In interview after interview he promised that his performance in the London games was going to be "epic" and "one to remember." I cannot count how many times NBC host Bob Costas referred to Lochte as "very confident!" (Translation "cocky.")
After winning a gold medal in his first individual event, it appeared that the "Summer of Lochte" was in full swing! Then a funny thing happened, Lochte fell short of the expectations he created. In three races (two individual and one team relay) Ryan Lochte was beaten and he found himself (or his team) off the gold medal stand.
Soon the headlines started bashing Lochte, screaming "Lochte Flops Again" and "Lochte Learns Lesson." One swim commentator, when speaking about Lochte's early performances, said it this way, "If you're going to talk, you better back it up!" Another article began with, "Ryan Lochte says it would be his time at the London Olympics. He'll have to wait until next time."
Hmmm...the epic games Lochte promised weren't as epic as he proclaimed; and people seemed to cheer against him or at least revel in seeing someone so smugly confident falling short.
Here's the funny thing~Ryan Lochte won five medals in the London games. For anyone else, five medals would be a great Olympics. For Lochte, the fact that he 'only' won one individual gold medal and lost the lead on a couple of races during the games that were supposed to be all about him, invited questions as to whether or not his Olympics were even a success.
What is the lesson here? Most people cannot succeed without having a legion of fans along the way. Your success requires the help of the people around you. Your success requires customers who trust you; co-workers who like working with you; employees who will follow you and employers who will advance you.
When you boast - when you brag - when you self-proclaim your greatness to the world, many people in the world will root against you, people will compete harder against you, and they will do what they can to make you eat your words. Not the best formula for developing a foundation for success right?
Have you ever had a "know-it-all" boss, brother-in-law, friend or family member? Don't you LOVE IT when they're wrong? It's human nature and you can help this work for you or against you. Why not help it work for you?
Here are some tips to consider:
- Stay humble! Even if you're the best at what you do, let your performance speak for itself.
- Edify others. Always give credit to others when possible.
- Take responsibility. When you falter or your team falters, take responsibility for it. Forget pointing fingers, besides no one is going to believe you anyway.
- Back it up! If you're still determined to tell the world how great you are, then be prepared to back it up!