The Olympics throughout the centuries showcase amazing athletic achievements. Watching we vividly see the positive impact focus, spirit, physical fitness and hard work can bring to our lives. And somewhat counter intuitively the Olympics demonstrate time and time again that an Olympic fail can be a powerfully positive life moment equal to and sometimes surpassing that of a win.
The path to the Olympics is fraught with challenge and celebration – and Olympic athletes have learned to embrace both. They have learned that falling down and getting back up again are hard earned and equally necessary parts of their work. The Olympics represents commitment to a huge goal. To create the possibility of that goal they each need to be willing regardless of state of health, context or level of competition, to show up, be present and do their personal best.
Olympic gold medals are rare and precious in all our lives – to achieve them in whatever our field of endeavour is, takes the same dedication and courage as Olympians demonstrate. I will never literally go 70 miles an hour head first down a bobsled track; I will many times find myself asked to say yes to a literal version of the same type of personal challenge
So what have these Olympians in the 2018 winter Olympics demonstrated that will help me in my journey to succeed in my personal Olympic life?
The Canadian pairs curling reminded me of the two sides of team – leadership and personal courage and commitment. One member of the team missed important and potentially game losing shots in the first four ends. Rather than blame or disappointment the other person in the pair responded with powerful affirmations of their belief in the team, encouraging and championing their partner with positive expressions, including to reporter; the other held in such esteem, found ways to dig deep , calm self doubt , listen to heart and body and find a gold medal performance.
Say goodbye to worrying that others will judge us or think badly of us. I notice time and again that it is the underdog that is often cheered on, celebrated and emulated for their determination. Judgments made by others are all about them. Olympians learn from falling down and find better ways to get up and stay up. Seventeen broken bones a year from the Olympics? This Canadian is a role model for guts and determination. We all need both in our own lives.
Cultivate snowboarder like friends who when you or they themselves fail : smile, Breath, embrace disappointment and stand up again proud of their effort; they hug and cheer on their competition who are having a better day, they assure each other that there is another day and are there to share in the disappointment and the wins.
The Olympic organization lives its values – potentially embarrassing costume failures at the Olympics are photo shopped out so the beautiful physical effort can be celebrated. This stands in stark contrast to the NFL Super bowl where similar costume failures lead to shaming.
Practice the speeches you will give when things don’t go the way you tried for -because listening to as well as saying them make the failure to gold medal a piece of your growth not the dark rabbit hole of despair or trauma. Olympians when asked what happened say “I did my best, I can do better, the day was not mine to have, and I will work harder, smarter to get to the podium”. They also express gratitude for those who have coached them, loved and encouraged them and been there through thick and thin. Positive self talk and gratitude- Olympic training tools.
Don’t give up. Get back in the game and be who you know you can be. Life often, likes the Olympics gives you practice runs and next times. Don’t make one try, one spectacular failure or win your defining moment. Make gold from both.
I am grateful that the Olympics endure as their lessons are ones that help me discover more paths to my best self.