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“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” -Ryunosuke Satoro
From the peewee soccer league to Fortune 500 corporate boards, we all have been tested as teammates. Particularly in athletics, this can often times be a difficult task due to personal aspirations and individual goals. However, this blog post is aimed to help athletes and people of all walks of life understand that if you help a teammate, you are ultimately helping yourself too.
We must fight our society’s culture that deems it acceptable to only look out for “number one”. Personal goals are important, but the power of the team is far more encompassing than one can imagine.
Within any organization, there will be individuals competing for the same positions. Instead of fighting as in-team rivals, if you work together you will be a better person for it. There is plenty of outside competition striving to beat you. If you cannot learn to work together, than you will beat yourselves.
Athlete Approved Olympic Coach Mike Bottom had the unique opportunity to coach teammates and rivals Gary Hall Jr. and Anthony Ervin. As two of the top sprinters in the world, these United States Olympic swimmers were striving to win the 50 Freestyle Gold Medal at the 2000 Atlanta Olympics. They trained together, but ultimately knew they were each other’s greatest competition. Hall and Ervin learned to work together. They collaborated as teammates and together accomplished an unprecedented feat tying for an Olympic goal medal. They both won Gold Medals for their country.
Being on a great team is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Praise, constructive feedback, and positive reinforcement are the building blocks to a healthy atmosphere. The amount of time, energy, and effort you put into a teammate will come back to you twice as strong. It will be quickly recognized when you go out of your way to help someone. That effort will certainly be rewarded down the road.
At the end of the day, when we look back on our athletic careers, what will we remember? After reflecting with our Athlete Approved Consultants, who all have had storied careers, they will tell you it is about friendships and personal bonds that can last a lifetime. This is not coming from country club participation winners, but from Olympic gold medalist and World Champion athletes. This helps us at Athlete Approved put perspective on life.
The next time the opportunity arises: make yourself a better teammate by making a teammate better.