4 Lessons Communicators Can Learn from Olympians

 In Professional Development

We all know that Olympians are hardworking, dedicated and disciplined. And we watched with appreciation during the recent PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games as these talented athletes competed for their country – and themselves.

As professional communicators, are there lessons we can learn from their approach to achieving excellence on a consistent basis? Here are some principles gleaned from Olympic athletes that we can apply to our daily routines.

  1. They immerse themselves in their work. When Olympians first check into the Olympic Village, they begin to eat, sleep and breathe their sport. While it could be argued that a more common profession does not require this same type of commitment, it is valuable to dive deep into your industry of choice. For marketing, this could mean signing up for a local class or workshop, watching a webinar, or making a point to read industry news on a daily basis.
  2. They are well-rounded. While Olympic athletes generally focus on one sport, their training is well-rounded. For example, Devin Logan, a freestyle skier who competed in both halfpipe and slopestyle events, recently told Healthline Magazine that “cross-training is 110 percent crucial to my success. Gym time makes it easier for me to pinpoint certain muscles that I would not be working out while on snow.”

While skiing is her sport of choice, she uses other techniques to train. While it’s great to have a specialty in the communications world, being well-rounded professionally is key to long-term success. Are you great at social media planning? Try learning a technical skill such as coding or website management. It’s important to flex all your professional muscles.

  1. They compete for their team. While all agencies are structured differently, they often rely on team members taking direct responsibility for specific clients, even though they also function as part of the team as a whole. This can be said of Olympians as well. While they are competing as individuals, they are striving to win for their country. Whether on the ice, or in the office, it’s important to remember to work as a team and value the opinion of others to accomplish goals. When your coworkers succeed, so do you.
  2. They don’t give up. Whether it’s in the public eye or not, Olympic athletes fall down time and time again. But this doesn’t stop them from moving forward. Take American ice skating sensation Nathan Chen, for example. After having a less-than-satisfactory performance in this year’s short program, he later made history in his free skate by being the first person to land five clean quad jumps (in which he rotates four times around) during an Olympic competition. The same type of dedication can be applied to the professional world. Maybe a client didn’t like a campaign, or your latest social media efforts aren’t returning the numbers you’d hoped for. The key is to learn from these failures and change how you approach the problem in the future.

By applying these principles from Olympic athletes to your own career, you, too, can find yourself at the top of the podium – or maybe at least employee of the month.

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