Beautiful, graceful and tough as nails

At 24, Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette is beautiful, graceful and mentally tough as nails. Going into the recent Olympics, she was carrying the weight of her country’s expectations on her shoulders. She could be the first Canadian ice skater to win a medal in Olympic figure skating in 12 years … if she skated her best. Then, two days before her Olympic competition began, her mother died unexpectedly. She and her dad decided that her mom would want her to compete. So, game on … no excuses.

The next few days showed what an incredible mental athlete Joannie is! As she warmed up before her short program (the first of two parts of the competition), she was near tears as the crowd cheered her on. But by the time she reached center ice to begin her program, her face and body had completely changed. Not only was she ready to skate, she skated the best short program of her life. When she was done, she broke down and cried uncontrollably. She had compartmentalized her grief long enough to skate and perform at her best when it was most important to her. (Watch Joannie’s short program.)


Two days later, Joannie rose up again and skated the best long program of her career. She earned the bronze medal for herself, her family, all Canadians and everyone who watched. Joannie is not only a technically beautiful and graceful skater, she is also mentally tough as nails.

A major difference with high performers, like Joannie, is that they don’t believe in excuses! It’s the same in business; the very best entrepreneurs and executives whom I’ve worked with don’t whine, complain or make excuses. These traits are necessary to create a high-performing business culture or to be a high-performing individual – yet they are missing for most people and most companies. One great example of an entrepreneurial company that has created this type of high-performance culture is a company in Denver, Associates III (

Unfortunately, the following conversation with a business owner typifies why most organizations and people are mediocre. When talking with him, I said, “If I’m going to work with your team, one of the guidelines is no whining, complaining or excuses.” He paused for a moment, then raised his arms in wonder and said, “TC, if my folks can’t whine, complain and make excuses … what the hell will they talk about?”

Do you want mediocrity, or greatness?
Eliminate whining, complaining and excuses and see what happens!

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