What can we learn about job search from athletes who compete in the Olympics?

Watching their amazing athletic abilities on TV make what they have achieved seem so easy. Yet when you read about what they did to make it to this event, you realize that “you never get anything good for nothing”. Add the pressure of competing against world-class professionals and you can’t help but be impressed with how a person can achieve greatness despite seemingly impossible odds.

Consider these insights translating their effort into what it takes to find a job in today’s employment marketplace.

Motivate Yourself With Goals, Not Just Tasks.

Athletes generally train for years to get a chance to compete for a medal. The long hours of practice and daily effort eventually take them from being good to being great! Often times what seems like luck is really the result of chance favoring the prepared mind or body. Nastia Liukin, Olympic Gymnast – It’s really important to set goals for yourself. Not just a long-term goal like the Olympic games, but something that’s short term, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Even if you’re not a high-level gymnast, you have to figure out what works for you. If you want to run a mile, you have to work toward that. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to always keep trying.

Keep your eye on the prize. Sure, it’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re searching for a job online but in order to make strides toward your goal, you’ll need to remain committed and focused on your goals not just daily tasks. Tyson Gay, Olympic Sprinter – You can’t lose focus by looking to the side to watch other runners. Scoping the competition doesn’t just break you mentally—it throws off your form, too. Instead, pick a point straight ahead of you, lock your gaze, and power toward it. I keep my eye on the finish line.”

Commit Yourself to DAILY Effort.  Study the “greats” in almost any field and a pattern of daily effort to perfect a skill if more often than not, the common denominator that takes you from average and ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY! Katie Uhlaender, Olympic Skeleton Slide – During the summer, she had a packed schedule. From 9:30 until 12:30, she was the track running sprints. Then she took a break for lunch before hitting the weight room from 3 until 5:30. Afterward, she did her stretching and spent time in a cold tub. By 7:00, she’s was eating dinner and by 8:00, she was studying past races.

Focus on YOUR world not THE world. While we can only imagine what goes through swimmers’ minds as they race in the pool alongside other tremendous athletes, the odds are they’re only focused on what’s happening in their lane. Out of the corner of their eye they may see competitors right behind them, but they stay focused on what they need to do to win, not what someone else is doing that they can’t control.

Listen to Olympics winners during an interview after they have won a gold medal and it’s apparent that they all have one thing that ultimately separates them from their competitors – it’s DESIRE and the resulting effort that made them the best at what they do. A great interview question is “What are you doing to find a job”?  Your answer will tell the interview if you are just looking for work or if you are excited about a TALENT that you can offer a company that is in demand and marketable.