London 2012 is here!!!! I am about to jump out of my skin I’m so excited, I even have the schedule of events taped to my refrigerator so I can check out my favorite athletes and sports when they are aired on television. There is just something about witnessing the most elite athletes in the world compete against one another, shedding blood, sweat and tears as they lay it all out on the line for the world to see. How will they measure up to one another physically and mentally? Who will walk away with the gold?
This past Sunday on Oprah’s Next Chapter, she interviewed ten of the most prominent Olympians in history including Mary Lou Retton, Shawn Johnson, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Mark Spitz and Greg Louganis among others. She asked each of them the same question, “Why did you come home with the gold instead of your competitor?” They each responded with a similar answer by explaining that each country sends their most physically elite athlete. All of the athletes are at the same physical level. They’ve all trained for 4 years, 6-8 hours a day, 7 days a week. The difference between the gold medal winners and everyone else was their ability to perform under pressure and truly believe that they were the winner.
As I think about the dedication, sacrifice, skill, investment, focus, self-care, time, effort and energy that goes into reaching a point where you are invited to compete in the Olympics, the ultimate competitive event for all athletes around the world, I can’t help but compare the Olympic journey to the journey of a business owner. I know first-hand what a professional athlete’s journey looks, feels, smells, sounds and tastes like. My brother is a professional baseball player and from the time he was 6 years old and registered for his first recreational baseball team his goal was to play major league baseball. I watched my parents invest 7 figures on his career, install an outdoor and indoor batting cage in our backyard, travel all over the country for tournaments, eat at every Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral known to man, hire sports psychologists, hitting and catching instructors and go to every single baseball game he played in. I witnessed my brother sacrificing his childhood, missing out on birthday parties with friends, being picked on because he was so much better than everyone else, not going on adventurous trips for fear of being injured, missing spring breaks, play 40 hours a week in college while still managing to do well in his classes, leave high school during 4th period on home game days to go hit in his private batting cage, suffer through stress fractures and struggle with whether or not to keep playing or give it up. I've seen him suffer through many ups and downs and the toughest of times are when he doesn't pay attention to his inner game.
As business owners, we are very similar to athletes. We each have powerful messages to share with the world, a wealth of knowledge and expertise that we can turn into products and programs, a love and passion for what we do, the willingness to go broke to make it work and experiences to turn into stories.
I want to dedicate this post to some points about the inner game necessary to step out in a bigger way and to share with you that if you don’t feel free, confident, relaxed, calm and empowered through the delivery of your message to your audience then you are sending out the signals that say enslaved, stressed, desperate and lacking. What you attract and create are the very situations that continue to reinforce that situation. Just like elite level Olympic athletes, we as entrepreneurs must train ourselves appropriately for our own race – our marathon. In the end, we must take care of ourselves in the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental bodies. If you aren’t taking care of yourself and you are choosing to invest in your battles instead of your own personal breakthroughs at the spiritual level, you will be consumed by the entrepreneurship gremlins.
We tend to lose site of the big picture and forget to celebrate even the smallest of victories, to rest and relax and enjoy this wonderful life and Earth we have been given to relish in. When Serena Williams was crowned at Wimbledon this year she was asked what she was going to do the next day since she didn’t have to play. She said she’s going to take the day off, enjoy it with her family, eat some good food and relish in her win. Maybe we aren’t winning a gold medal at the Olympics, but we are winning every day and we are entitled to celebrate those wins and do the internal reflection necessary to keep going and improving.
I’ll be celebrating reaching my July goals tonight with lovely friends at Venable!
What do you need to do in your business or in your life as you move out of July and into August so that you can step up to the plate again and be a home run hitter?