Everyday Olympians: Heroes at Work


Olympians Among Us

I dragged my overweight body around the turn and my lumbering jog slowed to a walk. I breathed hard and thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing here?” Just then a much more athletic woman came up behind me. “You can do it” she prodded. Feeling a little embarrassed, I glanced at her and pleaded, “But I feel so old.”

“That’s all in your head,” she said as she slowed her pace to jog alongside me. Together we completed the next lap and headed back into the gym. I thanked her for her encouragement and we went about our workouts.

I didn’t really notice the woman again until a couple of weeks later when she spoke up as several of us were chatting about getting back in shape. She casually mentioned that she was once an Olympic diver. Wow, we’d been working out with an Olympian!

“Oh, that was years ago,” she said humbly, then went right back to being one of us.

An Undying Spirit

This new information about her background put the encouragement she offered me in a whole new context. She didn’t want to see me fail and she was willing to put her own goal aside to help me achieve mine. Sure, a lap around the gym isn’t really a big thing, but it was a big deal to me. Her Olympic spirit was still there, even if it was hidden deep down inside.

When you think about it, there are Olympians like this woman all around us, and often we don’t even notice. They may not have made a trip to the Olympics. In fact, many are not even athletes. They are the people on your team who work hard to achieve their own goals while also offering endless encouragement to their peers. They may emerge as leaders that everyone recognizes or they may lead more quietly, setting an example for others by consistently doing a great job.

Leadership, Not Limelight

These everyday Olympians are the people with the spirit and the dedication you need to keep your company going even when times get tough. They are the ones who innovate, who speak up when necessary to drive change, who stay the course when it’s easier to quit. You can find these heroes at work from the front line to the C-suite. They embrace your mission, support their peers, set a high standard, and don’t settle for good enough.

In spite of popular perception, these leaders aren’t always the stars. They’re not the charismatic people who capture a room the moment they walk in. For every Michael Phelps and Simone Biles, there are hundreds of Olympians who work just as hard without the spotlight shining on them. They do what they do because of inner drive and strong character. These people don’t magically appear in the limelight every four years, they show up every day in countless ways.

Heroes at Work

While the drama and excitement of the Olympics has passed, the everyday Olympians in your midst are still there, toiling away as champions do. Do you know who they are? If not, take a look around. Talk to your staff. Who are the unsung leaders and hidden heroes that keep your business humming?

Reward their efforts. Let them know you appreciate them. Give them encouragement to keep being the people you need them to be.  And most of all, keep them. They’re invaluable assets for your growing business.

Photo by Einar Hansen on FreeImages.com

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