Mills: Striving for gold is what matters

The world of work offers its own kind of competition. Despite our best efforts sometimes we lose out to others.

Two weeks of amazing feats in the world of sports culminated in a glorious gold medal win in men’s hockey on Sunday.

It was a brilliant bookend to the one earned by our women’s team.

All of our Canadian athletes—whether they won medals or not—did our country proud during these Winter Olympics.

We expect our athletes, as ambassadors of Canada, to put forth their very best effort, to behave professionally and to be gracious in victory or defeat.

With rare exceptions, they do.  Competing on an Olympic stage is a pretty spectacular feat for anyone—and going for gold is a lot of pressure and it can be hard to keep it together.

In sports and in life our true character is revealed not in how we handle the big wins, but in how we respond when we fall short.

That is when we are truly tested, to applaud excellence in others, to celebrate our own efforts, to learn from disappointment and to try again.

Just as star athletes make breathtaking performances seem effortless, some people have a smoother ride toward their career goals.

For the majority though, it is more of a bumpy road, with some stumbles and falls along the way.

The trick is to stand up, brush ourselves off and get back in the game.

The world of work offers its own kind of competition.

There are jobs we set our sights on and prepare ourselves for with education, training, and practical experience until we feel ready to do it.

Despite our best efforts to put ourselves in the running for a prized job there will simply be situations when we lose out to others who are more qualified or better suited for it.

Or maybe it’s just not our time. Perhaps we still need to hone our abilities and be more competitive in the sense of striving to get better.

Resilience helps us to bounce back and create another opportunity to reach our goal.

Getting to that point requires commitment, discipline, perseverance and a high degree of optimism—qualities inspired by our professional athletes.

Career success is a journey not a destination.

There is no Olympic medal at stake so we can experiment, be bold, pursue a career that suits us, set goals and work towards them.

We also need to surround ourselves with people who support us and can spur us on when the going gets tough.

Once we settle on a career path it serves us well to be diligent about becoming very, very good at what we do.

Striving for excellence is a great way to unleash our potential.

When we consistently aim for high standards of performance it challenges our colleagues and our competitors to do the same. That’s a win for everyone.


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