The Youth Olympic Games: An Unforgettable Experience

October 19, 2018

The past few weeks have provided me with one of the most rewarding and motivating experiences of my career. I had the privilege of being selected by the Canadian Olympic Committee to act as Chef de Mission for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I would like to thank the COC and the selection committee for this treasured opportunity.

When I ended my athletic career, I set myself the goal of remaining active in sports and the Olympic movement and of continuing to encourage new generations of athletes in all sports. Thanks to the COC’s decision, I was able to achieve this dream.

Over the past few days, the members of the Canadian team and I have shared a wide range of emotions. I had the opportunity to provide encouragement to our young athletes in moments of both joy and sadness. I cheered them through exceptional performances and stood with them in moments of disappointment.

I hope the athletes come away from these Games with wonderful memories as well as valuable life lessons. I tried to impress upon them the importance of practicing their sport with integrity and of always respecting their opponent.

Regardless of their results, this event was an exceptional springboard for these young people. Before the closing ceremonies, I told them the following:

“If your performance was outstanding, have the strength to find out how you can improve further. Following a victory, your finish line should always become your starting line. For those of you whose results were not what you had hoped for, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Ask yourself what went wrong in your performance and how you can improve it. I hope your disappointment becomes a source of motivation for you.”

As for me, I’m leaving Argentina filled with pride and hope. Canada has a promising future in sport! I hope to be able to accompany the Canadian team again soon!

Go get it!


A great logo is nothing without good service and good products

September 12, 2018

Since entering the field of business, I have noticed that many new entrepreneurs tend to place a disproportionate emphasis on their brand image and the creation of their logo.

While these are indeed critical to the success of a business, they should never take more energy and resources than the quality of the product, the message, and the customer relationship.

I am personally very severe with this last aspect. When I go to a restaurant and an employee has a bad attitude, my experience is completely transformed, in addition to giving me a bad image of the company, and this, regardless of the pace of the place.

This crucial subject reminds me in particular of my first experience with RedBull. I was still competing at the time, and representatives of the brand, young men and women, came to the stadium to make us taste the products. I clearly remember that they had a lot of interpersonal skills and they constantly smiled.

Initially, seeing the name of the brand that means “red bull” in French, all athletes looked at each other with a skeptical look. It must be said that we were very careful with the new products, given all the ingredients that we were not allowed to consume.

Yet their representatives have been convincing; a marketing technique still used extensively by the company. Today, we see that the latter is worth its weight in gold. In addition to being a guarantee of quality, RedBull ranks number one among all energy drink manufacturers.

Therefore, the priority of entrepreneurs, well before the look of their organization, should always be to provide a good service and spread a message that allows them to target the right clientele. If you lack the means to reach your advertising objectives, it is essential to find you allies.

Go get it!


Walking toward success, one task at a time

August 23, 2018

I am often asked by many participants who attend my conferences how I managed tasks that I don’t like but are essential to my success.

In the business world, particularly when you first venture out, you must constantly take on responsibilities that are not part of your field of expertise, that make you uncomfortable or that you clearly hate.

As far as I’m concerned and in all honesty, there are two obligations that come with being an entrepreneur that I hate: talking on the phone (I sometimes spend hours!) and meetings. After being closed-in for 45 minutes in the same room, I get restless. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team (NBA) and a shark on the TV show The Shark Tank, says he also hates meetings which is expressed in his famous phrase, “Unless you have a check for me I don’t do meetings.” Of course, he’s a billionaire and I’m not lol.

I am well aware that the hours which seem to be a waste of time are essential to reaching my goals, to developing opportunities and partnerships for my conferences, to my foundation, to the Surin Collection as well as my real estate investments.

I had the same dilemma when I was an athlete. I remember that I didn’t like to do speed endurance training. We would run on distances of 250 to 350 metres repeatedly with minimal time for recuperation. My legs hurt, I had cramps and my heart would beat very rapidly.

However, this extremely difficult training was necessary. If I didn’t comply, my competitors would and they would surely take the lead during competitions.

Despite the need for these unpleasant tasks, some people will tell you that you are the boss and you can always delegate. But it’s impossible to always delegate. Sooner or later, you will have to get in the right frame of mind to perform these tasks.

For my part, I concentrate on the final outcome and consider these tasks as small sacrifices necessary to my success. And you? What are your tips on getting through your most difficult tasks?

Pour ma part, je me concentre sur l’objectif final, et les considère comme un mini sacrifice essentiel à mon succès. Et vous, quels sont vos trucs pour passer au travers des tâches plus difficiles?

Go get it!


Dare to dream beyond reality

August 1, 2018

At the age of 17, I had set one of the biggest and most difficult goals of my life, to run faster than my idol Carl Lewis.

Many people just laughed in my face. Nearly 99% of them took me by the shoulders and told me to be “realistic”.

At that time, I wondered what being “realistic” meant. What does it mean to be a realist? How do we determine if a goal is realistic or not? Faced with unclear boundaries, I ignored their advice.

Fifteen years later in 1999, I achieved a time of 9.84 seconds in the 100 meters; two hundreds of a second faster than Lewis. My performance would be the second fastest of all time.

In 2003, following the evolution of Usain Bolt’s career, I predicted that this great athlete would succeed in achieving the 9.60 second mark within five years. Again, they told me I was crazy. Five years later, we heard the same thing from Bolt, that he would reach this goal. He was also told to be more realistic. At present date, the world record stands at 9.58 seconds.

I have experienced this lack of faith dozens of times in my career; from winning the gold medal in the relay in 1996, to my decision of going into business. This is why when I meet young people today, I make it my duty to tell them that they have all the potential to go after their dreams. I also encourage businessmen I network with to remove such words as “realist”, “achievable”, and “durable” from their vocabulary.

I like giving them the example of Nike, the biggest sports equipment supplier in the world with whom I collaborated in the creation of my own competition shoe. The founders of this huge firm started like everyone else, at the bottom of the ladder, selling imported products from Asia while travelling across the United States by car. Little by little, they started promoting their products during track and field competitions and sponsored athletes. Their road to success was extraordinary, but not unachievable.

I like giving them the example of Nike, the biggest sports equipment supplier in the world with whom I collaborated in the creation of my own competition shoe. The founders of this huge firm started like everyone else, at the bottom of the ladder, selling imported products from Asia while travelling across the United States by car. Little by little, they started promoting their products during track and field competitions and sponsored athletes. Their road to success was extraordinary, but not unachievable.

As Walt Disney used to say, “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

Go get it!


Succeeding from scratch

January 16, 2019

I am constantly inspired by reading and listening to documentaries about people who have succeeded beyond all expectations. I like to follow and understand their path, and draw parallels with mine to see how I can improve myself as an entrepreneur, business coach and speaker.

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch a film and a documentary about two courageous and innovative musicians who impressed me a lot and offered me new perspectives on my career and my journey.

The documentary called Chasing Trane, available on Netflix, focuses on the career of the famous saxophone player John Coltrane. Born in misery, at a time when African Americans were oppressed and did not have the same rights as whites in the United States, the musician realized the impossible.

Determined to succeed, he diligently practiced visualization, seeing himself pushing the limits and achieving his goals. As a true athlete would do, he set up the his own training camp. He retreated in his little studio for almost two weeks, taking breaks only to eat. This practice yielded incredible results. Today, John Coltrane is nothing short of a legend.

In the feature film Bohemian Rhapsody, we follow the famous group Queen in a retreat outside their hometown. The musicians hope to avoid distractions and create historical music. Mission accomplished! It was during this retreat that Freddie Mercury composed some of the most incredible songs in his repertoire.

It is through such examples that I recommend to the athletes and entrepreneurs I meet to commit to an annual training camp. This habit allows them to step out of their comfort zone and free their minds to focus solely on training and personal improvement.

Whatever your purpose and field, leave out negative thoughts. Forget your lack of resources or lack of time. Do like John Coltrane and Freddie Mercury. Work, put the necessary effort, choose a positive and rigorous mindset and you will succeed. When there’s a will there’s a way!

Go get it!


Fast implementation: we must act today

July 4, 2018

“ Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. ”
– Wayne Gretzky

To succeed in business, or in any field, I am convinced that it is necessary to always seek to improve and acquire new knowledge. That’s why, as part of my conferences, I encourage people not to hesitate to attend conventions, train or mentor.

To succeed in business, or in any field, I am convinced that it is necessary to always seek to improve and acquire new knowledge. That’s why, as part of my conferences, I encourage people not to hesitate to attend conventions, train or mentor. The goal is not only to become more efficient and better equipped, but also to follow the evolution and changes that affect your respective environment. However, acquiring new knowledge is not enough; you also have to be able to apply them.

Indeed, a client recently told me that after attending a conference, he felt his motivation increase for a few days at work before it returned to normal. He hoped to find a way to conserve that energy longer.

So I asked him what he was doing with the new apprenticeships he had faced during his training. His answer: nothing special. This behavior is not unique. Nearly 98% of people who think of taking action never put it in motion.

So here’s my tip: every time you learn something, make sure you find out how it can be adapted to your particular area and put it into practice quickly. This is the only way to progress.

My thinking is: what can you do today to be better tomorrow? Be constantly on the lookout for an aspect of your personality or work method on which to stake. Do not wait until tomorrow. Act now, apply your knowledge from the acquisition.

So you will always want to learn and gradually you will become a true expert.

Go get it!


Together, we go farther

May 23. 2018

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. ”

  • Andrew Carnegie

I’m pretty sure you’ve already noticed that geese returning from the south in the spring fly in a V-formation. The strategy, which protects the weakest and allows each bird to take advantage of the airflow created by its wingmate in front, allows the flock to travel 70% faster than if each member undertook this great voyage solo.

For geese and for humans, cohesion within a team is crucial. Throughout my career, I have seen examples of this everywhere in the sports and business world: the strength and potential of the group. la force et le potentiel du groupe.

For example, during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, my team won the gold in the 4 X 100 metre relay. No matter what the results each runner had achieved previously, no matter that Donovan Bailey was the greatest sprinter in the world, we each had to give our 110%. Each of us held the same importance on the team. If it wasn’t for the combined efforts and respective strengths of each, there would not have been a gold medal.

That’s why when I take on something new, I am constantly looking to surround myself with people I can trust, and whose ambition and drive matches my own. Thanks to our common values and goals, each member of my team challenges me to push myself even harder and do the very best I can.

To establish a strong sense of teamwork within my troops, I try to keep a few things in mind. First, that team cohesion cannot be improvised. You need to build mutual trust between teammates, and allow them to understand their respective strengths, weaknesses and interests, both inside and outside of work. This knowledge and comradeship becomes an opportunity to define shared goals and cultivate mutual respect.

No human being possesses all the qualities needed to obtain the best results alone. Even the greatest athletes and entrepreneurs rely on a team that helps them manage their time better, stay on top of new trends and foster a mindset to ensure they achieve their best performance.

Alone, we go faster. Together, we go farther.

Go get it!


Overcoming failure

May 4, 2018

“You will sometimes fail. There will never be a point in your life when you are too successful, too old or too wise to fail. Accept failure and let it put steel into your soul. Be made strong by your failures and be made grateful by your success. Like night and day, both will surely come to every life.“
– Tony Parsons

Failure is a part of everyday life for both athletes and entrepreneurs. Because of this, our career success depends largely on our ability to get past these hurdles.
In fact, I strongly encourage the people around me to ban the word “failure” from their vocabulary.

Having faced difficult situations many times in my life, I’ve come to think that maybe they should be seen as excellent opportunities to refocus… and fight back even harder than ever!

I’m convinced that we need to see obstacles in our way as new challenges to meet, like a test to see how willing we are to succeed. And, believe it or not, we always come out stronger in the end. If we look at it this way, we do not have to let defeat overshadow us.

The only mistake we can make is to give up before we’ve reached our goals.

There are numerous examples of this in sports: in 1999, I finished dead last in my category during the World Indoor Championships.

Five months later, I became the second-fastest sprinter of all time.
During his first year on the national team, speed skater Charles Hamelin had to be cut. Five Olympic medals and a world championship title later, I think it’s safe to say that Charles really knew how to pick himself up and turn this into a learning experience.

In business, I’m sure you’ve heard many stories of entrepreneurs who managed to grow their company even while it was teetering on the brink. The example of Howard Schultz is particularly remarkable: banks refused to finance his project 242 times. Today, Starbucks is one of the most profitable multinationals on the planet and has completely revolutionized the coffee industry.

So, I’m curious: how do you get past roadblocks in your life?

Feel free to share inspiring examples and effective strategies on how to overcome setbacks with me.

Go get it!


Mental preparation : the first step towards success

May 4, 2018

“One of the keys to success is self-confidence. One of the keys to self-confidence is preparation.”
– Arthur Ashe

When I remember and reflect on my career as a professional athlete, I am always amazed at the magnitude of the benefits and impacts it has had on my way of managing my life, my business, and my own personality.

“One of the keys to success is self-confidence. One of the keys to self-confidence is preparation. » – Arthur Ashe When I remember and reflect on my career as a professional athlete, I am always amazed at the magnitude of the benefits and impacts it has had on my way of managing my life, my business, and my own personality. In addition to teaching me discipline, rigor, perseverance and time management, my years on the track allowed me to better manage my stress and improve my mental preparation: two qualities that are very useful in my role as a speaker.

As I write this, I am about to deliver a lecture at Maco Pharma’s Annual Conference. A few hours before I come on stage, I will make sure to put myself in good shape to focus only on the task ahead.

Before a competition, I always made sure to free my mind of any negative thought. Today, before my conferences, I use the same strategy. I avoid reading e-mails and interacting with people who may be bad news.

I am in contact only with my team and my entourage. I devote the few hours I have to revisit my scenario, determine the appropriate tone for my audience and prepare my workshops according to the clientele.

During the trip to the scene, I calm down listening to classical music (rather rap during my competitions) and I do visualization; a technique that I use since the years leading up to my Olympic medal.

Thus, when I arrive at my destination, I am ready to perform and give my 100% to the client who hires me and to the public that I seek to motivate and inspire. Athlete one day, athlete always!
And you? How do you prepare for a stressful or important event for your career?

Feel free to share your tips and tricks with me on social media.

Go get it!


The benefits of multitasking

March 15, 2019

For those who want to increase their productivity and free up their time, multitasking might seem like one of the best ways to get ahead. As a businessman, I oversee several people, who in turn manage various tasks and responsibilities. Therefore, I’ve chosen multitasking a long time ago in order to get more efficient and to be able to keep an eye on everyone’s progress.

However, it depends on each person, line of work and situation: for some, multitasking works perfectly, while for others, it’s better to focus on one task at the time. By understanding the benefits I see in multitasking, I hope to help you decide whether it’s the right path for you and your company.

Multitasking for time saving

One of the most obvious benefits of multitasking is the efficiency gains. Rather than performing the tasks one after the other, you can combine them and achieve multiple things while your competitor gets only one task done. It is especially easy to apply with routine tasks such as sorting folders, making customary phone calls, checking emails or exercising, which can be done simultaneously. Multitasking also allows you to have more time for other aspects of life, such as spending time with your family.

Multitasking for money saving

Regardless of the field you’re working in, multitasking can help to save money. An efficient employer will accomplish tasks he’d otherwise delegate to employees or subcontractors. He can therefore decrease the number of employees needed or the hours they work, resulting in less extra expenses.

On the other hand, if you surround yourself with people who can perform many duties at the same time, you’ll be able to reduce the cost of hiring new employees and training them. Rather than appointing a new person, you can rely on someone that you already trust. Since multitalented employees can handle various responsibilities, you won’t need as many specialists to take care of particular tasks.

Multitasking for productivity gain

Multitasking people are usually more productive and deliver more output with fewer resources. Since they can accomplish more in a given period, the cost and the schedule of a project can be reduced. They can also spend more time on work that will bring in more revenue or have a positive impact on the success of your enterprise. Moreover, those who are multitasking do not tend to procrastinate since they always have something to do. Multiskilled employee are usually also able to help other with their works or to take more responsibilities in the event of an unexpected resignation or medical leave.

De plus, les personnes multitâches ont moins tendance à procrastiner, car elles ont toujours quelque chose à faire. Plus polyvalents, ils sont tout désignés pour aider d’autres personnes dans leur travail ou pour prendre davantage de responsabilités en cas de démission ou de congés de maladie imprévus.

Key takeaways

Despite the numerous advantages of multitasking, it can be easy to lose focus and to find ourselves with an especially heavy work burden. Remember that it is crucial to the success of your enterprise to keep multitasking to a limit you can handle in order to achieve your goals and save time, money and energy.

Go get it!