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August 14, 2012

Create your own Olympic legacy!

So it’s all over…..medals awarded, Closing Ceremony completed, athletes and the World have headed home.

How were the Olympics for you?  Were you there?  Were you glued to the television screen?  And what about your kids?  Did you wake up on Monday morning with an Olympic hangover, suffering withdrawal symptoms?

My family and I were away for much of it, without regular access to TV, internet or radio with only the odd report from back home.  For the last 4 days though we were hooked!  Of course it helped that Team GB were brimming over with success almost on a daily basis, but it went beyond that.

Female athletes from Saudi Arabia and Quatar competing at the Olympics for the first time, David Rudisha’s incredible 800m run, not only breaking the World Record but leading from the front from the very start and taking the whole field with him to achieve their own national records or personal bests.   Michael Phelps, aged 27, retiring after winning his 22nd Olympic medal (of which 18 are Gold!) – I could go on ……

So, how can you create your own London 2012 Olympic “legacy”?

When coaching clients, I encourage them early on to take a close look at their values – in other words what’s important to them, their “big motivators”. 

 When setting goals it is so important to align them with your values in order to feel truly inspired, committed to take the action required, to maintain your integrity – if you don’t you are literally on an uphill struggle from the very start.

I heard the Olympic values being touched on a number of times during London 2012 and thought I’d remind myself about both them, and the Paralympic values, put together by Pierre de Coubertin, the Founder of the Modern Olympic Movement.  He saw the Games as being the ideal opportunity to develop a set of universal principles – or values – which could be applied to sport, education and society as a whole.  Here they are:-

  • Respect – fair play, knowing one’s own limits and taking care of one’s health and the environment.
  • Excellence – How to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life, taking part and progressing according to one’s own objectives.
  • Friendship – How, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences.

The Paralympic Games values, based on the history of the Games and the tradition of fair play and honourable sports competiveness include:-

  • Courage
  • Determination
  • Inspiration and
  • Equality.

Aren’t these great principles by which to live one’s life?

I don’t think anyone could deny that over the 17 days of the Games we saw boundless courage, determination, inspiration (and increasingly, equality), together with respect, excellence and friendship from the Olympians themselves and all those involved – the Games Makers got an especially lengthy applause at the Closing Ceremony.

How can you apply them to yourself?  Why not reflect on the following:

Respect Do you know your own limits?  You might think you do, but I would suggest that often people under estimate their abilities. Sometimes this is due to what they’ve been told (perhaps by parents, teachers) over the years; told so often that it becomes engrained in their very psyche.  To add to it, we often feed ourselves bucket loads of negative self talk – you know the kind – “don’t be ridiculous, you could never do that……someone like you doesn’t deserve success…….you’ve failed before so you’re bound to mess it up this time too……”

Yes, we can over estimate our capabilities but from my own personal and professional experience, under estimating them is much more common.

Taking care of one’s health – as a Health and Wellbeing Coach I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of one’s health – as far as it is possible.  I see it as an essential investment.  You know what they say on aircraft about fitting your own oxygen mask before helping someone with theirs?  Looking after yourself not only boosts your own self esteem and respect, confidence, self belief, increases energy and vigour but also of those around you.

Excellence – Giving the best of yourself at any given time, can surely be the only way to go.  Don’t we often say to our children, family and friends “just do your best” and that’s all that we should ask – and accept – from ourselves.

Taking part and progressing according to one’s own objectives – Remember, in order to give yourself a chance of winning, you have to be in the race!

If setting your own objectives is a new experience to you just take it slowly – think of one area of your life that’s particularly important to you just now and then one aspect about that life area which you would like to work on.  What outcome would make that one aspect of your life perfect, 10/10?  What one step can you take today to take you one step closer to that desired outcome……and you’re on your way!

Friendship –  Understanding each other despite any differences I believe is closely linked with equality.  Wouldn’t it be dull if we were all the same?  Understanding, comes from feeling a sense of security within ourselves as well as developing an open mind and desire to evaluate and enhance existing relationships/friendships whilst developing new ones. Communication can always be improved upon!

Courage and Determination – I know we think we would like everything in life to come easily, but if we take it a bit more deeply, is it completely true?  If a goal is so easily achieved, do we really value the outcome?  If it takes time, stretches us beyond what we think we’re capable of, meet – and overcome – a few (or many) challenges along the way, don’t we feel a much greater sense of achievement, adrenaline surge, that buzz and hunger to go on and achieve even more?

Inspiration  – Who or what truly inspires you?  What is it in particular about that person, event or “thing” that inspires you? This will be closely linked with your values and will help you to keep motivated when the going gets tough (as it inevitably will).

Look out for my next blog which is about inspiration and someone who has inspired me over the summer!

But in the meantime, let me leave you with a quote from David Rudisha who, when asked about his World Record breaking 800m run quite simply replied “Today the weather was beautiful and I decided just to go for it.”

Why make things more complicated than they need be?  Like David, just go for it!

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