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Want Success? – Take a Lesson From Lindsey Vonn
Did you watch the Olympics on Wednesday night? The Americans did quite well, winning gold medals in skiing — Lindsey Vonn, speed skating — Shani Davis and snowboarding — Shaun White. Good for them. Their years of training, hard work and dedication paid off.
In this post I want to focus on Lindsey Vonn. She lives in Vail, my favorite Colorado mountain town. I live and do my job as a career success coach in Denver, so I think of her as a neighbor. More importantly, I find her story compelling. At the moment, she is the best cross-country skier in the world. Over the past three seasons, she became the first American woman to win two overall World Cup titles and won two gold medals at last year’s world championships.
She won five of the six downhill events at this year’s Skiing World Cup. Downhill is the fascinating race of skis. It is fast and dangerous. Downhillers, men and women, are the big guns in the sport. Yesterday, Lindsey Vonn won Olympic downhill gold. But she almost didn’t make it to the race.
A few weeks ago, she had a bad fall and bruised her leg. On Monday, after her downhill training run, when she was in so much pain, she could barely get out of the gate — a necessary prerequisite to qualify for the race. She wasn’t sure she could compete.
I know a little bit about deep bone bruises in the legs. In 1973, I badly bruised my left leg in a rugby match. My leg turned the most amazing colors — black, blue, yellow, green — from ankle to thigh. My lower leg was the size of my thigh, which is very large. I was on crutches for two weeks. It hurts. Lindsey Vonn had the same injury. Last week, her foot was so swollen she couldn’t put on her ski boots.
As a career success coach, I always tell my clients that what happens to you isn’t important, it’s how you react to what happens. I call it the commitment to take personal responsibility for creating the successful career and life you want and deserve. In Lindsey Vonn’s case, she’s had some really bad things and some pretty good things happen to her over the past two weeks. The downside was her bone deep bruising. The good thing was the warm weather in Vancouver, which delayed the ski race and gave her a little more time to heal.
Even with those two extra days, I’m sure she was in real pain during her run. She was skiing on bumpy ice, going over 80 miles per hour and doing some big jumps. That had to hurt. However, she persevered and won the gold medal.
Picabo Street, considered the best American skier ahead of Lindsey Vonn, said: “She has given the US something to be proud of. She has given young dreamers a reason to dream, and that is a beautiful. Now she’s the greatest American. She’s a great champion and she’s so deserving.”
I think so too.
Lindsey Vonn didn’t let circumstances dictate her destiny. She took control of the situation and did the best she could given the situation — which, as it turned out, was really good. In her words, “It’s been a really tough couple of weeks. I just tried to stay positive.” Her positive attitude earned her an Olympic gold medal.
The point of common sense career success here is simple. As you go through life, things will happen; good things, bad things, frustrating things, happy things, sad things, fortunate things, unfortunate things. Successful people choose to react to things that happen – especially negative things – in a positive way. Some really bad things happened to Lindsey Vonn — a deep bone bruise on her leg; and some lucky things — the warm weather in Vancouver that delayed the women’s descent — happen to her over the past two weeks. She did what she could with it. And what she did was very spectacular. The next time things get you down, think of Lindsey Vonn, do what you can to bounce back and stay positive. Because that’s what successful people do — they choose to react positively to negative people and events in their lives.
Here’s my take on Lindsey Vonn’s courageous gold medal run and what it teaches us to stay positive. What is yours? Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us using the link at the top right of this page. Thanks for reading.
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