3 Professional Lessons From The Sochi Olympic Athletes

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Brady Canfield skeleton start

Like a racer in the skeleton, you have to throw yourself into your career goals head first.

The Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014 have come to an end. Over the past 2 weeks, I watched a lot of the games (remember, it’s not time-wasting), seeing records set and finding out about the people behind them.

We can learn a thing or two from these professional athletes to help our own professional lives. Some lessons are obvious: practice makes perfect, stay dedicated, and value teamwork. However, here are a few less apparent ones that I will try to use them in my future career.


1. Set Tough Goals

Olympic athletes always have one goal in mind: go for the gold. However, many of them have other priorities too.

Noelle Pikus-Pace, of women’s skeleton, shattered her leg a few years ago and faced other tragedies on her way to Sochi. She even briefly retired to focus on her family. However, with their encouragement, she persevered to accomplish something else she wanted: winning a medal.

We have to set tough goals for ourselves, like Pikus-Pace’s did. For me, I want to get into the young adult or children’s book department at a top publishing company. This might take years, but that doesn’t mean I will give up. Instead, we can use tough goals like this to find that extra motivation to work hard.

2. Know Your Limits

I was kind of disappointed Shaun White withdrew from the slopestyle competition. However, I appreciate that he knew his priorities and didn’t want to risk getting hurt before his main halfpipe Olympic event. (White placed fourth in that event.)

In your job, there may come a time where you need to take a break—you’re stressed, sick, facing family issues, etc. Speak to your boss about your situation. You’ll both want you to perform at your best.

I’ve faced circumstances where I had to talk to my boss about lessening my work load or letting someone else help me. It happens, and if you explain things before the problem grows, your superior will likely understand and appreciate your honesty.

If you can’t work this out, find something that you enjoy to help you de-stress. For instance, luge contestant Kate Hansen has a mini dance session before her competition!

3. Don’t Stop

There might come a time where you have reached your main goal. Maybe you’re the head editor of a magazine or you’re the CEO of a company. However, that shouldn’t stop you from reaching even higher.

Olympian Lauryn Williams won medals in two previous Olympics, but she didn’t stop there. She received a silver medal this year in the bobsled competition, becoming the first American woman to medal in both the summer and winter games.

When I get a job as an editor, I won’t stop there. I want to help steer a new genre coming out of children and young adult literature. I also want to be like Maxwell Perkins and do my best to help the next John Green or J.K. Rowling get found and published. I want to reach higher and higher.

You should do the same. Already the head of the company? See ways that you can improve it or try to help out a charity. There are many ways to keep rising up in your career.

What did you take away from the Sochi Olympics that you can apply to your career or life?

(Photo: Wikipedia)

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