Four Internet Marketing Lessons From The Olympics

Olympic FlameAs is so often the case, I get inspired by the dedication, focus and determination of championship athletes.

And I’m delighted that “Team GB” is exceeding expectations in terms of gold medal achievements.
But rather than simply feel “inspired”, I want to examine in more detail what lies behind success in sport, and see what lessons we can learn that we can apply to our internet businesses.
Firstly, without exception, every UK medal winner interviewed paid tribute to the “fantastic team” that supported them over the past months and years. It has become clear that the UK government has put more resources into supporting UK Olympic athletes than ever before. They have hired the best trainers, coaches, nutritionists, physiotherapists, sports scientists … and more from across the world.

Lesson 1: Get the best advice you can

Lesson 2: Build a support team around you

It goes without saying that every successful athlete has been 100% dedicated to their sport. I heard on the radio that the chief trainer has insisted that all athletes follow an extremely rigorous regime, expecting them to focus on their sport 24/7. And there are many stories of sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of success. (Just one example: An Oxford-based rower was married in late 2010 and postponed his honeymoon until after the Olympics: he won Gold as part of a 4-man team.)

Lesson 3: Be totally dedicated

And finally, there is the matter of focus.
And here, I was again inspired by what I heard about Andy Murry (who FINALLY won at Wimbledon – beating the phenomenal Roger Federer in straight sets.) What follows is probably the MOST important lesson we can learn from sports people – but it’s not one that is much discussed.
Murray has had a string of Grand Slam defeats, but his coach, Ivan Lendl, always insisted that he should focus on the PROCESS not the OUTCOME.

Lesson 4: Focus on the Process, not the OutcomeProcess

That may seem like an odd lesson, because so often we are told to do the exact opposite: be goal-oriented / results-focused. There are good reasons to be outcome-oriented (it’s always a balance) – but here is the counter argument:
  • If we focus on outcomes, we get impatient when we don’t get results as quickly as we want.
  • If we focus on outcomes, we get dejected when we get the wrong outcome.
  • If we focus on outcomes, we get demoralized when success is not consistent (as it never is).
Murray's MedalOn the other hand, if we focus on PROCESS (provided it’s the right process), it’s simply a matter of keeping going until we DO succeed – exactly as happened with Andy Murray. Even more so than in sport, in internet marketing, following the right processes almost inevitably leads to success.
But western culture, and especially the IM culture, is obsessed with outcomes and results – which must be achieved as QUICKLY as possible. That’s fine – except that the obsession leads to the HUGE mistake.
The mistake is to think that the most important thing to FOCUS on is the GOAL – because the GOAL is the most important thing.
No – the most important thing to focus on is the PROCESS that LEADS to the goal – for all the reasons I’ve stated above.
So – to summarize:

Lesson 1: Get the best advice you can

Lesson 2: Build a support team around you

Lesson 3: Be totally dedicated

Lesson 4: Focus on the Process, not the Outcome

I will make a follow-up post soon talking about what I do to help you apply these lessons. You can probably figure out some of that I’m going to say – but not all! (Why not subscribe to the blog to ensure you don’t miss a post?)
P.S. Do you agree/disagree with my lessons? Let me know in the comments section below. And create a little social sharing as well!


3 thoughts on Four Internet Marketing Lessons From The Olympics

  • I don’t agree. I think you have to begin with the end in mind. Then plan your progress backwards from there. If you focus solely on the process, you will always be “in process” and without knowing the goal.

  • Good stuff! Thanks for that. I agree. I am totally fixed on the process these athletes and those others that overcome huge obstacles to meet their goals. One of those is people who lose a bunch of weight and keep it off. I watched a program last night where a guy lost 281 lbs in one year by hard work and determination. He started at 548. AMAZING!

  • Don – of course you need to know what your goal is because that is what determines the processes you need to follow to get there. But once you have sorted that out, your focus has to be on the process.

    In many worthwhile disciplines and endeavours, you initially make fast progress, and then you hit a plateau as far as measurable “progress” is concerned. If you remain obsessed with “progress” at that point, you will become despondent and give up.

    But if you simply focus on the “process” and learn to “love the plateau”, then – in time – you will develop enough to reach the stage where there IS measurable progress – until you reach another plateau… and so on.

    I learned all this from a wonderful little book called “Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment” by George Leonard – a leading figure in the human potential movement and a fifth degree belt belt in Aikido.

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