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A winning culture: Unlocking the Olympic mindset in the workplace

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read
A Winning Culture Unlocking The Olympic Mindset In The Workplace

Could you be the Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, or Cathy Freeman of your workplace? Tapping into the Olympic mindset could help transform the way you work and lead to great business outcomes.


As the 2024 Paris Olympics anticipation builds, similar principles that are adopted by the athletes entering the arena can be transferred to employees looking to thrive in the workplace. Life coach and mindset specialist Jacob Galea underpins the discipline and strategies that world-class athletes use to achieve success and explains how they can be deployed in the workplace.

“Top performers in business, much like Olympic athletes, do not leave their targets to chance. Consistently looking to push boundaries, athletes set clear and specific goals that are deeply aligned with their personal ‘why’,” Galea said.

A similar mindset in terms of goals and pushing boundaries can be adopted by employees who don’t want to stay stagnant in their jobs and are striving for career progression. This can be applied to any role in any industry where businesses are encouraged to regularly set, revisit, and refine goals, ensuring alignment with evolving company visions and market conditions.

Galea encourages professionals looking to transform their approach to work to focus on the following areas:

  1. Discipline and consistency: “Discipline is the bridge between aspirations and achievements. In the business world, as in sports, consistent effort accumulates into substantial accomplishments over time,” Galea said. He advised companies to establish regular checkpoints for employees to assess their progress, similar to an athlete’s training schedule, to maintain momentum and direction.
  2. Resilience and overcoming adversity: “True resilience involves adapting and growing from difficulties. Whether facing market shifts, project setbacks, or internal conflicts, embracing these challenges as opportunities for growth is crucial,” Galea said. He suggested integrating resilience training into professional development programs to enhance employees’ ability to navigate and thrive amid adversity.
  3. Performance under pressure: Recommending techniques like visualisation and positive self-talk – standard practices among athletes – Galea urged professionals to prepare for high-stakes situations. “The mind’s role in achieving peak performance under pressure is as important in the boardroom as it is on the track,” Galea said.
  4. Feedback and collaboration: “Constructive feedback should be seen as a tool for growth, not criticism. Even solo athletes depend on a support team to excel,” Galea said. He advocates for the importance of collaboration in the workplace, suggesting that bringing diverse strengths together sets the stage for collective success and innovation.
  5. Rest and recovery: Highlighting an often-overlooked aspect of peak performance, Galea said: “Top athletes treat rest and recovery as essential components of their training regimen. Similarly, businesses should promote work/life balance and recognise the importance of downtime in preventing burnout and maintaining long-term productivity.”



Your organization's culture determines its personality and character. The combination of your formal and informal procedures, attitudes, and beliefs results in the experience that both your workers and consumers have. Company culture is fundamentally the way things are done at work.

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.