The London Olympics showcased spectacular effort, achievement, and competitive spirit. Preparing for the majority of their lives for a 2-3 minute opportunity, makes the performance of Olympic athletes inspiring and should motivate us all to do more, commit more, and sacrifice more.
Unlike business however, the Olympics has a definitive beginning and end. Last night’s closing ceremony concluded seventeen fantastic days of competition. Conversely, business does not have a closing ceremony or an off season. Every day matters in business and everyday is a competition. Business is a grueling and never-ending cycle.
The never-ending business season stands in stark contrast to the sustained intensity of the successful business person and the performance intensity of a gold medal winning Olympian.
Rating intensity on a scale of 1-10, the triumphant Olympic athlete operates at a personal 10 during the competition. In business with no off-season however, operating at a personal 10 is unsustainable. Motivated by Olympic euphoria, the delusional business person might crank up the intensity to 10. Like a runner who sets out too quickly, the euphoric and delusional business person’s intensity quickly fades and falls to the back of the pack. The short-term business sprinter is inconsistent, unreliable, and frustrating to work with.
Succeeding in business does not require a perfect 10. In fact, winning in business requires operating, consistently, at an intensity level of 8. The everyday 8 wins the gold medal in business.