What’s more impressive about our Olympic athletes: their medals or their journeys?

Curium | 05 Aug 2016 | News | General


Usain Bolt

9:58 seconds; 20 under; 91 career wins.

Being an accountant, I have an affinity for numbers. Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods (plus Henrik Stenson) and Michael Schumacher have all graced the record books with world records so impressive that they seem to defy logic. There is a high probability that new faces and new records will be set at the Rio Olympics, which as I write will be gracing our screens in a matter of hours.

Yet 9.58 seconds is really just a number. Dig a little behind this and you will see a journey lasting years; full of commitment, highs, lows and immense sacrifice. The current Virgin Media advert featuring Usain Bolt sums this up perfectly.

‘This is what 9:58 seconds feels like’.

Early starts, pushing your body to the absolute limit and sacrificing family and friends for the sport is a trend among all champions. Yet the end result is played out in front of billions across the globe and is often an example of how a result can overlook the journey. More modest results often have a story too. Take the movie ‘Eddie the Eagle’. Here was a young man with incredible amounts of bravery and determination. Eddie will always be known for his short distance ski jumps and comedic persona yet he too trained, sacrificed and faced the highs and lows experienced by Usain Bolt.

In short, every individual and, indeed, business has a journey behind their respective results.

I am no different, and I can see that when I haven’t delivered a personal goal, it’s because I’ve neglected the necessary investment in the journey to get me there. Past goals that fall into this category include:

  • To learn the piano
  • To learn Spanish
  • To break 100 in golf
  • To reduce my bodyweight back to my university days of 12.5 stone
  • To start go carting


In each case, I focused only on the end goal and didn’t consider the component parts of the journey: things such as diet, practice, research and commitment. I wanted the end game but, unlike Usain and Eddie, I didn’t truly invest in getting there.

I have revisited my fourth goal recently and have taken a different approach to the journey. Gone is the infatuation of reaching my target in a short amount of time: I have given myself three months. Gone is the repetitive nature of treadmill running: I now mix up my training with runs, mini circuits and weights. Yes, my goal hasn’t changed but my outlook toward it has (and the feeling of fitting into my clothes better is positive reinforcement!).

Maybe it sounds clichéd, but we can learn a lot from the world’s greatest sportsmen. Yes, they have raw talent, but what’s really got them to where they are is their journey: it’s their dedication, focus, mindset and discipline that are the true levers to their success. So, when I’m watching the world’s greatest athletes over the next few weeks, it’s not the 9.58 seconds that really impress me, it’s the thought of everything that they’ve put into getting there that I find truly inspiring.

Looking ahead, as we prepare to move to a new HQ and embrace the next stage of our growth, Curium as a business has clear goals in mind. The important thing is to embrace the journey to get there so that, once we’re there, we can look back and never forget what 9.58 seconds feels like.

If you’ve missed the Virgin Media advert, you can find it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdGQ43smLoc

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