Throughout my life I have been interested in sports so watching the Olympics holds certain appeal for me. Higher. Faster. Stronger. The media loves to find the human interest stories behind the athletes and show how each overcame adversity to be among the best in the world at whatever sport they are part of.

Back at the 2010 winter Olympics, Canada added a new element to its games – swagger.  And it was evident in Rio.  Certainly, even the name of our elite athletes’ support program, Own the Podium, has a bit of that swagger in it. How truly un-Canadian it seems at first but then our competitive spirit does like to win.

Certainly, the Americans have swagger – and it often comes across as arrogance – something I do not like. Then there is Mr. Bolt whose swagger is so overt as to be ridiculous and while I admire his obvious, almost super-human ability, I do not like his theatrics.

But, there is a lesson in this for all of us who compete whether it is on the field of athletics or business – a bit of swagger can be the secret sauce of winning. The person or company with swagger in the right amount can inspire confidence. In the world of business, service buyers and recruiters may use that swagger to make a decision to buy or hire; swagger can cast doubt on the ability of others to perform the same job or it can cause competitors to drop out of the race to compete. All things being equal, swagger can make the difference.

Of course, finding the balance between swagger and bragging or worse exaggerating is the art. As a typical Canadian, I am slow to blow my own horn and worse, I often use self-deprecation to avoid appearing boastful. I admit that I am getting better at swagger but it still causes me discomfort. I can honestly say that my skill level measures up to the best; now I need to develop the secret sauce recipe that gives me the competitive edge, so I will be developing my swagger. Look out world!

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