Sunday, 12 August 2012

5 Lessons in success, emotion & celebration.

Over the summer of 2012 London has played host to what is often billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth", but as we shared the closing ceremony with the rest of the world, what did we in the UK learn, where will the legacy be and how can the positive energy be maintained?

It is my opinion that the TeamGB representatives have taught us all us Brit's a huge series of lessons, this is not to diminish what we can learn from the equally committed athletes from other country's, but here in the UK the home teams message is perhaps the most relevant.

So what can we take from those two incredible weeks and how do we deliver the much talked about legacy?  I'd like to offer my first thoughts and four learns that I have perceived:

  • Lesson one for me is that it is OK to celebrate success; something here in the UK we are not good at.  In doing this we attract the attention of the young, we create a positive feeling and present to the outside world what a great place Britain is to work, live and play.
  • Lesson two as far as I'm concerned is that it is the right thing to show your emotion when you win or loose.  Here in the UK, for too long, we have suppressed our emotions.  If it means that much to some one they should have the right to put that on show.  This across the games has allowed us as the audience to better understand what the athletes go through; win or loose and don't we go with them on that journey as a result?  This emotional engagements means we more likely to engage and support them in the future - lessons there for business owners perhaps in showing how passionate they are about their business?
  • Lesson three is around how to celebrate your success.  After letting go the emotions, after all the effort and hard work, came the humility and modesty in front of the media.  Recognition of the support from the rest of TeamGB, funding from the government/lottery, the supporters, and of course the other competitors.  No arrogance, no "swagger".  I have felt truly humbled by the way the athletes from across the world have reacted to winning a medal, or just being "allowed"to take part.  It has been their honour to represent their people, not a right.
  • Lesson four is that the British have been reminded that life is about competition, winning and learning.  Yes learning not losing.  Learning because the pain of not winning teaches us whether what we were perusing;  was really that important to us; is of high enough importance to continue to fight for; requires dedication, hard work, support, planning, passion, action and skills to obtain.
  • Lesson five is broader.  These games have captured the attention of a large part of the country.  Across age, gender and background.  I believe the reason for this is that not only did Team GB out perform, not only did the athletes show us how to display our emotions; celebrate success; how to be a "good" competitor, but we could all see them do this without having to pay.  This last point is important.  In a family where the budget controllers have no sporting interest they are unlikely to facilitate access to pay to view sports.  This means that children in these households are underexposed to sport as the free to access channels are showing less.  For legacy to deliver more Mo Farrahs, Rebbeca Adlingtons, Tom Daleys etc; surely we need greater visibility of a bigger range of sports.


So where next?  Funding for team GB through to 2016 is in place; a change in Physical Education delivery in primary schools is promised; but this must be coupled with more support for local clubs and the volunteers who run them.  Then we may see a sporting legacy, the wider legacy needs to be cultivated through commerce, voluntary organisations and government at all levels.

It is fairly well recognised that success breeds success, less well known though is that momentum attracts outcomes of a similar nature, be they good or bad - the UK now needs to maintain the momentum generated by London 2012 and attract more success, continue the feel good factor and ride the wave forward.

We will get that opportunity to start to do this with the Paralympics in a few days time, this is not some side show, but a genuine demonstration of human spirit, commitment and positiveness being deployed to achieve, to win and to be successful.

Two weeks of proof that with passion and action it is possible to make anything you really desire happen!!