During the very last days of the old and the first days of the new year, a sport which is quite unpopular in wide parts of the world draws the attention of TV viewers in countries like Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and Japan: Ski Jumping.
This crazy activity of skiing down a ramp and then taking off for up to 240 meters (over 260 yards) sees it’s yearly climax in the so called “Four Hills Tournament” in which athletes take on four different ski jumping ramps within ten days to determine an overall winner.
Ski jumping is an outdoor sport which often makes the outcome unpredictable as weather or ramp condition may have an enormous impact. That may be the reason why it took 50 years until one athlete managed to win all four events (Sven Hannawald, 2001/02).
It’s a sport where details determine the result. Still, ski jumpers never complain about the conditions. They always try to make the best out of it. Even when the wind turn from up to tailwind and they know they will not have a chance to beat the athletes that started just a few minutes earlier, they fight to make the best out of the conditions. And due to the tournament rules that add all individual results instead of awarding points according to the position reached in an event, actually every meter counts.
There’s a lot we can learn in business from ski jumpers, but I want to boil it down to those two points:
Always strive for delivering the best you can in the actual situation you are in, even in case the situation as such sucks. And when the wind turns to an unfavorable direction: Continue to fight as every meter may count in the end.
Hope for the upwind but be prepared to jump even if it doesn’t come.