The games people play

Sep 17 2012 by Janet Howd Print This Article

Over the past two weeks the whole world has watched as Paralympic athletes from all walks of life and all continents displayed a connectivity of mind and body that enabled them to accomplish physical feats in ways that many onlookers did not believe possible.

The prowess of thousands opened the eyes of millions to the fact that life does not have to be undermined by bodily impairment but can be underpinned and up-lifted by it.

Paralympians revealed not once but time and time again - and to standards that were excellent on anybody's terms - that when the physical attributes of the body are in alignment with the brain's desire to push the boundaries of achievement, great things can be accomplished. Their efforts suddenly placed the possibility of duality of purpose within reach of us all.

Suddenly the value of pushing back against blogging in order to push back against arterial clogging resonated with even the most sedentary of couch potatoes.

Suddenly, to step out and spend face-to-face-time with strangers and to be Linked-in in real terms rather than solely on screen, became a desirable goal.

Suddenly the realisation that bright ideas can spring to mind more easily when lifting dumb bells; that thinking hard uses as much energy as sprinting hard; that "On you bike" isn't just an instruction to go find work, and that "Out on a limb" was an accurate description of how some people get around every day became major talking points.

And what, I hear you ask, has all this got to do with readers of Management Issues?

Witnessing the symbiotic relationship between sight-impaired and keen-sighted athletes producing success beyond the ability of either to achieve on their own should lead us to take a fresh look at how we connect with others.

Innovative and competitive though we must be as managers, we have to accept - as did Oscar Pistorius - that once we have set a benchmark, someone else is likely to come along and up it. Though we know in our hearts that no one can ever take away the innovative part of what we did, it is hard to see a new blade pushing our ideas (and egos) lower down the pile.

Innovations take on a life of their own once they are in the public domain. To be able to accept that they will grow without our necessarily having been the instigator of every spurt is hard to accept, but necessary to learn.

Inclusiveness and generosity of spirit are the qualities that so touched the hearts of onlookers and participants alike during these games. They are also the qualities that people are saying they hope will become the lasting legacy.

Around the time of the founding of the modern Olympic Movement, Marcel Proust wrote: "The real voyage of discovery exists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." By keeping those words in mind as we go about our daily tasks, the hoped-for legacy just might come to pass.

more articles

About The Author

Janet Howd
Janet Howd

Janet Howd is a voice coach who works with corporate, academic, legal, theatrical and private clients in the UK, North America, Australia and Europe.