The sight of Dame Sarah Storey winning her 17th Gold Medal at the Tokyo Paralympic 2020 games was both humbling and inspiring. As Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian, Sarah’s story is motivation for us all to keep raising the bar as we strive to achieve the extraordinary.


Set your sights high 

Despite being told at the age of 10 that “she had started training too late to be really good at anything” Sarah was fiercely ambitious from a young age, as shown when she said, “I just wanted to be a British athlete, I wanted to compete for my country for as long as I possibly could.”  Eight Olympic games and 28 medals later she has immediately set her sight on further glory in Paris 2024.  By believing in yourself and harnessing your ambition in this way, you too can keep raising your game, whether it’s securing a promotion at work or winning a new deal.


Practice, Practice, Practice

According to the 10,000 hour rule, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world class in your field. Sarah’s husband Barney described her grit and determination when he said, “It’s very difficult to put into words the drive and dedication that allow her to keep competing and winning and getting better… how she finds new ways to push her body even more.”  Be inspired by Sarah’s example and don’t be tempted to rest on your laurels. Adopt a growth mentality and commit to honing your commercial skills on a daily basis to help you drive your performance and stand out from the competition. 


Challenge yourself to try something new 

The older you get, the easier it is to get stuck in your comfort zone. It’s only by challenging yourself to do things differently that you can keep raising your game. After all, as Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” When Sarah Storey had to stop swimming because of persistent ear infections, she took up cycling instead. This ability to embrace change and adapt to new circumstances are the hallmarks of a real champion, whatever field you are in.


As the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 draw to a close, its legacy will be these empowering stories of ambition, grit and determination; traits that enable us to overcome adversity and achieve the extraordinary in every walk of life.