What Olympians Show Us About Resilient Leadership – part 1

Susan S Freeman Blog

Although I am not usually a spectator sports enthusiast, I admit to being completely caught up in the Olympics.  I love the excitement, passion, commitment, vision, and stories of personal triumph that are the stuff of great athletes.  I admit to being proud of the way our American team has demonstrated not only outstanding athleticism, but also sportsmanship and inspirational leadership to the world.

What can we learn from these young leaders, many of whom are still teenagers, about the inner game of leadership?

Here are my top 10 Olympic Observations.

I will share the first 5 this week, and the final 5 next week.

Intense Focus1)     Intense Focus on the Goal Matters

The winners have medals on the mind.  They see themselves being the strongest, fastest and best.  Even if they had previous Olympic losses, they aim for winning the next time and have succeeded.

Takeaway – You can get to high places with intense focus on the goal; the reverse is also true; without focus on a goal, you are likely to end up somewhere else!

2)     SupportSupportive Team

You need the support of others; parents, coaches and teams to reach the goal.  It is obvious that no one attains an Olympic medal without a complete team.  The strength and intensity of these relationships is paramount to winning.

Takeaway – build a top talent team to support your vision.  Include them at every turn and value their diverse perspectives.  No one succeeds by doing it alone.

In the Zone3)     Connect to Purpose

When pressure builds, breathe deeply and connect to your purpose and passion.  Did you notice how every single athlete prepped by getting into a “zone?”  Some used music to get there, but once there they all took long, deep breaths to center themselves.

Takeaway – everyone in a leadership position can center themselves and enter challenges with calm, powerful presence to do their best

Recover4)     Recover

When you fall down, get back up and acknowledge that even the best in the world can make a mistake and recover.  Imagine how embarrassing it is to be the #1 gymnast in the world and fall on your behind at the Olympics.  But it happened!  We are all human, and we will fall down.  The important thing is to acknowledge your mistake and move on with grace and dignity.

Takeaway:  Mistakes are human and our vulnerability makes us attractive to others. Don’t be afraid to admit and share your mistakes AND what you have learned from them and will do differently.  That is a sign of strength and courage.

Love for the Game5)     Let your love of the game show in everything you do

The Olympians beam from the inside.  You can see how much sheer love, joy and passion they have for what they do.  In spite of pain, injury, and defeat, they are smiling and exuding positive energy.

Takeaway:  Manage your negative emotions so they don’t hang on too long.  Shift into the positive quickly so you can get back on track from a setback.  That is a choice.

Please post your comments here.  If this resonates with you, I invite you to learn more by visiting our website at www.StepUpLeader.com and take the I.Q. Quiz.

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