So the Olympics come around again and our television screens, newspapers and browsers are filled with images of passion, beauty and pain.
Perhaps nowhere more so than in the Gymnastics Hall where hours of painful practice over many years are put to the test in few seconds of immense pressure. Everything is put on the line. For some it ends in the euphoria of success. For others it ends in the heartbreak of failure.
Gymnastics can provide a metaphor for enterprise and entrepreneurship providing lessons for those of us who run businesses and those who try to help us.
Gymnasts and Entrepreneurs:
- go into the process knowing that success is far from guaranteed
- are committed to hours of hard work and sacrifice – to earn the chance of success
- risk injury and loss – physical, mental and emotional as well as financial
- understand that their career could be cut short – it is all about managing risk
- know that the road to success is a long one – full of highs and lows – and that they had better enjoy the journey because the destination is not guaranteed
- anticipate failures and disappointments using them to learn and move on
- develop skills, passions and strengths over many years before they are ready to compete
Coaches and Advisers:
- understand that it is not their life or career that is on the line – it is not their success or failure that matters but that of the gymnast or entrepreneur
- help them to understand the risks and rewards that might lie in any chosen course of action – as well as the price that might have to be paid
- pick them up when they fall helping them to learn and move on
- help them to recognise if a plan is not working out and choose the right time to pursue a different path
- never under-estimate the potential of people to do amazing things
- keep dreams alive even through the darkest times
- know that it is reckless to encourage people to try things before they are equipped for success – they test and develop passion, skill, energy and commitment to make sure that the risks of a new endeavour are acceptable
- help to test things out with a minimum of exposure to risk so that lessons can be learned safely
- help to break down seemingly impossible challenges into a manageable sequence of achievable steps and goals
I know this film inspired me. I hope it does the same for you!