It’s hard to believe four years have passed since the last Summer Olympic Games. Yet, here we are. The best athletes in the world have gathered in Rio to compete at the very highest level.
History will be made during the next two weeks. People all over the world will be inspired by the athletes…by their poise, their grit and their pure determination. The stories of how they have achieved greatness will be shared throughout the event and the next generation of athletes will be motivated to keep reaching for the highest goals.
B2B marketers and salespeople are no different. We will watch the Olympics and be inspired too. After all, we are competitors.
We compete everyday. We compete for the attention of our target audience. We compete with our business’ competitors. We race against the clock to get things published. We set goals and measure ourselves against them.
At Imagine, one of our core values is “Play to win. Hate to lose.” We hate losing more than we love winning. Watching the Olympics is a natural for us. We view ourselves as the marketing and sales equivalent of elite athletes. We don’t quit.
That said, everything we do is hard work. Inbound marketing is a grind. We are always working to perfect a craft that probably can’t be perfected. Results can be slow. The many moving parts can be overwhelming.
Sales and sales development require a thick skin, staying power and a determination to succeed that most people don’t have. Some days giving up might seem like the best option. Some days we need inspiration.
The Olympics provides a great opportunity for inspiration and it comes at the right time. We’re into Q3…late summer. It’s easy to take your eye off the prize and enjoy the end of summer…slack off a little bit…take your foot off the gas.
If you’re having a hard time staying motivated, here are 17 quotes from Olympians past and present to remind you that anything is possible…in the world of sports AND the world of sales and marketing.
1. “Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.”
– Michael Phelps, U.S. gold medalist in swimming (18 and counting)
2. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
– Muhammad Ali, U.S. gold medalist in boxing
3. “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self discipline, and effort.”
— Jesse Owens, U.S. track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in 1936
4. “When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.”
—Florence Griffith Joyner, U.S. gold medalist in track and field in 1988 and silver medalist in 1988 and 1984
5. “There’s always a point where you get knocked down. But I draw on what I’ve learned on the track: If you work hard, things will work out.”
– Lolo Jones, U.S. Olympic hurdler
6. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.”
– Mark Spitz, U.S. swimmer and winner of 7 gold medals at 1972 Munich Olympic Games
7. “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
– Wilma Rudolph, U.S. gold medalist in track and field
8. “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important."
— Bobby Knight, U.S. basketball coach of the 1984 gold medal-winning men's team
9. “Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.”
– Mary Lou Retton, U.S. gymnast and winner of gold medal at 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games
10. “I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.”
– Mia Hamm, U.S. gold medalist in women’s soccer
11. “Never put an age limit on your dreams.”
– Dara Torres, U.S. gold medalist in swimming
12. “If you dream and you allow yourself to dream, you can do anything."
— Clara Hughes, Canadian cyclist and speedskater and the only person to have won multiple medals in both the Summer and Winter Games
13. "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career ... I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
— Michael Jordan, American basketball player and 1984 and 1992 gold medalist
14. “If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.”
— Carl Lewis, U.S. track and field athlete and nine-time gold medalist
15. “You’ve got to look for tough competition. You’ve got to want to beat the best.”
— Grete Waitz, Norwegian runner and 1984 silver medalist
16. "I always believe I can beat the best, achieve the best. I always see myself in the top."
—Serena Williams, U.S. gold medalist in tennis
17. "We have the can-do factor, and us doing what we do I think inspires people to just try that little bit harder, whether they are able-bodied or disabled.”
— Lee Pearson, British para-equestrian and 10-time gold medalist