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Ready, Set, London Olympics!

Six career lessons learned from the London Olympics

olympicsEven if you’re not a sports fan, it’s tough not to be captivated by the Olympics.  Anticipating the inevitable upsets makes the Games even more exciting. There’s nothing like watching someone succeed against all odds to inspire us to reach for our own dreams whether that’s running a 10K or getting a promotion.

So far the Olympics have been filled with all the drama we’ve come to expect from the Games.  But, beneath these stories of triumph and defeat lie many lessons for those of us who work outside the athletic arena. Whatever you’re doing these six lessons can help you become more successful in your career.

Don’t Be Intimidated

Don’t be intimidated going up against a corporate superstar. As the most decorated Olympian ever, Michael Phelps is a superstar which is why it was such an upset when he lost the 200-meter butterfly to a relatively unknown swimmer South Africa’s Chad Le Clos. No one was more surprised than Le Clos himself because Phelps is his hero. Good thing he wasn’t afraid to go up against him in competition.

Importance of Teamwork

Don’t make the team pay for your disappointment. When Jordyn Weiber didn’t qualify for the gymnastics individual all-around competition she was devastated.  Despite the controversy that her elimination sparked, Weiber remained gracious. She didn’t let her personal disappointment prevent her from giving her all to help her team win gold two days later.

Don’t Give Up

Keep trying even after a rough start. Although favored to medal, the U.S. men’s gymnastics team performed poorly during the finals. Things didn’t begin well for the two Americans in the individual all-around competition either. But, despite a disappointing routine on the pommel horse Danell Leyva didn’t lose heart. He stuck with it, got better as the evening progressed and managed to snag a bronze medal.

Starting Early Isn’t Everything

Starting early isn’t the only way to achieve success. While most Olympic athletes begin their sport as kids,Helen Glover, half of the British rowing team who won the country’s first gold medal, started rowing at 22. Although, Glover and partner, Heather Stanning, only started rowing together three years ago they not only won gold but broke the Olympic world record.

Age Doesn’t Define You

Even in sports age doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily out.  Danielle Scott-Arruda is competing in her fifth Olympic Games as a middle-blocker on the U.S. volleyball team.  The thirty-nine year-old mother of one is the first American volleyball player to ever compete in five Olympic Games. Age certainly hasn’t slowed her down.

Avoid Social Media Snafus

No matter what you’re doing think before you post anything online. More than one Olympic athlete has beentossed from the Games for tweeting racist remarks about other players. These athletes were clearly violating the international Olympic Committee’s code of conduct which requires athletes to show mutual respect. Show’s even Olympians can get fired.

Whether you’re an amateur athlete or a couch potato, there are many tangible lessons to take away from the Olympics. But, the overriding principle of the Games is to never be afraid to try. You never know you may be the one winning in an upset.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


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