In order to encourage participation from developing countries, the International Olympic Committee will allow some athletes to compete in the Olympics who would normally not stand a chance of qualifying. Back in 2000 at the Sydney games, a man named Eric Moussambani (later nicknamed Eric the Eel) from the little known African nation of Equatorial Guinea took to the water to compete in the 100m freestyle. I'm not sure what Eric's previous 'career' was, but he had only learnt how to swim 6 months before the games and had never seen a 50m pool until he arrived at the starting blocks.
There were only 2 other swimmers in his heat, but they were both disqualified for making false starts. That left Eric to swim on his own. I use the term 'swim' loosely, because Eric struggled to 50m and as he made the turn, he seemed to be sinking rather than swimming. The sympathetic crowd began to cheer Eric on and he eventually managed to reach the end in a time of 1 minute 47 seconds. That's over a minute slower than the world record.
That's not the full story. Despite the ridicule, Eric didn't hang his head in shame. He returned home, trained for the next Olympics in Athens and brought his personal best down to 57 seconds. Unfortunately he couldn't compete due to a visa problem.
Eric, against the odds and in the face of ridicule, tried something new.
He recognised the standard he needed to attain, then went back home and trained
in order to reach that standard.
What career change lessons can you learn from Eric the Eel?