I would never describe myself as a sporty type, although I do have the occasional splurge into running but not often enough.
I find the Olympic Games totally gripping and every four years become completely obsessed from my armchair.
This year, despite my excitement and joy at how well Team GB are doing, sleep deprivation is becoming a real issue. Apparently we have the US TV audience to thank for the most exciting races being played out at 3’o’clock in the morning. So if you’re a Michael Phelps fan and let’s be honest – who isn’t, or you want to see the fastest man on earth storm his way into the history books – then sleep becomes very much a secondary option.
While we’re on the subject of super-humans, let’s have a huge cheer for the incomparable Clare Balding who has done BBC Sport proud this past 10 days by leading the superb coverage that the BBC has provided across 3 channels. I am totally in awe of how much information she has stored in her head and the details she can recall in split second live TV moments! Well done Clare – we salute you.
All this talk of sport and medals, sacrifice and pain has got me thinking that striving towards success in your chosen sport is a bit like running your own business.
So here’s my 5 ways that Rio 2016 can help make your business a winner
It seems that we Brits are especially good at rowing and cycling and have swept the board in most of these events. Hoorah.
Sir Steve Redgrave (5 Golds) and Sir Chris Hoy (6 Golds) have been superb in their commentating and shared wisdom. They both said something separately which caught my attention. Much is said about the sheer hard work, pain and sacrifice that is involved to be chosen for the squad never mind being race-ready for the Olympic Games. This, of course, is true but Redgrave and Hoy both made the point that it’s less about sacrifice and more about “just what we do”.
It’s the same with business. I don’t think I really understood job satisfaction until I started by own business. Before that, I had been working for an employer doing a job I was good at but it wasn’t my passion. Yes – self employment requires incredible self discipline, hard work and often long hours, but if your passion is your purpose it will become your love and “just what you do”.
The power of team is probably never better exemplified than at the Olympic Games. GB athletes have said time and time again how much more the team medals mean to them than the individual ones. It’s easy to see why. You train as a team, you become close friends, you spend large parts of every day together, you go through pain, disappointment and injury together, you travel the world together – and you sit on the start line together trusting that each teammate will play their part and stick to the plan.
When I first started my business somebody gave me a great piece of advice:
“Do yourself the things you enjoy and you’re good at, and the things you are less good at and don’t enjoy – get someone else to do”
For me, I do all the baking and decorating myself, I love the marketing, social media and networking and I really enjoy the photography and blogging. I don’t enjoy accounts or tax, and I’m clueless about website design – so I have colleagues to help me with these things. These colleagues are part of my team, I trust them completely, we work well together and I value them greatly.
Every athlete at the Olympic Games has a Coach and usually a wider support team that they work with. Jessica Ennis-Hill has Toni Minichiello, who she met when she was a teenager at a sports camp. They have been together ever since and won countless Heptathlon competitions including Olympic Gold at London 2012, and silver a few days ago in Rio. Amongst the many skills of a coach are those of goal setting and scheduling. Every moment of every day for 4 years is planned and scheduled. For Jessica that meant having her first child and then launching herself into an intense training programme across 7 separate events.
Goals are essential if we are to measure our achievement in any walk of life and they must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound, or we’ll have no clue about our progress.
Even the Apostle Paul, one of great coaches of the early Church, had some great advice for a bunch of new Christians in ancient Corinth:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”
We could all benefit from taking some time out, working out our goals and then measuring ourselves against them.
Early mornings, late nights, strict nutrition, no socialising. Just hard work, all the time. What’s true for athletes trying to improve their performance is also true for business owners trying to grow their business.
You’re doing the thing you love, you have a trusted team around you, you’ve set some great goals. Now you have to just work. Many days it will be mundane, routine and tedious. There will be stress, anxiety, difficult customers, and perhaps exhaustion.
It will only be when you lift your head up and look back. that you can see how far you’ve come.
Max Whitlock has just become our double individual Olympian. What an achievement. If you saw him win the Gymnastic Floor individual Gold, you’ll have seen his almost flawless performance which lasted all of 90 seconds. Interviewed afterwards he reflected on the sheer hard work of 4 years and only having just over a minute to show the judges what you can do.
Success and growth are achieved one day at a time. We are all given a fresh 24 hours every morning and what we do with it, determines the future.
One of the recurring themes of medal winning athletes is a hope that their Olympic success will inspire young boys and girls to get involved with sport and believe they can do something special. Joseph Schooling, from Singapore, was just 13 when he met his hero Michael Phelps at the Beijing Olympics A few days ago – aged 21 – he swam alongside Phelps in an Olympic 100m butterfly final and beat him. What a story.
Not many of us will perform on the world stage, or be a household name, but we all have influence on others in our lives, in our work, in our businesses.
Imagine if we could be really intentional about inspiring others. Waking up every day to be the best we can be. Looking for opportunities to have positive input into other’s lives. Always having one eye on the future, and planning for our legacy.
Care about what you do so much that you can say with Jessica Ennis-Hill after winning her silver medal
“I’m really happy with my performance. I did my best and left it all on the track”
Rio 2016 has been fabulous, entertaining, nail-biting, emotional and there’s still more to come.
We’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on our business tips, so please drop us a line.
That’s all folks,
I’m Judith. I’ve been caking since 2012. I also love to write, photograph, travel, drink coffee and read books. This is my cake blog where you’ll find recipes, and baking tips and all my latest cake projects.
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