You have been training for 15 years of your life. You have won a Gold medal in the Sydney Olympics & a sliver at the Beijing. You have just had a great swim, are in 15th place coming out of the water…things are going swimmingly. You are running your race, according to your game plan. You get up on your bike & start out of the gate, for the second part of your race. You’re feeling fresh & exicted; you even have the wind at your back. You race your bike up the hill & get ready to put your foot into your shoes.
You hit a speed bump. You crash & wipe out; your Olympic race is over. You watch the winner complete the race & receive the gold medal, as you sit in the medical tent.
For Simon Whitfield, this speed bump meant the messy ending to a terrific Olympic career. He shared, “I hit the speed bump just as I went to put my shoe on, I think. I hit on a funny angle and ended up crowd surfing, which is good for concerts and not so good for sport events.” Everyone has them at some point in their lives, a time when your life veers off of your own game plan. From getting laid-off, a frustrating job search, not being chosen for aleadership role, or not being accepted into the program you were hoping to enter.
Speed Bumps Hurt.
I thought of not just the physical pain that Simon was in, including a broken collar bone & a severe laceration to his foot, requiring stitches. I also thought of the emotional pain not only for Simon, but for all the other people in his life that were supporting him. “My breakdown moment was seeing my wife because I know how much Jennie puts into this and we’re a team and she’s put in so much sacrifice being at home a lot alone.”
Speed Bumps Can Teach.
Simon shared “It was hard to see my daughter upset, my wife upset and I was pretty upset. That means it means something doesn’t it?“
1. We all hit speed bumps in our careers – it’s not personal, it is part being a professional.
2. Take stock, deal with the reality of the situation, accept it, AND learn from it.
3. Start a new goal as soon as possible.
Speed Bumps Can Heal.
Simon stated “I don’t know that I ever dreamed of four Olympics, two medals and flag bearer, I’m absolutely blown away by the whole thing.”
When I first read his quote, I was stunned. I reread the quote to make sure that I had understood it correctly. Now THAT is a high performance athlete. It was obviously not the Olympic experience, that Simon was anticipating. I was so impressed by his forward looking perspective – from disaster to moving forward in less than 24 hours.
We have all had crash and burn experiences in our careers, but it’s our response to these issues that is the key. Well done Simon, we are proud of you! You have represented Canada well & have been a great example, to those of us who desire to reach our full potential.
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