What Olympians Can Teach You about Career Management: Jordyn Wieber
At 5’2” and 115 pounds, teenager Jordyn Wieber doesn’t exactly look like someone who could give workers pointers on how to react in the face of adversity. But on Sunday night, the petite gymnast was forced to confront a situation requiring maturity beyond her years.
Wieber came into London as the reigning world all-around champion in her sport, making her a leading contender for the Olympic crown. In the qualifying competition, two of her U.S. teammates earned higher scores, but Wieber’s total was better than that of nearly every other competitor from a rival country. An odd Olympic rule, however, states that each country can have only two gymnasts advance to the individual all-around competition. Thus, Wieber won’t be competing in the finals, but less talented athletes from other nations will.
As tempting as it might have been to denounce the rule or go off about the unfairness of it all, Wieber chose to avoid interviews immediately afterwards. When the shock subsided a bit, she issued a civil, professional statement about the predicament.
Caution in the face of strong emotion can serve anybody well, whether confronting a boss about a raise you think you should have received or a co-worker who is trying to take credit for one of your ideas. Rather than saying something you’ll later regret, it is better to take some time to cool off and think through your next move.
Wieber’s situation also highlights the importance of building a support system that can keep you going when challenges arise. While athletes may turn to coaches when times are tough, workers may find that a mentor can be a source of guidance and comfort. And don’t forget family and friends. Rita Wieber may not have been able to make her way down to the mats to console her heartbroken daughter, but she immediately expressed her love via Twitter, saying “My one wish right now would be to give my amazing daughter a huge hug. So proud of her. She is all class!” With people on your side, you can’t help but feel like a winner.
Tomorrow: Michael Phelps