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Monday, February 10, 2014

Think Like an Olympian

      Whenever the Olympics roll around we seem to get inundated with Olympic thinking and Gold Medal coaching articles. This year is no different, yet one article that caught my eye was written by an actual Olympian, not some journalists take on the Olympic mindset. Shannon Bahrke Happe is not only a three time Olympian she is a successful business owner. She shared with the top 10 things she learned while training for the Olympics that can just as easily be applied to running a successful business. Happe launched Silver Bean Coffee Company with her then fiance (now husband) Matt during some down time recovering from an injury. When you build your passion into your company you don’t have to buy into someone else’s dream, you can create your own. Building anything that’s going to have some staying power takes work and commitment whether it’s a relationship or an international company. The stakes may be different but the process is very similar. Here are her top ten lessons.
1.       Always have goals but make sure they are measurable. Begin with the end in mind and work backwards breaking the goal into smaller monthly and daily goals. Remember inch by inch it’s a cinch.
2.       Don’t get so blinded by the goal that you don’t enjoy the sights along the way. Some of the greatest lessons and certainly the best stories are from the journey.
3.       No matter whom you are speaking with don’t let your ego get too big to say please and thank you, with a smile.
4.       Surround yourself with the best and brightest.  IF you don’t know it, hire it.
5.       If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will. When those doubts creep in, and they will recommit 100%.
6.       Winners are those committed to the whole process, not just the fun stuff. The difference is often in doing the things others are not willing to do, or haven’t thought to do.
7.       Running yourself ragged doesn’t bring the gold. Rest and relaxation are just as important and can give you renewed perspective.
8.       Take care of yourself, seriously. Get enough rest, eat properly and stay hydrated to stay on top.
9.       Winning is great, but be humble. Especially in the Olympics, anything can happen and seconds can knock you off the podium. So be a gracious loser as well.
1.   You must once and for all get rid of your fear of failure. “To truly achieve greatness you must be 100 percent committed to either succeeding beyond your wildest dreams or going down in a great big ball of flames!”

              So as we all watch these Olympics with story after story of both the thrill of victory and agony of defeat we must remember that these athletes do not exist in a vacuum. Behind every athlete is a supportive network of people that they relied on to get where they are. No one succeeds alone. So as business people I ask who is in your network cheering you onto the finish. If you haven’t built your network yet it’s never too late. Being in business can be lonely. Building a support system of fellow professionals that can pick up a flag and wave you to the finish line is great for the health of your business. Because building a healthy business is smart marketing.

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