With the Winter Olympics in full swing, it's hard not to come across the name Mikaela Shiffrin. She's the 22 year old super star alpine ski racer from Colorado and she's competing in her 2nd Winter Olympics in South Korea. Everything you read about this girl states she's on track to beat out Lindsey Vonn and Ingemar Stenmark (current World Cup record holder).
I highly encourage reading this article about her in Outside Magazine- https://www.outsideonline.com/2263506/dont-worry-about-it-and-youll-be-great-said-nobody
What really struck me about Mikaela's story is how dedicated she is to the sport all in an effort to be the best, even at the expense of her social life. How many 22 years old do you know that are spending their weekends training/working/practicing instead of going out with their friends?
The work-life balance conversation often advocates taking more time for yourself and stepping away from the office in order to promote health, both mentally and physically. You're not likely to find a lot of advice about working 80 hour work weeks and sleeping at your office. But why does the notion of working overtime to achieve your goals have to be viewed as an imbalance? Or even imply that this makes us unhappy or unhealthy?
Now, I'm not promoting that we all become workaholics with no social lives, but we have many successful companies today that wouldn't exist if it hadn't been for an individual that threw out the notion of work-life balance to achieve their dreams.
For example, Tony Hsieh from Zappos spent nearly every waking moment involved in his company Venture Frogs. So much so that he purchased an apartment building to use as office space, living space, and even a restaurant so there was practically never a reason to leave. He also has a book called 'Delivering Happiness' and is touted for creating one of the most fanatical company cultures.
On the flip side, you have Steve Jobs who once disclosed his working hours were 7:00am to 9:00pm everyday. Although, his management style has come under scrutiny, there's no denying he help to build one of the biggest technology empires of our time.
And that's the difference between someone who is good enough to compete at the Olympics and someone who wins the race by two or three seconds, because when you're doing something you're passionate about, your willing to put in the extra hours and make personal sacrifices. It's your version of the Olympic gold medal.