Moving forward: go for gold

Going for gold demands a level of personal sacrifice way beyond what’s
required in most workplaces, but there are elements of that medal-winning
thinking you can apply to your own performance.

Know why you’re running: athletes have a specific goal: get to the finishing
line first. Everything is focused on that one objective. Define your own goals
as clearly and precisely – you’ll keep your eyes on the prize when you know
exactly what the prize is.

It takes courage: athletes don’t waste time looking for short-cut or easy
answers. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and get on with it if you
want to see results.

You’re always competing against yourself: athletes are always striving – not
only to be better than the other competitors, but to beat their previous
performance. Measure yourself against yourself and aim to be better each time.

Keep reviewing your performance: trainers spend hours with their protégés
going over each event in detail. Assess your own performance – what you did
well, what you could do better and what you’ll do differently next time.

Training counts: no athlete expects to simply turn up and win – they train
until they’re in peak condition. Invest in your own training and spend time and
effort practicing if you want to be good.

It takes a team: winners have trainers, supporters, coaches,
physiotherapists, an entire team around them. Although your performance comes
down to you on the day, don’t underestimate the help available. Who are your

Be generous in victory and magnanimous in defeat: no-one likes a bad loser.
When you win, speak up for the losers; when you lose, congratulate the winner.
It will be noticed.

Focus matters: successful athletes concentrate their effort where it will
produce results. Don’t scatter yourself too widely or spread yourself too thin.

Success costs: every potential gold-medallist has to weigh up the cost of
success. Because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to and because you
can do anything it doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

Play to your strengths: athletes start with a natural talent and polish it
until it’s world class. They work on their weaknesses, but they spend far more
time reinforcing their strengths.

Lynn Williams is a career coach who writes books on job
search and career issues

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