It’s a good guess that most of us watched at least a small amount of the winter Olympics over the past two weeks. And it’s highly likely that we have heard and read the criticisms directed at them. ‘Them’ includes NBC for their overall coverage … suspected doping scandals directed at a certain government and the focus on the individual Olympian failures. These factors combined with an enormous time difference and general viewer fatigue resulted in the lowest viewership of all time or close to it.
And yet, there were victories celebrated by athletes who have spent untold and unimaginable hours over years preparing for this opportunity to compete. Being on this world stage for the chance to medal was the motivation that help them stay their course and do the job that this success would require. There was one team that was a true standout, and they took home nothing made from metal. Rather, they won and took home greater drive and determination than they came with. They returned home committed to a plan to return yet again, confident of their future victories. This is truly against all odds given that they hail from a place that has NO colder winter weather than 75 degrees. I am referring to Jamaica.
Just watching the 4-man bobsled team cheer after crossing the finish line in last place of all competing teams was noticeable and attention getting. Afterall, it represented the first time in 24 years (their first and only Olympic appearance in 1988) that they again qualified to bring their team back to compete. I was moved to ponder what it took for such a team to stay their course. What enabled them to defy the odds and so-called conventional wisdom? And finally, how can these traits be applied to all of us as individuals having a dream and vision for the success we want for our careers? What are the habits of those who have and can defy the odds?
WHAT ARE THE TRAITS THAT HELP US DEFY THE ODDS?
Here are some of the more dominant attributes of people determined to win and seeing that completely in their hands and their power:
- They do what they love.
When you’re passionate and excited about something, it ceases to have the ‘work’ tag attached to it. “When you’re engaged in such work, you do not want to stop,” says psychotherapist, Nick Terrone. He references Vincent Van Gogh as an example. “Van Gogh sold only one piece during his lifetime, yet his passion drove him to paint almost 900 works. The key? Find your passion.”
- They focus on a goal.
The challenge associated with achieving a goal can increase one’s motivation. However, this doesn’t mean just focusing on climbing to the very top of this mountain is the way to success. Rather than being overwhelmed, start with smaller goals and continue to increase them as you accomplish various steps or stages.
- They manage their inside team.
We all have and carry around with us our personal teams made up of ‘individuals’ of voices. They have the ability and do remind us of reasons we can or can’t accomplish something that we aim to achieve. If we are not careful, we can allow our team member voices to hijack our goals. However, the fact is that we can control and manage such internal dialogue in ways that enable us to stay our chosen course.
- They believe in themself.
Confidence is always a valuable ingredient to succeeding in whatever we endeavor to do. And … it becomes even more important when we encounter obstacles that we must overcome. It helps to defy whatever falls into the so-called conventional wisdom arena. This person communicates with certainty that any challenge can and will be met.
- They are persistent and determined.
These are two qualities that are considered very essential for a person wanting to triumph over adversity. Although success is desired and envisioned by many it can be accompanied by challenges that seem too great and thus, we give up. And yet, it is some failure we experience that enables us to develop these needed attributes.
- An ability to see solutions overrides obstacles.
This person is so connected to the goal of what they want to and believe they can achieve. They continually, creatively see an obstacle as something to get around. Be it a true obstacle or an error made, they are driven and determined to learn along the way to achievement.
- Ask for help and support.
We do not and cannot live in isolation and having others in your circle is a good thing. Undoubtedly there are going to be times when one is challenged and even having thoughts of giving up the goal. This is the time to ask others who likely have faced the same challenge for help and are willing to do so. Asking not only gets around the obstacle … it also helps one regain their ’second wind’ of inspiration.
APPLYING THE JAMAICAN LESSON TO OURSELVES AND HOW WE WIN GOLD
The Jamaican bobsled team crashed out of competition in 1988. Still, they walked across the finish line carrying their sled while cheering and waving to the crowd. And, most importantly, it created a determination on their part to dig in and stay the course that would help them qualify again which didn’t happen until this year’s Olympics. Were they successful? To them absolutely in that they completed the course without any incident. And more importantly because it was one step closer to achieving their ultimate goal. According to Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation President Chris Stokes, “Our big plan for 2026 is to qualify for four events, two teams per event, and to have someone on the podium in 2030.”
Although achieving the highest of personal goals may be easy for a fortunate few, it is often far from it for most of us.
The Jamaican team should make us wonder … if they can do something of this magnitude, why can’t I? The fact is that you can as long as you bring the needed goal setting and tenacity on the ride. Isn’t it great to realize that we and we alone are the master of our destiny. Anything that appears to get in the way is only a temporary obstacle that we can circumvent. Envision celebrating your success … your gold … while relaxing on the beaches of Jamaica … the place of inspiration. Seems like a great combination and goal.