ST. GEORGE – Olympian Joe Jacobi toured St. George this week offering a series of inspirational talks to students, entrepreneurs, business leaders and city officials. Jacobi’s visit was part of the Champions Tour hosted by local business incubator Outlier Labs.
The 1992 Gold Medalist in team canoe slalom left his job as CEO of USA Canoe/Kayak a year ago and embarked on a tour to share his strategy for self-awareness and success.
“The Olympic Games is this incredible platform of performance and focus and commitment,” Jacobi said, “these values that go into performing well that are so transferrable to any part of life.”
Jacobi has worked with groups and individuals who want to improve performance in business, relationships and personal health by applying the metaphor of his competitive experience.
“I take my sport, whitewater canoeing, and the idea is to take a little canoe or a little kayak and align it with these much bigger forces, these more powerful forces, the current of the river which simulates the current of life,” he said. “The idea is: how do we go about changing fighting against the current to working with it to help achieve what we really want to do.”
Jacobi’s framework for success includes building habits that encompass mind, body and spirit. By making small changes, taking small steps, larger goals are achieved.
“The big leaps that we make in life are a function of the small steps we take every day,” he said.
Jacobi’s visit to Southern Utah wasn’t all talk. He and local kayakers took to the water in two separate outings, one at Quail Creek Reservoir, or Quail Lake, and a final paddle at Sand Hollow Reservoir.
“I travel to very few places in this country that have such incredible outdoor resources, such natural resources and the opportunity to put that into your own routine for staying healthy and adding that element of wellness to your life, it’s off the charts here in St. George,” he said.
The union of internal and external health is the hub of Jacobi’s philosophy for living an authentic life. He said that Americans are bombarded with ads that promise a better life but external remedies don’t solve internal problems.
“I believe we’re living through a time where we’ve never had more access to great performance systems and structures and analysis,” he said. “But I like to say those performance systems are only as good as we are healthy.”
Jacobi believes we have to work to achieve health for the whole being: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to make the most of those systems.
“My message is: It’s not that hard to do but you’ve got to find time, a little bit of time everyday, to make those small tiny investments in yourself in a way where you’re waking up in the morning for yourself,” he said, “not for someone else or something else, but for yourself.”
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