It’s Olympic season (Go U.S.A.!), and that means I’m watching hours and hours of phenomenal athletes giving it their all to bring home the gold for their country (especially women’s gymnastics, my favorite). I look at the athletes who have dedicated their entire lives to training for this event, and I think about organizers and campaign life. We have something in common, you know?
Organizers have to push themselves to the extremes sometimes when they're in the thick of a campaign - those long hours and sleepless nights pay off when we win. I’ve learned some lessons from watching the Olympic athletes when it comes to perseverance and focus.
Sometimes, you are going to win. On the first night of the Women’s Gymnastics final, commentators were speculating on US gymnast Gabby Douglas’ chances. While they didn’t consider her a favorite, they did say “There are some people who aim to make it to the Olympics. And there are others who aim to win a gold medal. Guess who wins gold medals?" So, set higher expectations for yourself, and aim for the best. Don’t let the “expert” commentators decide what you are capable of, even if the fight you’re organizing for seems impossible to win. Go for the gold, and get it!
Sometimes, you lose. As organizers, sometimes we don't win. But we learn from those campaigns, and keep going. When you put everything you have in and want the win so badly, it hurts a lot when you don’t get it. Take US gymnast Jordyn Wieber as an example. When she was disqualified from the All-Around competition, her tearful face was plastered all over the internet. But 2 days after her lifelong dream was crushed, she got back up and competed with her team for gold. Just remember that you’re stronger than you think you are in a moment of defeat. Turn that loss into a learning moment and head to the next fight.
I'm in awe of these athletes, and hope to bring a bit of their dedication and focus to my organizing.
Laura Bartolomei-Hill is Trainings Manager at NOI.