Concluding The Workplace Olympian
Finding life hacks and ways to get better has been one of my loves in research. I’ve never been gifted with talent nor intelligence where opportunity searched me out. Being average at best, I knew that I would have to seek out competitive advantages or life hacks to get the best out of myself and put me in a position to succeed.
Putting this work together, I found journal articles that I’ve read and highlighted from over 12-years before. Reading through the notes and scribbles I was taken back in time reliving the things I tried out, what worked and what hacks bombed in failure. I tried them all but captured here are the ones that I liked and worked.
I didn’t intend to be prescriptive with this book but to share how to think like an Olympian. Then how to translate that mindset into the office, real or virtual. Then how to facilitate those same gains with others.
Society talks about collaboration and leveling playing fields for everyone. This is a slight of hand though, the world is not only becoming more competitive but hyper competitive. It is an easy narrative that people with any success are handed it without struggle. That is a rare occurrence, life is a constant fight to get above the average line.
This is much why I love the narrative of the Olympics. These are the best athletes in the world with a natural talent that 99% of us will never know. However, to compete on this stage they still must seek every advantage to become the world’s best.
This is a metaphor for life with different stakes. If we look at high achievers in the office, they are doing the same thing. The good leaders are dedicating their lives to excellence and advancing the organization.
Journal and track your journey. As an adolescence I always heard the advice to track my life. Most young boys were never swayed to write a diary. It was touchy, feely, and a time suck to go into deep thought.
In my early twenties I found my grandpa’s journal throughout his career. He was a Marine Corps Colonel serving three tours in Vietnam and later the attorney for the City of Fort Worth, Texas. The journals were the story to his life that he never got a chance to tell me. An insight into his introspection and thought processes. I written every day since.
Science points that journaling is good for self-reflection, for physical, and mental health. When in the middle of life, it is hard to prioritize ourselves. But writing by hand in the third person helps the mind capture emotions, direction and what is valuable to us. I look back on my journal from 20 years ago when I first started. These were the first steps in tweaking myself to become who I wanted to become.
I think a lot about self-empowerment. The dichotomy of nature and nurture or talent versus environment. Are they of equal value, does one cancel out the other?
Talent means a lot, but many times it will flail under a poor environment. The same with a talent less person thriving in a great environment. However, many times a person with talent will overcome a poor environment and many low motivated people fail out of great environments.
You can overcome poor environments and move to better ones or create better ones. With ourselves you can overcome low talent to achieve mastery. You don’t need a coach or a pep talk, just need a plan, a little desire, and a tiny habit to start moving you in the right direction.
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