Have you wondered why you feel so tired lately? Is it the long winter nights? Is it the extensive hours you have been working? Have your young kids been keeping you awake? Or is it the fact that you have been struck down with the flu?
No! The reason we are so tired right now is because of the Olympics!
Late night viewing of running, rowing, swimming and throwing has meant we are lacking in sleep. Just a bit longer we say to ourselves and before we know it, it’s 2 o’ clock in the morning. And now the track and field has begun, well, we are all doomed to be tired for at least another week.
Friends and family in the UK tell me it’s great to host the Olympics but impossible to watch. Exciting events happen in their working day and during the summer months when watching TV is maybe not your first choice for a warm lazy evening. Here in the southern hemisphere however it’s perfect. We get home from work, we have dinner, we catch up with the sporting events that happened the night before, and then the live broadcasting begins. We get constant streaming of real live action from the ground. I have never watched so much rowing. Perfect, but tiring.
And all the time I watch I am in awe of the athletes. Not in awe of their physical fitness (that goes without saying) but in awe of their focus and commitment to their goals.
In the early swimming heats I heard a kiwi swimmer tell the Sky interviewer that sure he was disappointed he didn’t make it further, but that he would immediately be starting his training for Rio De Janero. What! But that’s four years away? How can he commit himself to such a distant goal so soon after not meeting the last? But then I guess it depends what his goal was, and it may have simply been to get to the Olympics. Our kiwi Lauren Boyle was just satisfied to be in the 400m freestyle so coming 8th was her personal best. She then smashed 3 seconds off her personal best in the 800m final.
Then there’s the rowing; the women’s pair Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh told the man from Sky that they set out for gold. If they had not gone out early and hard then they would not have achieved a medal at all. Through that strategy they got bronze. Not the gold they had trained every day for, but they did everything they could and crossed the line with an “empty tank” and a bronze medal. Compare that to the mens double sculls duo Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan. They set out for gold too, but they deliberately didn’t push themselves hard until the last 500m when they implemented their strategy to win. And they came home with gold. These are such varying approaches to goal setting, and to measures of success. Andrea Hewitt may not have got a medal she hoped for but she finished the triathlon in a better position than 2008, telling us she did all she could.
All this Olympic watching leads me to think (at 11 o clock at night!) about my approach to goal setting and measuring my success in my profession as a Business Psychology Consultant. Not around the longer term performance management journey, but the day-to-day operations of my role. How do I set my success measures? Are they conscious or subconscious? How do they fit with the team and the organisation? Do I give everything my absolute best? And how do I manage my disappointment if I don’t get to where I was aiming for? For me, it’s about doing everything I can to achieve my best and the goal for the team and the business. If I don’t win a tender, or I don’t get a repeat of some business, then I, like an athlete, will reflect and learn for next time. I may have gone hard out and my tank may be empty. I may save the best until last. I may get gold sometimes and other times no medal at all – but at least I know I have given complete focus and commitment, just like those athletes.
Enjoy the rest of the Olympics and reflections on your personal goals and commitment. And remember to get some sleep too.
Go the Kiwis!