Saturday, August 16, 2008
Usain Bolt's Chest Thump Heard Around the World
Can you remember a time in your career when you defied the odds, stayed calm under pressure and performed like you planned or dreamed? Even if most of us can think about a time when we were at our best, we probably didn't do it under the watchful, hopeful eyes of millions of people worldwide in the Beijing Olympics.
My regular blog readers know that I was born and raised in Jamaica and have lived in the United States for the last 22 years. Even though my husband, and I love dearly our adopted homeland, the United States, we can't help but feel a tremendous amount of pride in the way the sprinters from the land of our birth, Jamaica, have performed so far in the Beijing Olympics.
As I watch Usain Bolt, winner of the Men's 100M final sprint in Beijing, "thump his chest" before he even crosses the finish line in world record time of 9.69 seconds, I think I know exactly what he is saying to himself. He is saying, "Is me dat!"
Translated for my American friends, that chest thump and outspread arms, meant, "I did that".
Some of the announcers called it bragging. Those of us who know the history of Jamaica and the spirit of the Jamaican people, know that it is not about bragging. It's about reinforcing to one's self that barriers exist only where one sees them. It is about acknowledging his own accomplishment, whether the rest of the world notices it or not. It's a kind of self assuredness that says, "I am in control of my destiny and I can do this, whether or not the world thinks it possible." It's what I call a personal high five.
Of course as a career development professional, I can't help but be inspired by the way athletes like Bolt, perform under tremendous pressure. I wonder what kind of career advice we can glean from such a performance. We get nervous in http://bullseyeresumes.blogspot.com/search/label/Job%20Interview, when we have to do presentations at work or when we get assigned the important accounts or projects at the office. I don't think we ever get over the initial jitters. Here, on the other hand, are professional athletes at the top of their game who are performing with the whole world watching. It certainly gives us pause to check ourselves as we put the pressures of our own jobs and our workplace stress in perspective.
The key point to remember is that when we see Jamaican sprinters, like Usain Bolt, perform well on the world's stage, we are actually witnessing the end result of hours of preparation and practice. What we see in a few seconds of brilliance takes place years after Bolt made the decision to put himself, his body and his credibility on the line to achieve a personal best and execute this amazing feat.
Bolt's body, by the way, is 6 feet 5 inches tall; well outside of what tradition has deemed good for sprinting. If that doesn't deserve a personal high five, I don't know what does.
Looking at Usain Bolt doing what he does, makes me think that career nirvana is indeed possible for all of us who are willing to do the hard work to prepare for our own big show.
It may not be the Beijing Olympics of 2008, but we owe it to ourselves to do what it takes to be ready!
How do you get ready? When was the last time you gave yourself a personal high five?
- Jamaican Athletics: A Model For the World - Written by Jamaican, Judge Patrick Robinson of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
- Jamaican athletes: Why do they run so fast?
Written by Jamaican attorney and former senator, Delano Franklyn