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Rugby World Cup England Star inspires Willmott Dixon managers

Businesses and Sport can share the same visions, the same values, and the same attributes, being a sports person can have the exact same values as some working in a business- Teamwork, passion, and determination.

10th September 2019, Inspired Through Sport held a business event for Willmott Dixon, a construction company founded in 1852, a family run business, dedicated to leaving a positive legacy in communities and environments.  The visit itself was on a Trainee Managers enrichment day and the company wanted to show how Sporting Values can be associated with construction and how these values can be used in day to day life. The day itself was headed up by Peter Owen, one of the Construction Managing Directors assisted by  Jenny Hennesy, Head of Communications. The event also provided a free school funded event in the Birmingham area through the #givingback programme. 

The event itself was held at the Hyatt Hotel in Birmingham, and in attendance were 40 trainee managers and staff, in this plush setting the event began with a 3-course meal and then an inspirational talk from an athlete. The athlete was Lydia Thompson a current women’s rugby play who plays for England and Worcester Warriors, a RWC Silver Medalist and Commonwealth Games Bronze. Unfortunately, her journey in sport wasn’t as straight forward as it seemed. Lydia learned through the devastation of injury and being out of the game, what her true values were and how she sees herself now as a person. 

During Lydia’s talk, she explained her incredible journey through Sport and told of how to embrace any challenges given, as life isn’t straight forward. She began with the 2014 Rugby World Cup, where she started the pool stages and was then ruled out through injury, still winning a gold medal which gave her the drive to carry on. She was then included in the Olympic Games programme, as 7s had just been recognised as an Olympic Sport. The Olympic games cycle was around 2 years and in that time, she had represented England in the 6 nations and Autumn Internationals but didn’t know how to deal with pressure correctly. She went onto say Pre Olympics she was more rigid and inflexible, was also focused on the next goal, she had become obsessed with meeting goals and objectives which was an unhealthy mentality to have. The injury to her groin was the wake-up call she needed, pain can be a positive reflection, despite pain being seen as a negative. Missing out on the Olympics allowed her to put herself into perspective, on the person she was and the values she had and what needed to change. She explained a values exercise which can be incorporated in all walks of life. 'Imagine a family member, a friend, a colleague, a coach, what would they say about you? What would you want them to say about you? You work too hard and have no time? Or that you are kind and caring, funny, determined'. Connecting with people in the workplace is important. Not everyone is perfect, but this allowed Lydia to learn, and learn to love herself and loving to learn, she realised there was a lot more to life than a medal. Lydia understood that changes to her values could spill into rugby and allow her to have a healthier mentality and outlook. Values are a compass of life, everyone including businesses has values, they act as a guide. Lydia explained to "focus on the positives of situations and have an openness approach to them even if they are seen as a negative". 

After her talk, she held a Q and A session, one question 'What would you tell your 16-year-old self?' she explained that she wouldn't change anything and needed to go through what she did as it allowed her to grow as a person and become the person she is today. Another question asked was 'How do you remain objective?' She stated that you need to remain objective, reflect internally and focus on what mattered. She also mentioned loyalties and contributions which matches with many companies values including Wilmott Dixon. She said she now plays rugby '"to inspire others, and not for her anymore" you need to be brave and inspire others, this is why she has stayed at Worcester Warriors and not chased money at other clubs, she went onto say that your own contributions can be beneficial, and its rewarding when it comes through. Lydia bought her silver medal with her, and that the medal itself didn't stand for much but silver stood for a lot including the contributions as a team, determination and the journey itself. She was then asked ‘How do you get over it’ referring to the setbacks like losing the 2017 Rugby World Cup Final. Lydia explained it can be difficult, but it's so much more than the results, you need to problem solve and reflect on the game itself and what went wrong, and how you can overcome it and what lessons can be learned from it. The losing didn’t take away the journey too and through the Rugby World Cup itself. This highlighting that issues at work can easily be solved, and if something has gone wrong it can easily be rectified.

Lydia's talk and Q and A session inspired the trainee managers, the talk identified that Sport and Business can be the same, and values are also important in business as they are in the sport. 

If you are interested in an athlete to inspire your workforce follow the link below

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