• Sara Plott

4 Olympic Ideals To Medal-Up Your Freelance Business This Year

The kettledrums sound and the torch glows in the cauldron. The 31st Olympic Games are underway in Rio.

Athletes from around the world gather in the warm winter of South America to best their opponents, their fears and their doubts. They have trained, visualized, and prepared for these seventeen days of competition for four, long years.

As athletes mount the medal stand and the anthem swells what can we learn to improve our chances of being the best freelancer and winning a “gold medal” for our clients this year?

1. Find your purpose and don't waiver from it.

Everyone on this planet was created for a purpose. There is no back stock or duplicate inventory of humans. And not everyone is designed to do the same thing.

The world needs introverts, visionaries, nerds, detail hounds, servers, and job-creators. The Olympics celebrate variety and lose their luster if everyone shows up to play table tennis and no one wants to swim.

Find your purpose and admire, don’t envy, others. Identify your strengths and build your business around those, outsource the rest.

You do you.

2. Dedication is mesmerizing.

The level of commitment an athlete displays when they train for years to compete in a ten second race, a single cycling event, or one chance on the uneven bars is mesmerizing.

I watch amazed with knots in my stomach as competitors give every ounce to surpass their personal best (and everyone else) in hopes of earning a gold medal.

Michael Phelps dedicates every single day to his craft. He is focused and unflappable on the blocks. Dedicated to pushing himself every time he’s in the water.

And his dedication has earned him 23 gold medals.

3. Some days just don’t go your way. Learn, and “improve” on.

Do you remember when ABC Wide World of Sports used to begin with the spinning globe, and the skier crashing down the ski jump as the announcer celebrated “The thrill of victory” and laments ”the agony of defeat”? Every Olympics has stories that break your heart, times when things just didn’t go right for that athlete.

This year I watched live as Annemiek van Vlueten lead the pack in the women’s cycling event. Careening through the streets of Rio it began to lightly rain. As Van Vlueten took a corner on an aggressive decline her bike slipped sideways and she fell head over heels, smashing into the curb. She lay motionless. I couldn’t breath.

The announcers reacted in shock and informed the viewers it might take awhile for medical assistance to reach her. The camera panned away from her but then it pans back past her motionless frame to capture the rushing group of riders navigating that same hill.

Thankfully, Van Vlueten walked away from the crash. But I would guess her heart was broken along with her multiple spine fractures and her concussion. This was clearly one of the biggest moments in her career and it didn’t go her way.

Some things are out of your control. Some meetings, pitches, relationships, and projects won’t go your way.

Pick yourself up, earn what you can to improve for next time, and start training for your next gold medal opportunity.

4. Celebrate those who win, even when you lose.

How would I react; what would I say if someone shoved a microphone in my face seconds after my disappointing defeat?

I am always so impressed and pleased when an athlete congratulates the person who just bested them. Four years of training, hours of mental conversations with yourself, and you miss the medal stand by 0.07 seconds or 2 points.

The athletes that haven’t quite mastered the art of losing gracefully stand out and disappoint far beyond their lack of gold.

Gabby Douglas, 2012’s All Round Gold Medalist, struggled to cheer for her teammates as they competed exceptionally, winning gold and silver medals. Her teammates beat the best gymnasts in the world, ascending to the top of their sport, a hallowed place she’d enjoyed four years earlier, and yet she found it difficult to smile, cheer, and rise to her feet for her teammates. That’s too bad.

She’s young. But she knows better. So do I. We need to celebrate those who win the big project, congratulate those who get the big account. Your time will come and their success does not impede yours.

I am so grateful to all of the athletes who gave their heart, soul, and every last ounce of effort to make the Olympic Games in Rio so inspiring.

Time to stretch, strategize, and train for the gold in my life.

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