There will be few people unaware of the excitement generated by Great Britain hosting its third Olympics. Few could have predicted the extent of the excitement and ‘feel good factor’ experienced by the thousands of people who came out, despite the wind and rain, to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Torch bearers as they passed through cities, towns and villages throughout the UK. The 8,000 torch bearers drawn from such diverse backgrounds, many whose life stories exemplify courage, commitment, selflessness and compassion inspired us to embrace the Olympics in a new way.
It is easy to forget that to achieve a place in any of the Olympic or Paralympic events requires dedication and determination. Competitors strive to be the best and will encounter times of struggle and challenge along the way. These times will stretch them to their limits of endurance and shake their self belief. But still they strive to overcome these in their quest to achieve their potential and, as we see at each Olympics and Paralympics, individuals overcome seemingly impossible odds to do just that.
Just like those involved in sport it is easy for health and social care workers to become despondent and de-motivated when faced with what appear to be overwhelming challenges and obstacles. Currently those challenges are represented by the numerous inquiry reports highlighting failures in practice and care standards that have regularly hit the news headlines in the past year. It would be easy to give up when surrounded by such negative perceptions of the health and social care sector especially when current economic challenges have resulted in many workers being asked to do more work for the same or less pay. A ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t ’ attitude could pervade your thinking and leave you less inclined to even try to do your very best in each and every encounter with those who need your care and support.
However, the Olympic creed reminds us that the most important thing ‘is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.’
When competing sportsmen and women focus all their effort on the next step, whether that’s the next point in tennis or stroke in rowing. To do more can be overwhelming and reduce the chances of success. Perhaps health and social care workers can learn from that attitude. So, the next time you feel despondent and that all your efforts don’t make a difference, focus on taking one step at a time. Strive to achieve your very best by showing care, compassion and respect for others by giving each person you support your full attention as you help them to overcome their challenges and thereby enriching their lives. Surely to achieve this is success and one which brings a satisfaction few experience?
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