Magazine article HRMagazine

Winning Ways

Magazine article HRMagazine

Winning Ways

Article excerpt

Scott Hamilton is famous for winning. He brought home the Olympic gold medal from Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, in men's figure skating in 1984. He also came out on top at both the U.S. and world championships-four years in a row. In the decades since his Olympic victory, Hamilton, 59, got married, had four kids, became a TV commentator, survived cancer and brain tumors, founded a skating academy in Nashville, Tenn., and started the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation to fund cancer research.

But his professional and personal triumphs followed years of struggles. He was sickly as a child with an illness that stunted his growth. His mother died when he was a teenager. At his first U.S. National Figure Skating Championship, Hamilton fell five times and finished dead last. In his new book, Finish First: Winning Changes Everything (Thomas Nelson, 2018), he counsels that the way to become a winner is by living with purpose and getting back up when you're down.

You write that finishing first isn't necessarily about beating other people. So, what does winning mean for you?

It's about finding your purpose and then doing everything you can to get the greatest impact from that. That means leveraging your abilities to give yourself the best life possible. Of course, you will encounter barriers and unpleasant experiences in your pursuit of excellence-whether it's failures, criticism or living in fear of those things-but you'll get through them.

You have been critical of the modern parenting notion that all kids are medal-worthy. Why?

We're seeing a whole generation of young people who see the mountain peak and desperately want to be there, but they don't want to climb to reach it. We're not preparing them for life, which will be filled with failures. Trying to be excellent at something comes with a mountain of disappointments. But it is not this debilitating, horrible thing. …

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