Sage Kotsenburg is the 20-year-old American who won the first gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games being held in Sochi, Russia. His gold-winning event was Snowboard Slopestyle and the way that he won contains a lesson or two– even for those of us who don’t (willingly) leave terra firma while zipping down mountains.
Kotsenburg won the event by nailing a trick that he had never tried before and also performing an original, self-invented grab of his board called the “Holy Crail”. Perhaps most interesting, though, is that the judges seemed unimpressed by the other atheletes who performed the technical “triple cork” trick .
Most who follow the sport assumed it would take at least two triples to win the event. Sage took the top spot and avoided the triple all together. The judges sent a message with their scoring – serendipitous style can supersede technical tricks.
Perhaps the “judges” in our world are longing to see our style. At some level, we can think of our customers, employees, coworkers, spouses and friends as our judges. They watch our lives unfold, one day at a time, they watch and they wait. They don’t assign numerical scores to what they see in our lives, but they notice when we break loose from the expected.
Break out of your comfort zone
It’s interesting that Kotsenburg grabbed the gold by successfully attempting a trick that he had never performed before. Growth alway happens just outside our comfort zone. How many times have I lived today just like I lived yesterday, only because it was familiar and felt safe?
Preparing for greatness
Systems and procedures have their place. Business, and life take shape with the building blocks of great products and valuable services. As a matter of fact, they often enable us to exhibit our style. Even Kotsenburg’s new trick was a combination of popular snow-boarding moves. Moves that no doubt he has practiced time and time again.
Today’s Olympics – will you simply compete, or shine?
What will you deliver to your world today? Will it look like your competitors offerings?Will it look exactly like the goods and services that you delivered last week? Last month? Last year?
Consider taking the known systems and processes of your work and trying something new. How can you repackage or re-orient your product or service that will catch the attention, and admiration of others?
People appreciate those who nail the technical ‘tricks’ of the trade, but they applaud and celebrate those who deliver with a style that is all their own. Can you say, “Southwest Airlines?” Maybe we should stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and strive to give the world something they’ve never seen by doing something we have never done.
Embrace your style –and don’t be surprised when you find yourself on the medalist platform.