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Apolo Ohno's performance is a model for energizing your career

Apolo Ohno wins silver in 1500 meter speedskating
Apolo Ohno wins silver in 1500 meter speedskating
AP/Amy Sancetta

If you're looking for inspiration to recharge your career, look no farther than Apolo Ohno’s 1500 meter Olympic performance.  At 27, an age considered long in the tooth for a speedskater, Ohno not only won a silver medal, he proved he’s just as competitive as his younger rivals.

In the current economy, many seasoned employees are finding their careers plateaued or their job prospects slimming as they face stiff competition in the workplace. Here are four strategies that contributed to Apolo Ohno’s recent success and how you can apply them to your career.

Commit yourself. Ohno purposefully committed to a third Olympics because of his love for the sport, the Vancouver location, and his personal passion for excellence. That commitment fueled his drive forward through good days and bad.

Your career. Take some time to explore what drives your career commitment. Focus on those passions to propel you ahead during good days and bad.

Train hard. Ten pounds less than Torino; 2.8% body fat. The combination of grueling training plus a strict diet put Ohno in the best physical shape of his life.

Your career.
Constantly train to keep your professional development in top form. Regularly attend classes, read and take advantage of on-the-job or industry learning opportunities. Practice what you learn by using it in the workplace. Keep your technology skills up to date.

Leverage your experience
. Apolo Ohno’s keen sense of strategy and timing comes from years of racing experience and his ability to apply it to new circumstances.

Your career. Some people have ten years of experience; some have one year of experience ten times. Reflect on your past experience and what it has taught you. Demonstrate your business agility by applying your past experience to new situations.

Seize opportunities. When two Korean skaters serendipitously fell in the 1500 meter race, Ohno avoided disqualification and skated off with the silver.

Your career. When you’re committed, capable, and see an opportunity, serendipity isn’t luck, it’s being prepared. It's up to you to take action. At the end of the day, no one cares more about your career than you.


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