There’s been plenty of talk about the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. But apart from the brouhaha, the medals, and the cheers, the Games show us that sports aren’t just entertainment; they are a metaphor for life.
Our athletes, their performance, and their mettle show us that there are lessons to be learnt everywhere. We list down the 5 key takeaways from India’s Commonwealth winners and how they can help improve your performance at the workplace.
Lesson #1: Keeping your eye on the ball is vital
Sushil Kumar, 34, won a record third gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, defeating South Africa’s Botha Johannes by technical superiority in men’s 74kg wrestling. It would have been easy for Sushil to rest on past laurels, but he chose to aim higher and became the most successful wrestler at the Commonwealth Games with three successive gold medals in different editions.
Tip: To avoid letting the complacency demon in, it’s important to keep pushing yourself and think several steps ahead. Work on improving your skill sets, ask for feedback, and aim to raise the bar higher.
Lesson #2: Performance depends on perseverance
Lifting 317kg in total, Sathish Kumar Sivalingam won against Jack Oliver from England and won India its third gold medal in weightlifting. But a few months earlier the 25-year-old from Vellore, Tamil Nadu, suffered an injury and there were doubts about a possible recurrence. However, Satish persevered with his training all through, and his determination helped him strike gold.
Tip: To keep persevering – especially through tough situations- it’s important not to lose sight of your vision. Embrace setbacks, take breaks, and stay optimistic as you work towards your goal. Over time, the power of perseverance is sure to swing things your way.
Lesson #3: Teamwork is integral to success
India won a historic gold in the badminton mixed-team event, defeating three-time defending champions Malaysia in the final. India also swept the table tennis team events – the men’s team clinched gold after a forceful 3-0 win over Nigeria, a day after Indian women stunned Singapore 3-1 to claim its first gold.
Tip: Be it a small two-member team or a larger one, working together is imperative for success in the workplace. Defining project vision and objectives, roles and responsibilities, and taking ownership can help encourage collaboration.
Lesson #4 Mental tenacity matters more than physical force
Indian double-trap shooter Shreyasi Singh clinched India’s 23rd gold – the high-point of her own career— by knocking out Australia’s Emma Cox for the perfect podium finish. Shooting star Heena Sidhu won her first individual Commonwealth gold, and her second medal at the Games, with a record-setting score of 38 in the women’s 25m pistol (Precision/Rapid) finals. They did this only by focusing on the task at hand. Research reveals that mental toughness — or “grit”— has a more important role to play than anything else for achieving your goals.
Tip: Mental toughness is like a muscle, and must be worked to grow and develop. It is about your habits, not your motivation, so it’s important to take small steps to get to the big destination. Define what you need to do at the workplace, and then set yourself small, achievable goals. Keeping stock – daily and weekly – keeps you on track.
Lesson #5: Believing in yourself will help you succeed
Sanjita Chanu, 24, from Manipur, won the second gold medal for India in the women’s 53kg category of the weightlifting competition. Sanjita, an Indian Railways employee, finished with a total of 192 kg and was placed first amid 14 competitors – her second gold in her Commonwealth Games career. Star weightlifter Mirabai Chanu also secured the first gold after a superlative performance in the woman’s 48kg category. The path to success wasn’t a cakewalk for these sportswomen, but their belief in themselves helped them find the way.
Tip: Building self-confidence isn’t easy, but it can be done. Push yourself out of your comfort zone by volunteering for a new project or event that will help build new skills. Assess your competencies and seek a mentor or colleague out for help on this front.