A Few Business Lessons We Can Learn from Canadian Gold Medalists

The Olympics are a great time to show your stripes and be proud of your countries fine athletes. The 2010 Winter Olympics started off with a blunder. The Olympics wardrobe torch malfunction was seen by millions of people all over the world. For many Canadians the Olympics started as more of a slap in the face than anything – going days without any gold medals.

Even after tragedy and disaster however, Canadians all over the country stood united behind their athletes. Canadians everywhere realized that it wasn’t about how you start – Its about how you finish. And they finished, with a bang.

Throughout the Olympics there were several moments that will never be forgotten. From crashes to emotional victories and defeats. They all mean something to someone, somewhere. Here are some of the greatest moments from the 2010 Winter Olympic games and a few business lessons that can be taken from them.

Bilodeau Wins

Show Your Passion

The greatest athletes in the world come to the Olympic games. Some of these athletes train together on the regular and when it comes to god-given talent a lot of these players are pretty even. Often times the only difference between coming home with nothing and coming home with it all is who wants it more. If you are passionate about your craft you will give it everything you’ve got. Gary Vaynerchuk put it this way,

“Don’t worry; skills are cheap, passion is priceless. If you’re passionate about your content and you know it and do it better than anyone else, even with few formal business skills you have the potential to create a million-dollar business.”

Passion cant be faked. You’re either passionate about something or not. If you aren’t passionate you’ll eventually run out of gas.  It was seen throughout the Olympics when some athletes just didn’t have the drive to push themselves that extra mile. Fans cheer for those who are passionate because someone who is passionate puts everything they’ve got into their passion.

Anyone can claim to be a Personal Branding Coach. Anyone can say they want a goal medal. But only those who truly believe in what they’re doing and have the passion to keep on pushing – will be able to turn that passion into gold.

Party Now – Apologize Later

Canada’s womens hockey team celebrated their 2-0 victory over the US with style. A Sports Illustrated reporter chimed in about the celebration saying that it was the “most authentically cool celebration” they had ever seen at the games. The team went on the ice and drank beer, smoked a couple cigars, drove zambonis and like most sports they popped champagne.

They knew what they were doing was risky. They knew that there COULD be consequences.  They did it anyways. They did it and lived for the moment. They weren’t afraid of the criticism that followed. And while the majority of them agreed with the public that the whole thing was blown out of proportion – They were classy enough to apologize anyways.

Star player Haley Wickenheiser said,

Its  a tradition in Hockey that when you win in Hockey you celebrate with cigars and champagne. Its been in the Men’s game and the Stanley cup finals…to me this is way blown out  of proportion and everyone just needs to calm down.

If criticism is holding you back from taking a risk or going against status quo – consider this a wake up call. These ladies weren’t afraid of the criticism and you shouldn’t be either. Its always easier to beg for forgiveness than it is to get permission.

If it can’t hurt anyone – take a risk with your blog, your project, your company just ask for forgiveness later.

There is only one person who can claim to be the First Canadian to win gold on Canada’s soil. There is only one Seth Godin. There is only one Jon Montgomery. You cant build your brand by trying to be someone else. You can learn from them. But you cannot become them. You must be yourself and most importantly be authentic.

The picture above shows Jon Montgomery chugging back a pitcher of beer after winning his forth Gold Medal. One of his fans passed him the beer and like a true Canadian he couldn’t refuse a free drink. When it comes to authenticity, Montgomery is the poster boy. He has been called by other athletes the life of the Party while in Whistler and he’s not ashamed of it.

While tons of athletes have won gold medals, how many have been invited to be on Oprah? Montgomery was invited to appear on the show not only because he’s a great Athlete but because he’s authentic. Today you can either be another face in the crowd and or show the world who you truly are and why you’re worth talking about.

The Olympic Games came and left faster than I thought. With the closing ceremonies behind us we now have nothing but memories. While the objective of the games is to bring home the most hardware I think its fair to say that what we will all remember most about the games are the moments and not the numbers. If that means remembering where you were when Shaun White landed his crazy jump or who you high fived when Sidney Crosby scored the final goal. It will be the moments that we cherish…

Cheers to the Olympic Games and congratulations to all the athletes.

From Canada…we now send the torch to Russia. See ya in 4 years.

What did you learn from the Olympic Games that can be applied to business or your everyday life?

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