Book review: Personal Best

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Paralympian swimmer Marc Woods

Personal Best, by Marc Woods
Personal Best, by Marc Woods

We have all learned about superhumans from the London Paralympics this year. Marc Woods, Paralympian swimmer and multiple gold medallist, lost a leg to cancer and has used his experience to outperform most other able-bodied people.

A large part of his success is attributable to his approach to life. Woods never wants to achieve anything less than his full potential. Now he is a motivational speaker, and his clients include BMW, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson.

The secret to Woods' success comes down to a combination of different factors: living life proactively, taking personal responsibility, setting goals, understanding what motivates you and then finding good role models. Another is resilience - perhaps the quality most pertinent to the pressurised situation many charity managers find themselves in. Being resilient means being able to bounce back quickly, and everyone can benefit from improvement - even those who are mentally tougher than others.

Resilience can come from preparing for the worst-case scenario, adapting quickly to a new reality and then getting on with it. To get the medal positions, you have to be a podium thinker.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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