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Olympic rower Alan Campbell and the courageous goal

I am writing this blog two hours before the single scull rowing final of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Team GB participant in this race is Alan Campbell who is favourite to win the bronze medal. I have known Alan Campbell for ten years since he was a shy 19 year old fresh out of army college. My ex-business partner, Bill Barry, had taken Alan under his wing and was coaching him. As we discuss in our book in the chapter on courageous goals, the rest of their story may be about to become history.

I have heard Alan and Bill speak about their sporting journey many, many times in front of business leaders where their story inspires others to tap into their deeper potential. As I have listened I too have often been inspired and then occasionally I have thought ‘you are both completely crazy!’

I don’t know what emotion Alan will be feeling  in two hours time. In the eyes of the world he will be a winner or a loser. In the eyes of those much closer to him he will still be Alan Campbell – a guy with strengths and weaknesses who has  good days and bad days just like the rest of us. Someone who is loved by some, liked by others and disliked by others too. It reminds me that as we pursue our courageous goals, we have to face the FACTS. For the FACTS are that whatever we achieve, whatever ‘medals’ are put around our necks the emotions of winning or losing quickly die away and then we are left exactly back where we were before – living with who we are!

On this theme, I recently asked my friend and co-author of ‘challenging coaching’ Ian Day what his courageous goal was and it shocked me when he said ‘my courageous goal is to be happy’. I was shocked because I thought he was going to start talking to me about ‘winning more medals’, achieving more stuff. At first I thought he was crazy but the more I have reflected on his answer the more inspiring it has become. It seems that not everyone wants to win a gold medal, some people just want to be happy. Maybe this is the most courageous goal of all?

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Alan Campbell Olympic Rower - Bronze Medal