CAN THE WORLD'S YOUTH TEACH US ABOUT LIFE AND ENGAGEMENT?

What is there to learn from winning medals and competing?  Obviously I am still enamored with the Olympics, and apparently I'm not the only one as the viewership for these games far surpasses anything in recent times. There is so much to learn from these young athletes. Their wisdom, spirit, creativity, gumption and determination are awe-inspiring.  Take this video, for example:

Apolo is not only a brilliant and strategic skier, but he gets the true spirit of the games and the competition. Perhaps an 8th medal today will further distinguish him as the most medaled American in winter Olympics history.

The Ice Dancing competition was stunning. The two American teams, the gold medalist Canadians and the Russian team all sincerely congratulating one another after the winners announced.  The commentator kept referring to best friends and competitors. Last night I saw a 16-year-old Australian figure skater who just found out on Feb. 2nd she would be competing in the Olympics skate her heart out in a personal best performance without any mistakes.  Not close to being in medal contention nonetheless she gave it her all.

And then there is the heartbreak and pain of the speed skater that won gold but was then disqualified because of an illegal lane change. The video clearly shows his coach telling him to change lanes prematurely.  He was inconsolable, and the anguish on the coach's face that made the error is etched in my brain.  How will they get over that? Click here for video.

I watch these young people from around the world and learn about playing the game of life.  They are committed and totally engaged.  The balance of personal best and glory with team spirit and national pride is something from which we can all learn.

I contrast this with the President of Toyota USA and their CEO from Japan, Mr. Toyoda talking to Congress about the massive recalls.  Did Toyota abandon its value on quality ad customer service to become the world’s largest car manufacturer?  Workers from American plants are demonstrating in Washington in support of their company.  It’s clear that the regulators did not have the resources to fully analyze the new electrical and mechanical systems in the cars. People have lost their lives, and Toyota will continue to lose hundreds of millions.

Perhaps there is something to learn from the grace and determination of these athletes at the Olympic Games.  Integrity, honor, determination, practice, being totally engaged separates us apart from our competitors.  Let's begin to eliminate winning at all costs in all our endeavors. Let's embrace learning how to truly compete from a place of personal best, honor and integrity and sportsmanship for ourselves individually while at the same time demonstrating the leadership to build more engaged organizations.