What do Polar Bears and Olympic Ice Skaters have in Common?

As the Olympians return home and we all return to our regularly scheduled programs, it is hard to let the high of the Olympics end. Young people who have dedicated their lives to their craft going head to head to represent their country and their sport.  It is the dream of every child to reach this stage and seeing someone reach their life’s goal is always heartwarming and awe-inspiring.

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The sport that never ceases to amaze me is ice-skating. Unlike other sports where one races to show their skill or is relying on teamwork and communication for success, ice-skating is solely on the one ice skater and how they mentally approach the entire routine.  Most of these skaters have been skating since they could walk.  They practice for hours a day, every day, perfecting their jumps and spins.  Yet after all their hard work, all the repetition and all the skills they have acquired, they still fall.  Even during competition on moves they have nailed hundreds of times before, they will fall on the ice in front of millions of global viewers.  But the truly amazing thing is after they stumble, they get back up and finish the routine all while portraying the emotion of the song they are skating to.  They accept stumbling and falling as a part of what happens in their sport and continue on.  At the end of their routine they beam up at the audience, proud of what they have just accomplished.  Even the medalists trip and fall yet they push through to become Olympic Champions.  Their determination and acceptance of errors is what makes these Olympians stand out and be successful in the sport of ice-skating.

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I believe the same approach must be made in multiple facets of one’s life.  This is especially true in one’s professional life. As someone at the beginning of their career, it is easy to get discouraged from mistakes and rejection.  Applying to multiple jobs or internships only to hear a no or worse, no response.  Your resume may be impressive and you could have prepared for the interview, but sometimes you stumble.  You might not have been what the company was looking for but that’s just part of the game.  In the sport of job hunting, there are many competitors fighting for that coveted job.  You might practice and perfect your skills and resume, but during the interview, you might stumble.  You can either get down on yourself and throw away any opportunity of getting the job, or you can smile and get right back up.  There is still the possibility of nailing the rest of the interview and it will demonstrate perseverance and adaptability.  If you do not get the particular job you want, you cannot get down on yourself.  Instead of focusing on the mistakes and failures, think of the next jump in your routine, think of the next job opportunity that you can use your skills to achieve.  Even if you trip and fall, there is always another chance around the corner.

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Something that Olympic Ice-Skaters have accepted is that failures and mistakes are a part of their sport.  No matter how many times they practice or how prepared they might be, mistakes will happen.  One just needs the mentality of accepting this and getting back into the game rather than sitting on the cold ice.  If the first stumble shakes you too much, you will never be able to successfully nail the next event.  Life is full of trips and stumbles, but to succeed you have to get back up and smile like a champion.

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