As I was watching the men’s figure skating finals at the winter Olympics, it became apparent to me that we weren’t in for a night of stellar performances. None of the finalists skated “clean,” there were no flawless performances; instead it appeared to be a contest of who would fail less. It’s impossible to compare one pressure-packed situation to another, but these athletes get a crack at winning an Olympic medal only every 4 years. There’s no next day, week, month or year; it’s win today, and if not, go home and dive into the long-haul preparation with an eye on winning the next time the elite of the world come together on the biggest stage these competitors face.
There’s a message here for all of us. Getting onto the podium in everyday life doesn’t mean wowing the judges and having to blow away the competition. It means minimizing mistakes and eyeing the prize you’re seeking with an attitude that success is getting what you want – not having to perform “clean,” pummel the competition and make it perfect. It NEVER will be perfect.
A tenth of a point victory still gets you that job, wins you that audition, rewards you that contract. So celebrate as much as if you had lapped the field.