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Latest insights and trends in Personal Analytics, Operational Intelligence, and Workplace Productivity.

Jun 13
Olympic Medalist Shows Business Leaders How to Avoid Distractions
"Imagine this," Paul Kingsman began.  "You’re trying to close the biggest and most important business deal of your life.  You’ve done all the preparation in the world for this one meeting—13 years of preparation, in fact.  You’re in this enormous boardroom and you’ve got the CEO right where you want him.  You’ve done all your background work.  You know everything about this business prospect.  You know what color his kids’ eyes are.  You look in his eyes.  He looks in yours.  He looks down and picks up his pen to press on the last sheet of your multi-page deal.  There are TV cameras in the room.  They’re locked in on your face.  Suddenly, the ceiling in the boardroom slides back and there are 12,000 cheering people all around you who quickly go silent.  You look down.  Oh, no!  All you’re wearing is a tiny Speedo!”
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Business coach and professional speaker Paul Kingsman began his captivating early-morning presentation at the recent June Breakfast Meeting of the Tri-Valley Consultants Forum with this colorful metaphor to illustrate four different principles he credits for his success as an Olympic swimmer and financial advisor.  "To succeed in a highly-competitive environment—whether it’s business or the Olympics—you need to focus on passion, priorities, practice and performance.  The key to all of it is to eliminate distractions.”

 
Drawing on his experience of training for 13 years for a two-minute swimming event, in order to win an Olympic medal by 4/100ths of a second, Kingsman told his audience of 50 or so business men and women that there are no shortcuts to achieving big goals, whether the goal is an Olympics medal or a thriving, profitable business.  Kingsman explained that he developed his passion for swimming at the age of nine while watching the 1976 Montreal Olympics.  "I had no idea at the age of nine what kind of commitment I was making."  Twelve years later, Kingsman achieved his goal and became New Zealand’s first male Olympic medalist in an individual swimming event at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.  Along the way, he said, he learned to prioritize his time ("Sleep was a big priority for me when I was in training.  Reporters calling after 8:30 PM got Mum and they didn’t get past Mum.").  Describing his grueling daily fitness and weight training routine, Kingsman said he often felt intimated by the larger, taller Russians swimmers he competed against.  "But I kept my head in the game and stayed focused.  I didn’t allow distractions to get the best of me, especially when I was competing."

Split-second Success
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Kingsman described how he found himself in 4th place in the finals of the 200 meter backstroke.  He said his competitor, Sergey Zabolotnov, had the bronze metal won but got distracted and glanced at another competitor to see his position in the race. "In the last two meters, there were two looks!   Speaking for me, when I get distracted, I’ll do it again. There’s first one look, then another.  If he hadn’t looked again, he would have beaten me.  In sport and in business, it’s usually the second distraction that costs."
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Kingsman’s motivational talk of Olympic glory resonated well with breakfast attendees who peppered him with questions in the Q&A session afterwards.  Many of the business leaders also had their photos taken wearing the Olympic medal although no one in attendance expressed much interest in trying on the Olympic medalist’s Speedo.  
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