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5 Olympic Lessons

Olympic fever has swept the nation and there are excellent lessons that can be learned from the Vancouver Olympics that apply to our industry and your business.


Olympic fever has swept the nation and there are excellent lessons that can be learned from the Vancouver Olympics that apply to our industry and your business.

Treat Each Day Like it’s Your Last – We’ve all seen motivational speakers who have overcome near-death experiences. Often, their message is, “treat each day like it’s your last.” With the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, I realized that expression is exemplified by those athletes who died doing what they love. Lesson: Be happy in your professional and personal life. Life is too short to be miserable.

Meeting Expectations – Own the Podium is a commendable goal for Canada’s Olympic athletes. However, if this expectation isn’t met, a big, dark cloud will hang over future athletes. In your business, if you are going to make a claim or promise, deliver on it. You need to be golden with every one of your clients and prospects. As the saying goes, “you don’t win silver, you lose gold.”

Elevator Pitch – As a Canadian watching the opening ceremonies, I was disappointed. I understand that the ceremonies were scaled back due to the recession, but the messages did not reflect who and what we are as a country. In your business, if you had the opportunity to tell 3.5-billion prospects your message, what would it be? You, and everyone in your organization, should know your ‘elevator pitch’ and be able to recite it on command. If you don’t have an elevator pitch, listen to your best customers; their words are your foundation.

Fix Mistakes Fast – As I’m writing this, controversy swirls around the waterfront Olympic flame and the chain-link fence barring people from getting close to it. We all make mistakes. It’s best to address them head-on and implement a solution. People admit mistakes, but without a fix, it becomes wasted words. I don’t know what the solution is in the flame-and-fence scenario. I just know they are slow to admit their mistake and even slower to fix it.

The Secret to Success – In 29 seconds, Alex Bilodeau won gold for Canada in the men’s moguls. It might appear easy to train for four years for a 30-second burst. But the 22-year-old has been skiing for 20 years, training for more than eight years, suffered injuries and pain, and worked with sports psychologists to sharpen his competitive edge. Many of our younger peers only see us veterans for what we are today; our gold medal in 30 seconds. It is important to understand that years of blood, sweat and tears have gone into our individual successes. Far too often, we want immediate gratification; sometimes, the secret to success is old-fashioned hard work.



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