Carla Macleod is a defense woman for the Canadian women’s gold-medal winning hockey team. I met her at a luncheon where she was speaking about what it takes to be successful. Here are the strategies she shared for winning gold in business.
#1: Hope is not a strategy
Carla first fell in love with hockey as a teenager. She played hockey endlessly, hoping of one day getting onto the World Cup team. Carla had passion for her sport, drive, determination and a willingness to play hard. She thought she had all the necessary ingredients for one day making the team. Carla caught the attention of the World Cup coaches and was considered for the team twice. And twice she was passed over. Carla learned that hard work and hope is not enough to achieve success. She realized she needed to set an intention and support it with a plan.
Many business owners start their business because they are passionate about something. They work hard and they hope for success. Unfortunately, this strategy often leads to exhaustion, burnout, estranged relationships, financial ruin and shattered dreams.
#2: Set an intention, within your control, and set a measure of success
A few years later Carla was chosen for the World Cup Hockey Team, and then she was training for the Canadian Women’s Olympic Team. When Carla shared her story about preparing for the Olympics, she said the team set an intention not to win gold, but to be the best prepared team amongst their competition. They set this intention because they knew they could control the outcome of preparedness. Carla reminded us that in the end, hockey is a game and that winning can go either way based on the referees, the skill of the other players, and feeling “on” or “off” any particular day. Many of those factors were beyond their control. What they could control was their training and how well prepared they were, physically, mentally and emotionally for the game.
Setting an intention means setting a goal, with a plan for execution. What’s your intention for your business in the next 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? What’s the most important business project you need to focus on? How will you measure success of this intention? What action steps will you take to achieve the goal?
#3: Develop new habits
To prepare for the Olympics, Carla and her teammates adhered to a grueling training schedule. The team members were brought together in an isolated location for their coaches’ version of “Olympic Boot-camp”. The training program was designed to help every member of the team develop and strengthen excellent habits.
Many entrepreneurs exhibit destructive habits (often stress-coping mechanisms) that sabotage success. In regards to the intention you have set for yourself, what new habit do you need to develop in order to achieve your intention?
#4: Get support
A fundamental element of Carla’s success and the success of the entire Olympic team, was that the girls had support. I’ve talked with many Olympians and every one I’ve met has been extremely grateful for the support they received from family, friends and especially their many coaches.
Why do so many entrepreneurs think they have to go it alone? Elite athletes tell us time and again that success does not happen in isolation. It happens from enrolling others in supporting us, and our vision.
Who will you ask to support you in achieving your stated intention? Do you need a mentor? A consultant? A coach? What kind of support do you need? Do you need fresh perspective? Or accountability?
#5: Manage yourself effectively
Carla, high performance athletes and successful entrepreneurs know that the most challenging and powerful key element to success is learning to master your self. Learning to master our internal mental and emotional game makes all the difference in achieving success! Roadblocks are going to show up as we pursue our intentions. When we hit these walls, it’s easy to step down, play small and sabotage our best-laid intentions. Mastering how to lead our selves separates the elite performers from the wanna-be’s.
#6: Stay committed to your intention
Carla had a one-time goal of playing in the Olympics. She committed to working hard and getting support for a set period of time, and she won gold. Entrepreneurs; your Olympics is your business, and you live it every day for years and decades! Your success will be determined by your commitment to the intentions you set, the habits you develop, the support you seek and the coaching you invest in to master your internal game and keep you stretching to new heights.
Plan your performance like an Olympian and may you win gold in business and life!