They've spent the majority of their lives training for one thing. Three-hundred and sixty days of every year, spent living, breathing, and being the sport. All they have ever known is the specific regimen built to perfect their body's performance. A tailored schedule, routine, and lifestyle set to prepare them for the greatest moment of their lives is their familiarity. Then it happens. The opportunity earned and the victory won. They dominated the game, smoked the competition, and made history along the way.
What's next? Where does the Olympic athlete go from here? Everything they toiled for accomplished and the goal achieved. Is there life after the win? Former British Olympic rower Elise Laverick Sherwell chats with the Muse about her post-Olympic career. Sherwell shares that very few spectators of the current games remember who won bronze in the Olympics before. Instead, we are all anticipating the new medalists who will take the place of past winners.
"Also, I don't completely want that recognition. I want recognition for being good at something, not having been good at something. How long do you live off of having been good at something when you no longer do it, and suddenly, there are people out there who are better than you?" she told the publication.
How long indeed? Sherwell's question isn't for the sportsman alone. As organizational leaders, one-track goals aren't enough. We must think beyond the victory and see life after the gold is won. Building a team of visionaries is a critical and necessary task. Developing plans that weigh the triumph while considering the win after the win creates room for the sequel.
Every organizational member is focused (or should be) on accomplishing defined objectives for their role and the company. Daily their labor is centered on making this happen. Their energy and time are given entirely over to seeing this through. As leaders, we're investigating along the way to measure progress. We're checking off the milestones met and modifying the road ahead to ensure we arrive at this one determined destination.
This approach isn't necessarily wrong, but it does fall short. The best way to keep the fans watching is to make certain we aren't yesterday's news. We want to continue to give them something to talk about. As one goal is conquered, be ready to run towards the finish line of the next. As leaders, our consistent mindset must be to innovate our last innovation.
Sherwell had to remind herself that she wasn't just a rower. She was more than the sport and had more in her to deliver to the world. This very mentality kicked in her search for her subsequent life. When the road to gold ended, it left a hole that created a grand canyon-sized unknown. For four years, Sherwell planned and executed each action for one cause. In the midst of that, she didn't envision beyond. Therefore, when she arrived at that crossroad, the correct path wasn't a simple step to make. Sherwell had to feel her way to the next big thing.
Your organization, your association, is more than this year's strategic goals. There is more to offer and give birth to. Your last marker is never your last. While you encourage, direct, and coach your team towards today's wins, do not end the vision there. Paint them a picture of what awaits past the finish. Ensure that there is another victory ahead as the road doesn't end but only leads to new beginnings.