Olympic Lessons – Stay Out of Riptides

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No piling on intended here. It’s just that lessons come out of the headlines every day that can be instructive when it comes to work. Of late, some Olympic athletes are a case in point. In the midst of all the commotion and TV interviews what can we learn?

From most athletes we learn that years of hard work can pay off and provide a route to medals and glory. What joy we share when an athlete realizes that a lifelong dream is being fulfilled. It can be a lesson for us non-athletes to rededicate ourselves to our profession, our family, our commitment to making the world better in the hopes we might realize some sliver of that same joy.

From others, we can learn what not to do. A few illustrative cases…

  • From some swimmers we can learn that when it’s time for an excuse, the phrase “alcohol was involved” is not a good opener. Not much good happens after that introduction.
  • We can learn too that video cameras are everywhere – at service stations, at work, in parking lots, even in places where you might not suspect cameras. And this phenomenon is true in all countries. Assume that there is video footage capturing what you do wherever you go and the video footage doesn’t lie. In short, you will get caught.
  • Last lesson from the headlines: the more well known you are, or the higher you are in the organization, the more likely it is that you will get caught. If you are one who brings attention to yourself through flamboyant dress or hair, you will get caught faster.

It’s a shame. Careers and reputations can take years to build, but only a few moments to destroy. Re-do’s are not an option. Once a reputation takes a hit, it is possible to resurrect it but it is difficult task and takes a lot of effort. Think about that before the last drink at the company picnic or holiday party. Lessons are everywhere that can help us be more successful and not waste time on “wish I hadn’t done that”. Be careful out there!

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