Day 1 of InfoSec is over.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with clients, friends in the industry, press, and analysts – it was a busy, jam-packed day. And what a start to the event with an inspirational keynote from Michael Johnson, one of my all-time sporting heroes.
Anyone who says, “Michael who?” should know that he is one of the most celebrated sprinters in track and field history, attaining 12 Olympic and World Championship Gold medals. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time, an inspiration to any young athlete hoping for a career in track sprinting. So, in the packed auditorium where it was standing room only, what lessons did we learn from Michael?
He talked about the first few years of his career and how he loved running, but he wasn’t getting the results he was looking for. Concerned, he sat down with his coach to assess how he could accelerate his performance. After a thorough analysis, Michael and his coach put a plan in place and, as Michael was leaving the session, his coach said, “Michael, now we have a plan, what else are you going to start doing?” Michael knew he was referring to his lack of weight and strength training. While Michael loved to run, he didn’t enjoy the strength training, but he knew that if he was going to improve, he needed to invest time in this.
What I took away from this is how we are all guilty of focussing on what we love doing or what we are good at and how easy it is to gloss over our weaknesses. Self-awareness, knowing your strengths and weaknesses to make those marginal gains and improvements, can make the difference between winning and losing, becoming an Olympian, surpassing your competitors, or going home without a medal or a title.
Here at C8 when we are mentoring and line managing our teams, especially those individuals that feel they are not hitting a goal, we ask them: What are you going to stop doing, what are you going to continue doing, and what are you going to start doing? Try it – you will be surprised how this enables you to reprioritise your time, activities, and goals.
Succeeding with purpose
Michael also talked about consistency and how proud he is to come back year after year, winning more golds. How this required true dedication, hard work, and above all he emphasised the single-minded focus and consistency this requires. When you are at the top of your game, it is easy to become complacent, and Michael proved that he could plan and achieve long-term success. He talked about how this can also be applied to business through long-term strategic planning and having clarity and consistency about your vision, mission, and goals.
Purpose and confidence were two other areas that Michael touched on. Having the belief and the confidence in your abilities and how this only comes through rigorous preparation and purpose. I know that sometimes I’m guilty of not preparing as well as I should and then being frustrated when I don’t get the result I was hoping for.
My key takeaway was to prepare like an Olympian. The good news for us mere mortals is that if we miss an opportunity there will be others, as long as we learn from our experiences. Unfortunately for Olympic athletes, if they miss their chance, they must wait four years for their time to come around again and that may never happen. Of course, in business, we do get second chances to unlock untapped potential either in ourselves or in our teams, so I am going to ensure that going forward I scrutinise my preparation much more rigorously.
It was a truly inspirational talk and one that got huge applause and certainly set the day up for successful networking.
Thank you, Michael!
We will be publishing our takeaways from Europe’s biggest infosecurity exhibition over the next few weeks. Make sure to check out our blog for the rest of our insights!
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