While watching our Canadians parading through Fisht Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies, it occurred to me that this group of elite athletes are likely A-type personalities, in order to be so driven to succeed. For those of us who are not ‘list people’, getting in an hour of exercise daily often involves cajoling, trade-offs and a lot of moaning and groaning. It is hard to imagine the daily routine involved in achieving the level of physical conditioning and financial investment these individuals and their families commit to their chosen path. These young people have set a singular goal for themselves to be the best in the world at their craft—a gold medal winner. Listening to their stories on TV they have had set-backs along the way, but the constant theme throughout is that they remain focused on their goal– we can use their example as inspiration. Whether it means landing a job, working your way through your career ladder or restarting a career, it’s the psychology behind the drive that makes one successful. Let’s look at that a bit more closely.
There’s been much written about getting ahead and being highly effective in whatever aspect of life you so choose. Among other methods, athletes use visualization to calm their nerves and envision the upcoming competition or event—they see themselves as a winner. Research “Keys to Success” and one sees common threads which can be applied to any and all aspects of life on either a personal or professional level.
One common element is self-evaluation: Do you know what you want from life, and career—if not then it’s time to be proactive and investigate this further. Until you understand yourself and your goals you won’t be happy, feel fulfilled or know and understand what you are striving towards.
Have a plan of action: Know where you are now, where you want to go, and investigate and research what it takes to get there. A plan of action is developed accordingly. Are you motivated, ambitious, and hardworking? If this all seems too overwhelming or too much effort, then perhaps you need to look at where you are now and evaluate the pros and cons. If you can truly love and be satisfied by what you do every day, but find yourself feeling restless or unhappy, then maybe it’s time to review the circumstances, and surround yourself with positive influences. If you decide to address the gaps by making a plan, then be willing to continue learning, endure sacrifices necessary to succeed, and accept the responsibility of working through the steps. Get yourself organized.
Build and maintain positive relationships: No one succeeds alone. Be willing to help others along the way and contribute to a team environment; your strengths and contributions will be remembered and rewarded in return. Surround yourself with people who satisfy and contribute to the spiritual, mental, physical and emotional aspects of your life and career. Understand others and they will seek to understand you.
The Olympian mentality is the best way for one to take control of their future and strive for gold on personal or professional levels. For some, this process can seem overwhelming. The Government of Ontario has supports in place to assist those seeking assistance achieving their career goals. Look at http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/employmentontario/index.html to access the service provider closest to you or call 905-575-2177 for those located in the Hamilton area.
– Kym McCreary-Stewart
Career Consultant Certificate ’09/Writing for Publication ’08