Friday, 18 May 2012
A couple of weekends ago saw thousands of fund raisers, celebrities, bosses, employees, students, teachers and politicians run, jog, limp and trot their way through the streets of London.
The London Marathon is a remarkable event, not only because of the sheer numbers involved but also because it brings people of all ages, abilities and beliefs together. Britain has been bitten by the athletics bug, and the Marathon heralded the beginning of a sporting season that will put the UK firmly in the international spotlight. With Wimbledon and, of course, the Olympics on the horizon, sportsmen and women are setting their sights on being the best of the best: shaving off another second, eking out that extra inch, honing their accuracy and building their strength.
With the cameras trained on the Olympic squad (one of the youngest and most promising yet), it is easy to take for granted the levels of organisation that are required to make it all happen. One of the most heartening things about the Marathon was the throng of people that lined the course from start to finish. From the teams that set up the cordons in the small hours, to the stewards manning the water stations, to the everyday Londoners who just turned out to cheer, the support for the athletes was overwhelming.
There have been worries this month that Heathrow isn’t ready for the sudden influx of thousands people coming to watch the games. The fear is that for many visitors from foreign shores, their first experience of the UK is going to be characterised by disorganisation and queuing. Some would argue that that’s the British way – but isn’t it time that we stopped being quite so down on Blighty? Self-deprecating humour might be a particularly British form of wit, but why do we have such a problem being proud of our country?
Unfortunately the term ‘national pride’ has somehow become synonymous with right-wing fanaticism, isolationism and cultural ignorance. In truth, we should be proud of our country, our home-grown athletes, our can-do attitude and our willingness to turn out and show support even in the driving rain. Lowering the expectations of those coming to watch the games by spouting about ‘inevitable travel chaos’ and organisational ineptitude not only takes away from the efforts of those who are working tirelessly to make it all happen, it also teaches aspiring young people that aiming for the top is a waste of time. If we don’t embrace the idea that there’s no shame in striving to be the best, in reaching for the heights of success, how will we ever move forward? The head coach of UK Athletics, Charles van Commenee, has a saying:
You don’t get people to jump higher by lowering the bar.
In a week in which we’ve been told that we’re back in recession, we’re all in need of a bit of inspiration. It may seem counterintuitive, but raising the bar, expecting more of yourself and your business and having faith in your ability to achieve what you set out to is the best way of beating the slump.
If you aim for the stars, then you might just land on the moon – or, you could find yourself taking the chances that no one else had the guts to and happening upon opportunities you had never thought would come your way.
Ignore the naysayers, aim as high as you dare, believe in yourself, and you will achieve it.
If you want to know more about what Tim does with small business owners, click Nigel Botterill's Entrepreneur's Circle for a link to the Entrepreneur's Circle. Tim teaches, supports, coaches and mentors small business owners to help them achieve super success in North Hampshire and South Berkshire.