The European Championships are taking place in Glasgow between 2 – 12 August; bringing together athletes from disciplines as varied as gymnastics to rowing. It’s an exciting time for the city, as it attempts to recreate the buzz of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. All eyes – from the sporting world and beyond – will be on Glasgow and some of the finest athletic talent at competition level.
So, aside from a sudden desire to get on a bike or rhythmically sashay across a giant floor mat, how can the Championships inspire the everyday? What can we learn from the thousands of athletes making their way to Glasgow to compete on an international level? Why, plenty, of course …
You don’t get to be the best and stand on that gold medal winners’ platform with an apathetic attitude. You have to want it; visualising your end goal and going all out until you get there. Within the world of work, saying that you are ambitious can be seen as a bit aggressive, but it’s not all Wolf of Wall Street style greed and drive. It’s about having a tangible objective and learning and working hard until you achieve it – no matter how big or small it might be.
For some of these athletes, fractions of seconds or inches can mean the difference between winning a medal or not. The precision involved in a lot of the sports at the Championships is incredibly exacting. Your daily workload deserves the same amount of focus and dedication. You should approach each task carefully and thoroughly, with an attention to detail that is medal worthy.
Ask any gold medal winner if they are an overnight success and they will all tell you the same thing: No. These athletes will have had years of placing badly, injury, lack of sponsorship … All sorts of elements holding their career back. You don’t get to the top in a short space of time. The same applies to your career. Learn the ropes; get to know what will make you a stand out candidate; network well and work hard – then, success will come.
All of the training involved in becoming an international competitor takes up a lot of time. You need to know what diet to follow, when to train and – equally – when to rest. Within your daily or weekly workload, you should learn what to prioritise and how to set your self tangible deadlines in order to achieve your goals.
Getting ready to run a race, ride a bike or row a boat in front of a television audience of millions sounds absolutely daunting. But these athletes all have supreme confidence in their abilities – otherwise, they wouldn’t be competing. Similarly, at work, we should all feel confident in our ideas and our contribution. Why not seek out a mentor if you need a boost?
Just because an athlete performs alone, doesn’t mean they are managing everything by themselves. They will probably have a coach and seek out advice from a physiotherapist and a nutritionist. Each element of the training process has to work together like a well-oiled machine in order to create the athlete on the starting blocks. A collaborative approach can absolutely achieve more – it’s so important to learn how to interact well with others to produce results.