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Attitude is a Small Thing That Makes a Big Difference

On Tuesday 16th June, three-time Olympian, World and European Championship finalist and UK Javelin Champion Goldie Sayers came in and spoke to the London office about her experiences and launched GMR Marketing’s GLOW initiative.

Goldie’s presentation took the GMR team on a journey from picking up her first javelin at the age of 13 through to her hopes of success in Rio next year. The speech also provided advice and inspiration for all employees to apply to their work and personal life.

Goldie on the worst decision of her entire career

“I was in the best shape of my life going in to the London 2012 Olympic Games and was consistently finishing in the top 3 in the Diamond League. 3 weeks prior to The Games, I broke the British record (66.17m) at Crystal Palace in the first 3 rounds and put myself comfortably in the lead. Despite not needing to throw again, I noticed a technical hitch that I wanted to work on so decided to have one last throw before the Olympic Games. The resulting throw led to a partial tear of my elbow which ultimately cost me the opportunity to compete properly at London 2012.”

Goldie fought back and captained Team GB at the 2014 European Games and led them to a record medal haul. Many athletes have been publicly quoted as saying the team success was partly down to Goldie’s inspirational speech on the eve of the Championships.

What else has Goldie learnt from 15 years of professional sport that can be applied to other areas of life or business?

1. Have a goal or a dream

My goal has always been to go to the Olympics and win an Olympic medal.

You have to have a dream you are incredibly passionate about. If you have a dream that is just something you are relatively excited about but you’re not really inspired about it, when obstacles get in the way… you often can’t see that dream or goal behind the obstacle and the goal will disappear.

If you have a dream you are incredibly passionate about and something that really inspires you, it can actually be a little bit scary. When the obstacle gets in the way you will find any which way to get around the obstacle to achieve your goal.

2. Work hard

With having a big dream or inspiring goal it is inevitable you’re going to have to work hard. I don’t know anyone in athletics who hasn’t had to work extremely hard.

To successfully compete at a major championship, athletes have to train 5-6 days a week which equates to 1,764 hours of training every year. In an Olympic cycle, that’s over 7,056 hours of training to compete at an Olympic Games. If you have a bad Olympics, all of this training could be for just 3 throws, 14 seconds of activity. As a business proposition, that is crazy!

3. Perseverance is critical

There are far more downs than ups but when you achieve a goal you set yourself all those downs are worth the one up you get in an Olympic cycle.

Jess Ennis broke her foot and didn’t compete in the Beijing Olympics but went on to win in London, Mo Farah didn’t make the final in Beijing but won in London and Greg Rutherford who has been plagued with injuries, has managed to take his opportunities and win medals.

4. Grasp the opportunity

I had no idea that at the age of 13 I was being offered a career in sport. I could have easily not taken the javelin home, particularly as I preferred ball games, but I took the opportunity and wound up 20 years later going to 3 Olympic Games. Athletics was always the one sport I thought I would never be able to compete in for my country. The Olympics seemed so far removed from school sports day.

Often opportunities arise and present themselves as hard work and sometimes we say we can’t be bothered, or don’t have time, or we lack a bit of self-belief and thinking you can actually achieve that or take the opportunity. All the successful people I know, I see them a bit like swans. They look very serene and know exactly what they are doing on the surface but they are kicking like hell underneath to achieve what they want.

Often in the case of injury or when disaster strikes, you have to see those obstacles as opportunities. In my case, the elbow surgery has actually given me a faster release speed.

5. Attitude

Attitude is a small, controllable thing but makes a huge difference. My favourite quote which sums it up is “the only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Having trained with a lot of the Paralympic athletes I know that is definitely the case.

Success is purely down to luck, ask any failure.

Goldie on women in sport

We need more female editors so that women get more coverage in the media. We also need to get more women’s sport on TV generally because kids need role models. Celebrity is massive, and when you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, they just want to be famous. They should become passionate about something or invest in something and get good at it.

We also need to get sports people in to the lifestyle pages. If you knew what a lot of female athletes do off the track a lot of guys would be amazed. Once you get to know athlete’s people are more likely to follow them.

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