What can we learn from the Winter Olympics?


The Cash RoomI don’t know about you, but I have been glued to the Winter Olympics for the last couple of weeks. Being sports mad, I knew I would follow certain events, but as with any Olympic Games, I have found myself watching sports I wasn’t previously familiar with, and learning a lot more about certain others. Who knew what a hog line was before last week?!

It has been a fantastic event for many reasons, and the Team GB performances have, on the whole, been very good. Of course there have been a few results, or late injuries to our team members, that have not gone our way, but that’s sport for you – if it was predictable, we wouldn’t find it so compelling. And poor Elise Christie…again!

The standout performance, so far anyway, was Lizzie Yarnold’s successful defence of her Olympic title in the Skeleton. After winning Gold in Sochi 4 years ago, she had some time out from the sport, and only really had moderate success on her return to the scene. However, she certainly showed her ability to rise to the biggest of occasions on Saturday, setting a new course record in her final run, to take Gold.

So what is my point? What can we learn from this? Well, the point worth noting is that Lizzie was not always a skeleton athlete. She wanted to be a heptathlete, after watching Denise Lewis win Gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was busy training and competing in that sport, a world away from the icy skeleton tracks, when she was identified by a UK Sport talent identification scheme as having potential for the very different sport of Skeleton. Of course, she has now seen that pay huge dividends, and I would doubt has a single regret, but think about the courage it must have taken at the outset to turn her back on the sport she was so passionate about, and pursue one that she had never even tried! I’m certain that Lizzie would have weighed up the prospects of continuing with heptathlon, as against pursuing a new sport, looking at all the pros and cons, and assessing the best and worst case scenarios, before making a decision.

And so my point is, sometimes taking a risk is scary, but ultimately worth it in the long run. Lawyers are, in general – by virtue of their nature, and their training – quite risk averse. However, sometimes taking a calculated risk maybe the best thing you could do. Whether it is choosing to cease acting for a client that is not paying their fees, taking office premises in a new city, or starting to use some automation to create efficiencies in your processes, if you weigh up all the factors, and take a calculated risk, you may well be pleasantly surprised in the longer term.

You may not win an Olympic Gold medal, but perhaps making more money, having a more diverse income stream, or seeing your business scale, would be a reasonable outcome.

 

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