Don’t know about you, but every two years I come down with Olympic fever. I am not a particularly athletic individual although in the past I enjoyed skiing and playing tennis. However when the games begin I get totally engaged. First off I loved the opening ceremony. This year I wondered how it would compare to China’s 2008 extravaganza, and was pleasantly surprised that no comparison was necessary. Vancouver Olympic organizers created an all-inclusive panoply of Canadian culture. Although mourning the untimely death of the young Georgian Luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili, the games have gone on and the organizers seem to have held his untimely death and the joy of competition in a respectful balance with neither overwhelming the other. The organizers have faced a series of challenges, death of an athlete, criticism regarding the luge run itself, an arm of the cauldron inside the BC Arena not opening during the torch lighting phase, and yesterday the ice machines for the 500 meter speed skating race not working properly delaying the race more than an hour. Mother nature has played havoc with the weather with rain and fog surpassing snow resulting in unprecedented postponements, and surprising upsets.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Olympics. From the comfort of my living room however, I relish the sense of oneness I perceive. I love having athletes from so many countries competing to do their personal best. I admire their tenacity and conviction, their years of training, the personal cost in time away from family and in monetary value. Some leave their families as young children to go into nationalized programs others like one of the American pairs skaters, a husband and father whose business card lists a myriad of job titles-the things he’s done to support his young family and pursue his skating. Eighteen months ago he was thinking of quitting and now he is representing the US at the Olympics.
If you take the time to look beyond the faces of the athletes during the medal ceremonies you see the pride people have in their teams and the specific athletes. The difference between gold, silver and bronze sometimes is miniscule…tenths of a second. Athletes seem to have a code of respect for one another that is sometimes lacking in our everyday worlds.
Thinking about this I wonder how many people have the experience of being totally engaged with their work, and/or their organization. What if we lived in a world where this experience was the norm rather than the exception to the rule? I reflect on an earlier blog about Zappos and how people love working there. What kind of world would we have if most people enjoyed their work and felt they were paid fairly for their efforts? What can you do to become more engaged at work? How can you lead your company to become an engaged organization?