The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, August 04, 2021 3:00 pm

Olympian mindset can propel individuals, businesses

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

While the world watches some of our greatest athletes compete for the gold in Tokyo, there are business lessons to be had.

An email today provided several takeaways from Angela Civitella, a leadership coach and founder of Intinde. Here are some abbreviated highlights her PR team shared:

  • Success doesn’t come overnight: Olympic athletes don’t wake up one day and become great. They have been training for years. If you want to be successful in business, the same holds true. Put in the work. Keep getting better. Stay focused on becoming the best. 
  • Olympic athletes don’t give up easily. How many times have you thrown in the towel or procrastinated in your business? You were thinking, ‘It’s too hard’ or ‘I’m not in the mood.’ The road to success is filled with challenges, but you have to stay focused and driven if you want to win.
  • Learn from your failures. How many Olympic stories can you think of when athletes failed to perform his or her best, chocked under pressure or just made a silly mistake that cost a medal? The same happens in business. Olympic athletes analyze what went wrong, learn from it and come back even stronger than before. 
  • It’s all about the team: Some sports such as diving and gymnastics are about an individual’s performance, but in the end, it’s about the team, and more so, the country. Same is true in business. Your individual performance is a big part of the picture, but in the end, it’s about the team. Olympic athletes are always working together with their teammates and helping each other improve. Stop seeing your team as competition and start collaborating.
  • Olympic athletes are coachable. They know the secret to getting ahead is putting their egos aside and being open to constructive criticism. A lot of people in business believe that just because they are in the C-suite or the head of a department, they know everything. 
  • Olympic athletes have goals: The number-one goal of Olympians is the gold medal. But to get there, they have all kinds of performance goals they know they must achieve to make it to the biggest stage in sports. In business, you can’t wing it, either. You need clearly laid out objectives and you must be committed to meeting them, whether the end goal is climbing up the company ladder, securing a contract, beating your competition or something else.
  • Mental health matters. One thing the Tokyo Olympics has showed us is that mental health is important. In business, it’s easy to become stressed, anxious, depressed and a host of other emotions. It’s OK to take some time off and come back when you are in the right frame of mind. All work all the time is an unhealthy habit that many professionals have to break.
  • Anything is possible: There is not one Olympic athlete who believes he or she is going to finish in last place. In business, too many people lack confidence in their own abilities or team. As a result, they never finish at the top. The first rule is to believe in yourself, your products, your services and your company. If you don’t, no one else will. 

Thanks, Angela.

Good lessons.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears as a column in The Journal Gazette's Sunday Business section.

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