Lessons Learned From The 2010 Olympics

As a Canadian I was very proud of the 2010 Olympics held in Vancouver. Our athletes earned more medals, and particularly gold, than any time in our history. The city of Vancouver, province of British Columbia and the country were terrific hosts that showed incredibly well on the international stage.

I was constantly impacted by lessons during these Olympics. The athletes, the support teams, the volunteers and the fans personified these lessons. As anyone who knows me is aware, I relate pretty much everything to business so it is no surprise that I translated many of these lessons from the world of athletic competition to the world of business.

I think we seldom learn new lessons. This does happen, just in case someone reading this thinks I am arrogant enough to believe I know everything, and when it does I consider it a gift. But most lessons are reminders of things we have already learned but have either forgotten or just dropped from our daily consciousness. The following are just some of the bigger lessons delivered to me during the Olympics.

Celebrate your wins!

It is important to celebrate our successes. It’s important for the team as well as the spectators. Celebrating success remind everyone on the team of why it is we do what we do. It reminds us that there is a purpose.

Celebration is also good for the psyche. It lifts our spirits both individually and as part of the team.

It takes a Team!

No one achieves anything of importance on his or her own. Even in individual sports, successful athletes have a great team making their success possible. There are trainers, coaches, equipment techs, psychologists and yes, even managers, to name just a few. Then there is the family. The Mom and Dad who got up in the middle of the night and drove to practice or where home keeping things running so that young athlete wad the opportunity to develop. As with any acknowledgement list, this is obviously not complete. These are just the team members who jumped to mind for me.

The important thing is to realize that to succeed in anything you have to be surrounded by the best people possible. To achieve great things, build a great team!

Have a goal!

It is amazing how often we heard athletes say that being in these Olympics had been a life long goal. We also heard them say that being at the next games was already on their radar screen. They know where they are going. They have a goal!

What are your business goals? Are you clear on your ultimate goal? Does your team understand why you are doing what you are doing?

Never quit!

The adversity experienced by many of the athletes is unbelievable. Broken bones, including broken necks and broken backs. Having to leave their families at a young age to get the training they needed.

The celebrated Canadian men’s Hockey team lost to the American team during the round robin. The same team they played in the gold metal game that came from behind to tie the game with only 24 seconds left to play. A great lesson in neither team giving up.

Slovenian cross country skier Petra Majdic went off course and fell in a ditch during her race breaking four ribs. She still went on to win the bronze metal. Then she showed us the team lesson again as she needed help to climb onto the podium to receive her metal.

Every Canadian stood a little taller, our hearts beat a little harder and many of us had tears in our eyes as figure skater Joannie Rochette skated to a bronze metal after her mother past away during the Olympics. What an amazing young lady.

Of course there is the lesson of the entire Georgian team or perhaps even the Olympics themselves continuing after the loss of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the young luger who died during a practice run the morning the games opened.

We all face adversity in our lives. Measure your challenges against what these young athletes experienced then pick yourself up and go win a metal!

I am sure everyone who watched these Olympics could add to this list. The games were truly inspiring. There is now talk throughout the Canadian media of what happens now. What will we take away from these games? My challenge to you is: What will you take away from these games?