Competing in the Olympic Games is no small feat. It is the pinnacle of one’s athletic career. Achieving the dream of competing in the Olympic requires tremendous dedication and sacrifices. While watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics, I fondly recall my Olympic journey leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Eighteen years later, a few of the principles that helped me achieve my dream of competing in the Olympics have served as the bedrock of my transition from an Olympic athlete to a lawyer and businessman. The following are 5 general principles that lawyers/businesspeople can learn from Olympians:
1) Loving What You Do: Most Olympians do not consider what they do as work. What they do as a living is the result of love for the sport or event. Like Olympians, lawyers must enjoy the practice of law and the business of law. Being a successful lawyer, and in some cases, a successful lawyer/businessperson requires you to love what you do and not see it as “work”.
2) Set a Goal, Have a Vision, and a Plan: Olympians create a vision of what they want to achieve. They have a blueprint on how they intend to accomplish that vision and goal. Lawyers, in turn, must have a vision of what they wish to accomplish over the course of time. In order to be successful, you must have a blueprint on how you plan to accomplish your vision and goals. Write your vision and make it plain.
3) Find a Mentor and/or Coach: Olympians seldom coach or mentor themselves to victory or world records. A lawyer needs a mentor/coach to not only bounce off legal ideas, but someone who can impart knowledge or wisdom gained over the years.
4) Never Fear the Competition: As an Olympic athlete, I enjoyed the thrill of competing against the best in my event. Some of my best races and fastest times were obtained when I raced against my stiffest competitions. Identify who your competition is and learn from them.
5) Practice, Practice, Practice: I am convinced that pure talent can only take you but so far in life. The recipe for success is practice. As a high hurdler, I spent many practice sessions perfecting my form and techniques over the hurdles. Repetition leads to habit and habit leads to mastery. Becoming a successful lawyer and business person takes continuous practice and mastering the basics of your concentration. A person will not achieve their true potential without practicing and mastering the basics of his or her profession.
As lawyers/businesspeople, you can achieve the ultimate goal of becoming the best in your field. Implement these simple principles and take your career to new heights.