The Inside Track - Believing in the unbelievable, and then focussing on it


Justin Warhust, Finance Director, explains how important the role of goal setting is winning an Olympic medal.

Wow, what a wonderful Wednesday of Olympics watching that was. Medals a-plenty for Team GB, with athletes performing at breathtakingly high levels.

One of the things that struck me whilst watching and listening was how stretching the goals that these athletes set for themselves are.

In the gymnastics, Max Whitlock wanted to achieve something that no Britain had achieved in over a century (since the London Olympics of 1908). There must be numerous reasons for this in the all-round gymnastics competition, but that didn’t stop Whitlock from setting his goal: "My coach and I have been working so hard over the past four years. We stepped out of London 2012 and I wanted to prove myself as an all-rounder and I've done that. I feel I've completed that target now," he said.

I was always fascinated to hear that our new Bronze medal winning gymnast never looks at the scores during the competition. He “simply” focusses on the disciplines and ignores the score until the end, which sounds relatively straightforward until you watch the coverage and see the scores flashing around the stadium, and the resultant cheers and groans.

Before Max won his Bronze, synchronised diving duo Jack Laugher and Chris Mears struck Gold. GB had never won a diving Gold before, ever. Again for a number of reasons. That didn’t stop them from going for Gold and I love that in the home they share, they have 3 photo frames on the mantelpiece – one is filled, the other two were left empty – ready to be used for the photos of the two divers with their Gold medals. So they saw those empty frames every day, reminding them on their goal.

When setting goals and targets, whether that might be your company’s performance, your own role at work, or even a personal goal, it really is possible to aim high, higher than ever before, and then to achieve that goal.


Since this blog has been published Max Whitlock has gone on to win a further 2 Gold Medals. This reinforces the point that believing it's possible to acheive something that has never been done before and setting ambitious goals can lead to success.

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