From captaining the team to scoring own goals, there are a plethora of parallels between the world of business and that of sport. We spoke to Rachelle Viinberg, Canadian Olympic rower and silver medalist, who revealed how her sports-driven background has shaped her determined attitude.
“Being an Olympic athlete, it does play into to having lasting goals,” she explained. “It took me three Olympics to win a medal; which meant 18 training sessions a week for 15 years. So, you can imagine in 15 years, you can imagine the sorts of obstacles that fall into your path. I wanted to quit at some points and throw in the towel, but I knew I wasn’t done.”
It’s this goal-setting mindset that spurred on Viinberg’s determination. She added that, even on the days she wanted to give it all up, she kept her eyes on the prize.
“I had a goal I wanted to reach, and into order to get there I had to break things down into small tangible steps. And approaching everything on a day-to-day basis brought be to my long-term goal of an Olympic medal.”
In terms of being a better HR professional, Viinberg believes that sticking to the fundamentals is one of the greatest leadership styles. “Lead by example,” she told HRD Canada. “When you take care of yourselves with mental health and wellbeing it sets a great example for their staff.
“Listen to your employees. I know there’s a hierarchy; but it’s important for employees to have be somewhere they feel safe, heard and supported.”
As part of CAMH and Morneau Shepell
’s 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health, Viinberg also had some advice for employers looking to help employees living and working with mental health issues. She reminded us of the importance of encouraging workers to exercise and watch their sugar intake.
“If people are having troubles in their life, the worst thing they can do is keep it inside,” said Viinberg.
“It doesn’t’ have to be a professional you have to talk to – it can be a friend or a colleague. The most essential thing is that you tell someone. Talk about it. Everyone that I know either struggles with metal health, or knows somebody who struggles with it.
“It’s not unusual, we just need to talk about it more.”