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Susan M. Heathfield

If You Knew You Couldn't Fail...

By February 18, 2010

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"What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Robert H. Schuller asks a great question and, in one of the top Vancouver Olympic moments of 2010, Shaun White, snowboarding Halfpipe 2006 gold medalist, asked himself the same question.

Then, he dug deep inside of himself and performed as if he knew he could not fail.

Earning a 46.8 (out of 50) on his first run, he had earned the gold medal, assuming his challengers scored lower. When all of the contestants had taken their second runs, and Shaun's score continued to earn him the gold medal, he could have walked; danced; done a ceremonial, easy run; or anything he wanted. What did he choose to do?

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? He did a second run that earned him a 48.4 as he riskily tried out some of the newer moves that are defining his sport. What did Shaun do when he knew he couldn't fail? He pushed himself to do even more.

According to Olympics Fanhouse: "He exploded out of the chute, zipped up the massive structure, going higher, higher, and absurdly even higher, twisting sideways, slantways, and then here it came, the beyond dangerous, spiral Double McTwist 1260 he invented earlier this winter on the private halfpipe Red Bull built him. He has said it's the hardest trick he's ever done, a double-flipping, 3.5-spinning extravaganza that winds him into a human pretzel... 'I wanted a victory lap that would be remembered,' White said. 'I achieved that.'"

Each of the Olympic medal winners like Shaun, and Lindsey Vonn (gold) and Julia Mancuso (two silvers) in downhill skiing, and Evan Lysacek, gold in Figure Skating, dedicated years of practice and devotion to achieve top performance in their sports. Can you emulate them in your own work?

Questions for Work Success

In the midst of the 2010 winter Olympics, here are questions that each of you might want to consider. Your answers say a lot about who you are, how you work, how you get along with other work players, and they highlight our methods, innovations and contributions on the playing field.

  • What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
  • How many years are you willing to invest to achieve your goals?
  • Are you a follower or does your work define your game, project, or industry?
  • Do you play well with others so team mates are happy when you win? (If not me - you.)
  • Does the camaraderie you exhibit with your team members make all of you more successful? Or does it emphasize failure, remorse, and excuses?
  • Does your interaction with your coach bring out the best in you, challenge you to do and accomplish more, and provide recognition as you conquer each new mountain?

Find more Olympics coverage and the schedule.

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