10 Olympic Lessons for Your Career

 Resilience is essential. Persistence pays. But passion distinguishes you from the competition.

by Caroline Dowd-Higgins • More.com Member { View Profile }
Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name (www.carolinedowdhiggins.com)

Honor Your Body. Olympic sprinter, Yohan Blake eats 16 ripe bananas per day to keep his energy and potassium levels high. Athletes treat their bodies as temples so they can achieve Herculean physical acts the rest of us can only imagine. You only have one body and it’s never too late to start treating yourself well by eating healthy, exercising, and by getting enough sleep to ward of sickness and stress. Millions of people become debilitated due to burnout and stressful work environments. Honor your body so it can serve you well.

Play to Your Strengths. There is a reason athletes play different positions on a team — to showcase what they do well above and beyond their teammates and to serve the greater good of the team. From the server on a Volleyball team to the final leg runner in a Relay Race, each has a unique strength to move the team toward winning. Don’t focus on your weaknesses in the career world because you are not broken. Spend your time and energy sharpening your strengths for success. If you are in a role where you are not able to play to your strengths,  consider a new opportunity that will allow you to shine.

Have A Support System. Behind every athlete is a community of support from friends, family, coaches, trainers, and fans that make the work they do a reality. Rally your personal Board of Directors for career support, wisdom, and accountability check-ins. It really does take a village so don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be sure to pay-it-forward to others to keep the circle going.

Go For The Gold. For an Olympic athlete, the ultimate success is a gold medal. Give yourself permission to dream big and set high goals. You can always readjust but allowing yourself to dream BIG can be inspiring and provide an opportunity to think about an ideal career scenario that would honor your values and allow you play to your strengths. You deserve it, so design your ideal career by going for the gold!

Mark Phelps set the record for the most career medals won by any Olympian during the London 2012 Games, but his road to success has not always been smooth. Phelps experienced extremely tough times during the years between Olympic competitions when the next goal was not always clearly in sight. His mantra — “Get the dream. Get the plan. Reach for it.”  — articulates the importance of reaching big dreams by setting daily goals and working incrementally to meet those goals.

Keep the 2012 Summer Olympians in mind as you navigate your personal career journey. You will experience both the agony of defeat and the triumph of victory as you move toward your end goal. But remember to dream big, and approach the goal one step at a time. Resilience is essential and persistence pays, but in the end, passion is what distinguishes you from the competition. What will be your gold medal career moment?

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