The ability to turn threat to opportunity has long been known to be a high performer mind-set in any field but perhaps it is nowhere more obvious than in the back stories of the Paralympians.
Time and time again their story is of getting the opportunity to start a new sport and compete for their country as a result of their often horrific injuries and certainly not about what chance has taken from their lives. Alla Lysenko from Ukraine went rowing for the first time at the age of 40 following an accident where she lost both her legs. Three years later she is the Paralympic women's single sculling Gold medallist. 5 or 6 years ago, a friend of Clare Strange (captain of GB women's wheelchair basketball team), on reading a newspaper article, talked excitedly to Clare about the possibilities of stem cell research for spine regeneration but Clare just replied "They can fix me, but not until after London".
What is so striking is how quickly so many of these athletes embraced that their life was permanently changed and searched out the new opportunities. Paralympic stories are full of people who found their sport within months or even weeks of their accident or illness. And many of these athletes have so embraced their new lives that they would not now go back, even if they could.
How many business leaders can truly say that they have embraced the financial challenges of the past few years with that same mind-set? And what could some of them have achieved if they had?
But the opportunities of the Paralympics go beyond that of the individual. Sainsbury's are a Paralympic sponsor and Channel 4 got the TV rights. Both for a fraction of the sum than it would have cost them to do the same for the Olympics. Perhaps only very forward thinking and opportunistic leaders could have foreseen the unprecedented interest that the Paralympics has had for the British people and got on that train.
What opportunities are out there for business leaders prepared to look outside the mainstream?
And finally I've noticed whole countries that have embraced the opportunities the Paralympics offers. Brazil could only qualify 2 single scullers for the Olympic Regatta but they had a full team for the Paras. No medals this time but they are obviously on a development track for Rio, 22nd on the Olympic medal table Brazil are currently 8th at the Paralympics. Poland is another country that seems to have seized the opportunities the Paralympics offers, 9th on the medal table with 10 Golds (compared to 30th at the Olympics) the Polish flag has been flying everywhere, no doubt giving their country a boost of national pride. And finally Israel has found double the opportunity. The army has heavily invested in their Paralympic programme as a way of rehabilitating injured soldiers. They were going to spend the money anyway so why not in such a positive way for these individuals? And in the process Israel has already got 2 Silver and 4 Bronze Paralympic medals, compared to none at the Olympics.
What are the parallel opportunities for businesses to link necessary training and development to something inspiring, rewarding and profile raising for the individuals and organisation as a whole?
Follow Adrian Moorhouse on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@AdrianMoorhous