It's hard to watch the Olympic Games without wishing we were up on the podium, bowing to accept a medal, blowing kisses to the cheering crowd, basking in the admiration of the world.
I've been watching the games with my girls these past couple of weeks. "I want to be in the Olympics," I hear them say. They want the accolades, the grandeur, the followers on Facebook and Twitter. "First," I remind them, "you have to get off the couch."
Most of us will never make it into the Olympic Games, but we are all contestants in an Olympic arena of sorts - that is, those of who realize we are in the game. The game is Life itself, and its playing fields are many.
In the business arena, for example, as in sport, success begins with a dream. Qualification is much easier than in the Olympic realm. You form a corporation, print some business cards, and you're in the competition.
From that point, it's all a question of aspiration. How hard are you willing to work to achieve success? What sacrifices are you willing to make? How much are you willing to invest, both literally and figuratively? How early are you willing to get up in the morning? How many hours of training are you willing to put in every day? How many times are you willing to fail, and get up and try again? To what lengths are you willing to go? How much practice, how much pain, how much postponement of immediate gratification are you willing to endure?
To achieve success at the Olympic Games - to win a gold, silver or bronze medal - requires tremendous talent and effort and sacrifice. Only three can stand on the podium. But the winners' podium in Life is much larger than the one at the Olympic Games. To be sure, you can get on it. In the world of business, you don't have to make it to the very pinnacle to get the gold or the silver or the bronze. There's plenty of gold and silver to go around in the upper part of the triangle.
But, first you have to get off the couch. Then you can reach for the gold and silver that can be yours.