Paralympics to the Boardroom – Part One

“Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Muhammad Ali

Have you ever met somebody really special?

Somebody who when you met them, you just got a special sense about them  and what they were going to do?

I have been lucky in that I have met quite a few.

But what is the common denominator?

Is it their personality? Their background? How they look? What they believe?

In 2013 I met somebody special and what made them special was their STORY.

That person was a girl called Carly Tait.

Carly was 26 at the time and she worked in marketing.  But the reason she got in touch with me was to do with something completely different.

Carly had not long come back from the 2012 Paralympic Games, where she went as a spectator.
And now, at 26, she had a new DREAM. A goal. A new story she was writing.

Which was to become a Paralympian and line up in the final of the 100M Wheelchair Race of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Let me just rewind a moment to give you some more context.

Carly was born with a condition called Cerebral Palsy, which mainly affects her coordination in her legs.

Carly grew up hating sport. You can understand why. School can be a brutal place, especially when you have disadvantages.

Carly went to a mainstream school and was the only disabled person in her class – she was always picked last and always tried to get out of doing PE.

These painful experiences gave Carly a drive in life – just not for sport or exercise!

When the Olympics and Paralympics came to London in 2012 – Carly was intrigued with the fact her whole office couldn’t stop talking about it. She didn’t get it.

But, thinking it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity – she managed to secure tickets to the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games, £500 each I might add!

Anyway, once there, settled down in her seat – she could never have anticipated what was about to happen.

One of the first events Carly saw was the 100M Wheelchair race. When she found out several of the athletes in the race had Cerebral Palsy, something inside of Carly was triggered.

Suddenly, all of her previous beliefs about what was possible were shattered.

By the time she left the stadium that day, Carly had a new DREAM.

A very specific goal but not very SMART.

SMART is an acronym often used in goal setting, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound.

This wasn’t the most realistic of goals!

But it was very CLEAR, very MEASURABLE and incredibly COMPELLING.

And right here is the first lesson I wanted to share about Carly’s story. The first and most powerful lesson is the power of having a very clear and compelling goal, something that gets you emotionally engaged.

A goal that scares you, excites you – LIGHTS you up.

Do your goals do that?

Do you set goals for your team that light THEM up?

This is one of the common mistakes I witness in the business world. The GOALS are not compelling enough. They don’t get people emotionally engaged.

This means that motivation waivers.

Motivation will waiver anyway. But the goal is the thing that wakes you up again.

The goal is what helps keep you focused.

Bounces you back from setbacks.

Gives you the strength and hope to keep pushing.

This is one of the first and most powerful lessons we can learn  from the world of sport – and why I wanted to share this series of articles with you.

Sport does this really well – the goals are emotionally engaging.

Now before you think, sport is different. I cannot compete with lining up in the Paralympics final in front of the watching world!

That may be the case, but how can you apply the PRINCIPLE?

I hope that has given you something to think about today.

Stay tuned, as next week I will be back with another powerful lesson from Carly’s journey.

Stay safe and strong,


Ps. When you are ready, there are 3 ways I can help you;
1. Join my private Facebook group. Here you will get exclusive access to additional resources, such as interviews with my elite sports clients, extra content, giveaways and exclusive notice of events and products. It’s FREE to join, just click here > Leadership SSS2. Join us on one of my 2 Day Leadership & Mindset Courses, held monthly in Manchester. Two inspirational & educational life changing days that will equip you with the skills and the mindset to take your leadership to the next level. To request more info and upcoming dates, click here > Course Info

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