In the first few days of the winter Olympics, we have seen several compelling stories and legacy performances. A compelling story is one we want to watch. A legacy performance is one filled with power that changes others. It is a gift given so that we can think bigger and reach higher.
As leaders in business, our communities, and life, each of us has a compelling story that should be a gift to those that follow. What is your legacy? What gift are you leaving for others?
Let’s focus on three legacy performances that stand out for different reasons. As you read these, focus on the gift you receive from their performance. It isn’t just a fun story, each of these has the potential to lift your spirits and encourage you to take your game to a new level.
Let’s take a look at three stories that are lessons in building and leaving a legacy. Notice that the first two stories involve overcoming problems. Notice also that they involve being the best. Our legacies don’t necessarily mean we have to win a gold medal but rather the best spirit and integrity that led to winning.
Simen Hegstad Krueger: Team Pride
Simen Hegstad Krueger knows the pride of skiing for Norway. It the country that has won the most Winter Olympic medals, maybe in part because it is where skis were invented. Every little boy and girl grows up wanting to win the gold for their team. Early in the 30 kilometer (18 mile) skiathlon race, he slipped and fell in heavy traffic. In a split second he went from a strong contender for a medal to out of contention. He felt like he had lost. But he stayed calm. When he returned to his feet and replaced the broken pole, he was 15 seconds behind the best competition in the world. Many legacies are made by staying calm and not giving up.
Known as a strong skier, he methodically worked to catch up to the leaders. Announcers wondered if he had spent too much energy and wouldn’t have anything left for the final lap. But that is where the team pride came in. Finally, he made his bold move and took the lead. Normally that is where competitors go out after him. But this Norwegian team had a strategy, like many other teams. Their plan was that if one of them took the lead late in the race, the other two would work to prevent others from catching him. It worked perfectly and Martin Johnsrud Sundby took silver and Hans Christer Holund earned the bronze. Had they been more selfish, they could have fought for the win. But that isn’t their legacy. Their national pride led to overcoming a mishap and working together to affirm their legacy.
Shawn White: Overcoming Defeat
Shawn White already had a legacy before the 2018 Winter Olympics. He won gold in the half-pipe in 2006 and 2010. He had already established himself as the premier half-pipe athlete by winning 13 gold medals in the Winter X games. You have a legacy when you are the best. But then he failed to medal in 2014. Does that defeat tarnish his legacy? To make matters worse, he suffered a horrible accident in training. Was his legacy complete? The big story entering the 2018 Olympic games was, “Could he come back?”
He was in first place after the preliminary round and after his first run. But Japan’s Hirano bested him in the second. Facing his last run and knowing that Hirano had already completed his, White had to deliver to leave an even bigger legacy. He nailed it with a 97.75 score out of 100. Nearly perfect. So is his legacy complete? Not yet. He plans on competing in rollerblading in the 2020 Summer Olympics and maybe 2020 in the half-pipe. His legacy is not letting defeat end his legacy. Like other great competitors, he refuses to quit.
Chloe Kim: Gold isn’t Good Enough
Arguably the most hyped athlete coming into the winter games was Chloe Kim of the United States. At 17 she was the child prodigy that was finally old enough to compete at these games. She already had a legacy coming into the games. The question is, “Would she live up to the hype.” Many begin life strong but they don’t live up to what others claim is their legacy.
Chloe Kim not only lived up to the hype, she surpassed it.
She not only performed strong, she dominated in her first two runs, scoring a 93.75, several points ahead of her competitors. When the second place competitor failed to beat her score, Chloe knew she had won the gold and didn’t need the third run. But that wasn’t her intention. Gold wasn’t good enough.
“I was like tearing up and wanted to cry, but I just knew I wasn’t going to be happy, even if I went home with the gold, if I knew I could do better,” Kim said of her decision to attempt the back-to-back 1080s. She finished with a near perfect 98.25, more than 8 points ahead of the Silver Medal finisher.
Like Shawn White in an earlier Olympic performance, Chole Kim did not settle for winning the competition. She set the standard higher. That is quite a legacy.
THINK BIGGER – REACH HIGHER!
Loren Murfield, Ph.D. I work with clients to think bigger and reach higher. Frequently, clients tell me, “Wow, I hadn’t thought about it like that before.” I love seeing them raise their standards and step up their performance, and do what they previously considered “impossible.” At that point, I help them write their legacy book. Contact me today to begin creating your legacy and then leaving it for generations to come.