If you are enjoying the Sochi Olympics, perhaps you are familiar with the expression "YOLO." Since I’m way behind on my social media speak (not to mention words like halfpipe), here are a few things that were new to me and maybe to you:
YOLO means “You Only Live Once.” I’m told it’s the poor man’s “Carpe Diem.” Voices on the Internet say YOLO is overused, a weak excuse for doing something that is wrong or dangerous, or a non-answer to a question. I’m sick of TGIF and LOL, but I kinda like YOLO at the moment.
Shaun White (a super-famous snow border -- my sons have his personal brand of boards and boots stowed in the garage) hoped to win a third gold metal at these games. Despite his ambition, he wisely opted out of the slopestyle event because the course was considered dangerous.
Russian-born I-PodIouri Podladtchikov, affectionately known as “I-Pod” in snow boarding circles, grew up admiring and emulating Shaun. I-Pod invented a trick called the YOLO that Shaun could not master. I-Pod won the gold, while Shaun did not “make the podium,” as they say.
When it was clear he had won, I-Pod seemed endearingly surprised and overwhelmed to have bested his mentor and friend. It was wonderful to see them embrace and speak highly of one another after the competition. Gorgeous sportsmanship.
Now to my point (whew!) After watching their performances, I got to thinking about three ways YOLO relates to career development:
1. YOLO is absolutely true: life is not a dress rehearsal.
2. YOLO requires vision: seeing yourself at the top of the half pipe, twisting around, and landing on your feet as the crowds go crazy.
3. When you decide to undertake a YOLO goal it requires courage and risk.
With apologies to those who think the term YOLO needs to go, I am struck by the power of the expression. It seems to me that in some ways, it’s stronger than "Seize the day!" because YOLO decisions require having an intention, training, perseverance, and execution.
I’ve made a few YOLO decisions in my life. Not all resulted in the equivalent of a gold medal, but I was always better off for taking the risk. Since the Olympics, I’ve been asking myself: How would the YOLO mindset elevate my work life? How about yours?
In the next few posts I’m going to keep asking this question and provide some articles you may find of interest, as you consider what you want to pack into the very short time all of us get on the planet.