Leading Like an Olympian

You won’t hear Heidi Kloser’s name as you watch the winter Olympics this year. She won’t stand on a medal stand or even race down a mountain. But she is still one tough Olympian.

Heidi is a moguls skier who made the Olympic team at just 21 years of age. But during a practice run in Sochi, last Thursday, Heidi tore ligaments in her knee and broke her femur. She was knocked out of the games before they even began. It was a devastating injury for a young woman who worked so hard to make it to the Olympics. And in the ambulance on the way to get treatment, Heidi tearfully asked her parents if she was still an Olympian even though she didn’t get to compete.
Kloser makes us think about this question. What does it take to be an Olympian?  Is it just competing in the games and winning medals?  Maybe being an Olympian is more than the medals and the glory.  Maybe being an Olympian is working hard year after year, sweating through workouts when no one is watching, training hours upon hours, day after day. In that regard, Heidi Kloser is certainly an Olympian.

In our organizations, results are important. But results only come after we put forth the Olympic-type effort that is needed to be successful. Results only come after we work really hard to achieve them.  If we aren’t committed to hard work and perseverance, we have no chance to win or even to compete.  So as leaders, it is up to us to model this type of effort through our behaviors of hard work, accountability, and determination. When we do, we’ll lead our teams to their own medal-worthy performances.

Heidi Kloser showed real strength and determination when she crutched her way into the stadium with her USA teammates during the Opening Ceremonies in Sochi. Just one day after her horrible accident, she marched on her crutches and answered her own question, yes Heidi, you are very much an Olympian!

Thanks for reading,

Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
Blog – http://www.jvearle.wordpress.com
Facebook – JVEarleConsulting
Book – 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62510-731-2


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