Have the Olympics Lost Their Spirit?
The Olympics used to be a forum for amateur athletes to compete with their peers on the world stage, where winning really meant you had trained the hardest and were the best of the best. Now it seems that in many cases the medals go to the person or nation that has the best scientists or the most professional funding. With the lead up to this year’s Rio Olympics, publicity around cheating, and negative backlash, my answer to the question above was definitely no.
However, when this year’s events began, and we started showing the games at the Radius Logistics office during the day, I changed my mind. It was inspiring to see how our team pulled together to cheer for the Canadians, regardless of the sport or our chances of winning. It was great to see all of our employees, even those who had cheered for other countries in the Euro 2016 games a few weeks earlier, pull together and cheer for our Canadian athletes.
Seeing the feel good stories about athletes and all they have sacrificed to represent their country, and witnessing the pride they felt in achieving these life-long goals, reminded me that working hard can be its own reward. The same philosophy can be applied to business, as working to achieve our goals together as a company makes the work a little easier and the shared accomplishment much more satisfying.
There is also enormous value for our employees in watching athletes from all over the world sharing a common passion and respecting each other as competitors with an understanding for other cultures. We see every day at our office when team members deal with their counterparts and clients across North America and around the globe. For these few short weeks we all have something in common and it helps to build a bond that lasts long after the games are over.
So, maybe the Olympics are still relevant after all. They represent the lesson that a team working together towards a common goal is more important than any individual outcome. It articulates the fact that adversity is better faced with the support and strength of a team – and that winning really isn’t everything.
This principle matters in business too. We will all have days where we can’t win, where things happen that are out of our control. There are some pretty significant challenges that can happen in the world of Third Party Logistics, but even days when it seems every time we turn around we are losing, the team pulls together and remembers that we are in this together.
The Olympics represent the unification of individuals towards a common passion. The guiding principle being that “the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well”.
In watching this year’s games, I saw that this creed holds stronger than ever before, uniting both our office alongside the nation as a whole in support of a common spirit. It is a lesson we should not soon forget in our daily lives.