My wife and I were watching the Olympics a few nights ago, and something we saw has stuck in my mind ever since. I can’t say with absolute certainty, because a few days have gone by — and quite a few celebratory interviews with athletes have too — but I’m nearly positive it was the Women’s 4x400m relay.

We Decided We Were Going to Win

We Decided We Were Going to Win

You may remember this race. The American women had individually experienced some blunders in previous races. They were pretty heartbroken as a result. So they came into the race with some serious motivation.

As the relay came to an end, they were down. It was the last leg of the race. Sanya Richards was churning along a fair distance behind the runner from the Russian Federation. But as she rounded the last bend in the track, she absolutely turned something on.  She was “digging deep,” as the commentator called it.  She held a laser focus on the finish line, while the Russian runner’s eyes kept glancing up to the big screen to see what was going on.

After her experiences at the Beijing Olympic games, Sanya could’ve lightened up. After all, she’d suffered some hard knocks. To say she’d had some disappointments would be a severe understatement.  She ran pretty hard in the last leg… but she was behind for over 300 meters.  She’d given it a good run. She’d been behind from the very start — the Russians had taken the lead from the Americans in the last few meters of the previous leg.

What goes through your mind when you’re in the race, you’re behind, and the pressure is on? I’m sure that your body is screaming at you to stop. You’re not sure if you have anything left. Everything in you tells you that it would be OK to finish in second place.

And yet… somewhere, from the deepest parts of her, something arose.  What was it?  A decision.

“We decided we were going to win it.”

These were the words uttered by one of the American women after the race was over. The interviewer from the television network was trying to find out what they had done to make it happen. The sentence blew past in a flurry of words as the ladies relished their victory.

It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I took note of exactly how profound that statement was.

When was the last time you made a decision of that quality?  When was the last time you simply decided that there were no options… you were absolutely going to achieve that goal?

In the case of Sanya Richards, she came from behind to cross the finish line .28 seconds ahead.  That fraction of a second may not seem like much, but it was the difference between heartbreak and victory.

In your case, it might be in business. It might be a sales goal. It might be a revenue target. It might be a profitability number. It might just be to survive until that big deal closes. It may be to simply stay the course and finish producing a product.  No matter what your goal is… do yourself a favor: make a decision.

Decide you’re going to win.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you leave yourself no option.

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