What You Do Isn’t as Important as How You Do It

The Summer Olympics in Rio 2016 saw 11,544 total athletes competing in 42 sport disciplines. 306 total events awarded medals. Counting gold, silver, and bronze, 918 total medals were awarded over the last two weeks.

Do the quick math and you realize more than 10,000 athletes did not go home with a medal. They are olympians — something only a fraction of a fraction of us will ever be (here’s a chart showing the odds of a high school athlete in any given sport going on to the Olympics: http://visual.ly/what-are-your-chances-becoming-summer-olympic-athlete). Each athlete spent thousands… likely tens-of-thousands of hours practicing, honing their skills. Absolutely, there is great pride simply by getting to the Olympics. But what does life look like for someone who goes to the Olympics and doesn’t bring home the gold or land a massive sponsorship?

The key is in recognizing transferrable skills. Boring term, really important concept.

Someone who perfects a 3 1/2 somersault dive off a 30-meter platform isn’t going to transfer that skill into a 9–5 job. Or any job. But what does it take to hone and perfect a 3 1/2 somersault dive? Determination, perseverance, coach-ability, sacrifice, resilience, focus.

The product of being a world-class long-jumper or gymnast or freestyle wrestler probably won’t pay off— but the other skills, the ones needed to develop an Olympic career are where the actual value lies.

LEARNING HOW to be a world-class something is more valuable than actually being a world-class something.

The same is true for you. Not just in athletic pursuits, and you certainly don’t have to achieve national or global success. Whether you are early in your career, changing jobs, or trying to figure out how to translate success from one area of life to another — what you do isn’t as important as how you do it.

What skills do you have the may not show up on a resume?
What are the intangible skills and abilities you have indirectly built up through extracurricular activities or hobbies?
What is something you regularly or easily do that other people point out and wish they could do?
What is a relational skill or communication tool you picked in a previous job that hasn’t fully been put to use where you are today?

The key is to recognize which skills go with you from season to season. If you don’t recognize it as a skill, it will be incredibly hard to apply it to your next season, job, or opportunity. Recognize your skills so you can maximize the transfer.

The skills you developed yesterday create the potential for what you can accomplish today.

The most successful Olympians aren’t necessarily the ones that bring home the gold. Olympian or not, the person who understands how to transfer skills that have enabled them to achieve success from one area of life to many, many other areas of life will see the most long-term success and growth.


Want help gaining clarity and making a plan to move forward, for yourself or your team? Adam Bouse Coaching offers personal and organizational development coaching. Emotional intelligence assessments, leadership coaching, and team training are just a few of the tools available. Find more info atwww.adambouse.co or send me an email — hello@adambouse.co