Summer Heroes

I’m loving watching the Summer Olympics right now. Makes you wish it could happen every summer because it makes for such good TV. Commercials are good (the ones with Lance Armstrong were exceptional.) Even the quality of stories in the newspapers and on the evening news improves as everyone tunes in: when there’s some controversy the tone trends to “come on guys, we can take the high road here.” We seem to be much more forgiving and understanding of Olympic athletes than we are of paid professional ones – even though we’re aware of the very lucrative result possible for both of them.

This has been a wonderful summer of heroes and of heroic teams. It all started with Lance Armstrong in July and the Tour de France – like many of you I was captivated by the whole thing. In addition to the amazing triumph of Armstrong’s record sixth win there was the well-deserved recognition given to his U.S. Postal team: at the time, I thought, this has to be one of the greatest stories of teamwork in recent memory.

Then a mere month or so later, we witness the glory of Paul Hamm as the comeback king: this is my new Ho‘omau coaching story on persistence and what happens when you don’t quit – never count yourself out! Don’t listen to the background noise of observers who aren’t as engaged as you are: instead, listen to the voice in your own head urging you on. Paul Hamm has given us magnificent inspiration on how you get up again when you’ve fallen down: it’s a visual to inscribe in your brain.

In these past two days we’ve watched swimmer Michael Phelps’ evolution as the consummate generous champion: the stories about him giving up his relay spot are the kind you cut out and paste on the refrigerator door so the kids will read it. On the slim chance you’ve missed some of the good ones, here’s one I like.

Our summer heroes are giving us inspiration in bushels: talk about their stories with your staff. Promote your own day-to-day stories of performance and teamwork seen within your ranks: I’m sure you have them. Right now the Olympics can inspire, but we all can taste the sweetness of success: celebrate your victories.