Going for gold in your business

The Olympics are all around us. We observe, support and share the anguish of defeat and the joy of winning.

Why does the world stop and watch?

Is it because we get to witness the culmination of many years of persistence, determination and commitment? On that one day, an athlete will have their chance to put those years of hard work into realization. The chance of realizing their dream (if they win a gold medal) and of achieving their personal best.

That we witness hundreds of athletes all having ‘the best day of their lives’ and realizing that all the hard work and sacrifice was worth it, just to compete in the worlds biggest sporting event.

When we run our own business it can feel that we put in years of hard work and sacrifice and we may never have the ‘best days of our lives’ and achieve that golden medal for our business or ourselves.

Even as I write that, my energy dissipates and I think that is very sad. Yet I know from speaking with many clients that they feel like they work really hard and yet don’t get the results they crave.

Let’s consider how you can achieve excellence and your personal best in your business starting now!

Excellence can be obtained if you:

  • care more than others think is wise
  • risk more than others think is safe
  • dream more than others think is practical
  • expect more than others think is possible.

1.     Visualize winning gold

What does ‘winning gold” mean for you? Is it landing that massive contract, is it getting publicity in a prestigious newspaper, or maybe it’s earning what you used to earn in your old job but only working three days a week in your business?

Take a moment to think about what gold really is for you…and write it down.

You will have heard from many athletes how they visualize that moment they win the race, stand on the podium and receive that medal. This visualization is something they do everyday! So, take your definition of gold and visualize it every day!


2.     Stretch yourself

An athlete only goes faster by pushing past their previous personal best, stretching themselves to their limits and pushing beyond.

When you reflect on your business performance, how often do you push yourself past your comfort zone? Or do you just do what feels comfortable?

This isn’t about doing things that terrify you but more about stepping gently out of your comfort zone everyday. Each time you step out of your comfort zone in one area, your whole comfort zone expands. And the bigger your comfort zone, the more you will feel comfortable doing. Over time those things that may scare you now, (or you have resistance too), won’t seem like that anymore – they will be just a part of what you do everyday.

An example could be that you want to distribute your beautiful product in Liberty, the gorgeous department store in London. But when you think of picking up the phone, or even emailing the relevant buyer, you shrink back and go into a downward spiral of negative self-talk. And you talk yourself out of it.

Imagine though if every week before the day you elect to call Liberty, that you had called smaller, regional stores. And that over time you had built that muscle of having a great discussion with the buyer and getting an appointment to see them. So that when you come to call Liberty, you will think of it as the next natural progression not a huge leap.

Stretching yourself can be done in small increments….the key thing is to do it!


3.     Get support

All athletes focused on winning gold have a support team. They will have a sports coach, a sports psychologist, a physiotherapist, a nutritionist and a manager. These people are focused on the athlete’s winning as much as the athlete themselves.

Who is supporting you? Who is there to give you that encouragement, to help you stay focused, to give you that honest feedback about your performance and who will make sure you are looking after yourself?

If you don’t have people already enabling you to be your very best – you need to get help now!

Think about getting a Coach, joining a supportive business focused network, finding a ‘business buddy” – someone you respect that you could use to bounce ideas off and give each other mutual encouragement, or join a mastermind group. There are so many options out there now, so try one on that will help you shine.


4.     Do it everyday

Rain, hail or shine elite athletes train everyday. They stretch themselves everyday. They visualize success everyday. They have a routine to get gold everyday.

What is yours? My routine is what I call my “Power Hour” – all my clients have heard me talk abut this….

Every morning I get up very early and have an hour to myself where I ‘power up’ for the day. I meditate, journal about my business and my life, give gratitude and visualize my goals. And I write my intentions for the day – typically those things I know I have to do to stretch myself…..

I know it works for me because when I don’t do it, life doesn’t flow as it normally does, things are harder to grasp. I feel clearer, more focused and activated!

Going for gold in your business can be fun, enjoyable and stretching. It will make that hard work and effort seem worth it. Imagine yourself achieving your version of gold and take steps towards it everyday. The world may not stop and watch as you compete but you will have the immense satisfaction of knowing that each day you have achieved your personal best.

Wendy Kerr

Director for The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Auckland University.The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is the hub for the development and promotion of innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurial activities within the University.We create experiential programmes, workshops and events to unleash the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, to transform the mindsets of our students and staff to support the growth of New Zealand as a prosperous and creative nation.

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.


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