Values Recipe for Success

It was a privilege to welcome Tom George, Olympic Bronze medallist, to school this morning. Following his success at the Tokyo Olympics he spoke passionately about his experiences as part of the GB Team and the highs and lows along the way. His messages resonated with our school values.

Tom attended the Dragon School in Oxfordshire before moving to Radley and then the United States where he studied at Princeton University. His desire to become an Olympic athlete started at school where he was encouraged to join the rowing club. Talking about his career, he explained to the children that the journey to success was just as important as the destination, and that they should take a step back from time to time to savour the moment.

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” (Arthur Ashe)

Tom explained that he has always been incredibly focused on achieving Olympic success but he had found it important along the way to stop and reflect on his progress and enjoy his achievements. He encouraged the children to allow themselves not only to dream but also to work towards their dreams, in small steps, keeping their focus.

Tom was an absolute delight to listen to. He spoke of the need for effective teamwork in the boat, with every member working in harmony with each other. He mentioned the community feeling and the strength of being together through the highs and lows as well as the need to reflect during his journey of success on what had gone well and why. He described the resilience he needed during the lockdown periods, when he would spend hours, day after day, in his parents’ shed in the Cotswolds on the ergo machine, asking himself, “If somebody in the world is doing this better, why?” He impressed upon the children that he needed strong relationships with his team in order to achieve their very best. Finally he told the children to enjoy whatever it was in their lives that they wanted to pursue and be happy and not to allow anybody persuade them that they would never succeed.

It was incredible that the aspects he spoke about are the very same values which we hold so dearly at Yateley Manor. It is so important that children see role models who not only inspire them but demonstrate a strong set of beliefs and values for them to explore and follow. Our values are important because they help us to grow and develop. They help us to create the future we want to experience. The decisions we make are a reflection of our values and beliefs, and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. That purpose is the satisfaction of our individual or collective needs. When we use our values to make decisions, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us. When values are shared, they build internal cohesion in a community, such as our school.

We wish Tom the very best of luck as he continues on his journey to Olympic success, hopefully with a gold medal in Paris in 2024. We hope that he stopped for a moment today and savoured the time he spent with children who he had clearly inspired so much.