5 Career Lessons from the Olympics

Watching the Olympics can teach even the most driven nurse something new. Viewing the awesome physical feats is stunning, but even more amazing is the invisible, but so apparent, mental focus of these singularly intense world-class athletes. Watching the Olympic games is bearing witness to talent, determination, and sheer grit. We can all take a way a little of that to inspire us to strive to our fullest potential.

1. Half the Battle Is in Your Head

All these athletes think they can do what it takes to win the gold. They know their skills are some of the world's best and have not only worked to fine-tune those skills, but grappled with and won the nagging self doubt we all face. Their mental preparation is just as intense, vigorous, and difficult to overcome as the physical rigors.

2. Practice Gets You Everywhere

That said, being mentally prepared for a task or a challenge won't help if you don't have the credentials to back it up. Olympic contenders train for years to do what they do so they are ready. Nurses do the same. Telling yourself you can do whatever it takes to achieve your goals is going to get you far; learning new skills will take you the rest of the way.

3. Position Yourself for Greatness

There are probably some Olympic-level athletes who just never got on the road to the Olympics at the right time. Either they thought they couldn't do it, didn't know the way to go, or just never connected with the people who could help them get there. If you want your career to reach new heights, you have to know how to get on the right road. Seek out people and experiences who can nudge you forward at the right time.

4. Get Up When You Fall Down and Don't Look Back

Anyone who falls or falters during the most important competition of their lives is going to be unhappy about it. But we still see them get up, brush off, and get right back into the game. We see them continue, more determined than ever, and undeterred. We all blunder, but people often remember how you react after you make a mistake more than they remember the mistake. Falter with grace and let it light a fire under you to do better not just the next time, but every time.

5. Accept the Accolades

Medal winners take pride in their accomplishments. And even if your promotion or great review isn't seen by millions, it is yours and you earned it. Live with that great feedback for a while and revel in the results of your hard work. If you are part of a team, share the accolades freely. But then let that feedback make you want to do more. Like the athletes have learned, you can get hooked on doing better, lifting up yourself and everyone around you in the process.

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