We want well built bodies without well planned diet and exercise.  We want wealth without work.  We want success without sacrifice. It doesn’t happen that way.  It takes a great deal of preparation to be the best at something.

4. Perseverance.
Every athlete had times they wanted to quit but did not.  Great people are ordinary people who don’t know how to quit.  Most people give up too soon.  In the race of life you’re going to have times when you stumble, when you fall, when you feel beaten, battered, and bruised.  Everyone has times when all they want to do is get out of the race.  Winners never quit.

In the 1924 Olympics, all eyes were on runner Eric Liddell.  In the 400 meter race he was favored to win.  As he began to break for the lead he got tangled with another runner and he crashed to the infield grass.  As he looked up at the pack of disappearing runners he felt the defeat, the pain, the anguish of having gone down.  Nevertheless, he got up, caught up, and still won the race.  Why?  Because he didn’t quit in spite of falling.

Four Qualities of Winners:  Passion-Purpose-Preparation-Perseverance

Go for the Gold!