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Have you ever wondered what type of commitment it takes to become an Olympic athlete? Being the best athlete has never been something to which I aspired, but being the best I can be as an employer and team member is something for which I do strive. Olympic athletes share three common traits. These same traits can be applied to all facets of life, including career advancement.

Plan–Athletes create a plan of where they want to be not just in one year but also up to several years in advance. How far in advance are you planning for your career's future? You can never start planning too far in advance, so create the plan and work it. You may have to adjust along the way, but if you know where you want to end up, you can work the plan and get there.

Seek Assistance–Olympic athletes typically have more than one coach helping them, including trainers for their mental, physical, and nutritional health. Maximizing mind, body, and soul can improve overall results, and at the Olympics, the difference between gold, silver, bronze, or no medal at all can be a fraction of a second or a single point. So, how many people do you look to for guidance? Consider joining a mentorship program, or look to others in your industry for help.

Visualize–If you see it, you can achieve it. While this statement is so true for all we do, it is imperative for Olympians to see their dreams come true to make them a reality. They visualize every step of their event with a positive outcome at the end. How much do you visualize the outcome of your meetings, events, and/or job in general?

It's not just that most Olympians are born with a certain set of physiological gifts, although that's a big part of it. It's also their commitment to their sports and, perhaps most important, the way they train. As employees and employers, we can apply the same level of commitment to our work. In doing so, each of us has the opportunity to break our own records. Good luck!

KasieSWritten by: Kasie Smith is West Michigan Woman magazine's publisher. She is a Michigan native. She was born in Traverse City, and now lives in Grand Rapids. She enjoys golfing, spending time in the sun, and watching romantic comedies with her very own leading men, her husband Jason and her twin boys. Photo: Margan Zajdowicz

To describe our cover winner in a word, she is passionate. I have grown to admire her in stages throughout the time I spent with her during our interview, her cover shoot wardrobe fitting, and last night's photo session. She introduces herself as a friend, open to sharing her life's lessons and her story in order to better the lives of others. Her confidence and dedication to well-being emanates from within, a philosophy she promotes in every facet of her life. And while she has Olympic skills in multi-tasking, her heart is light, her mind is open, and she greets each moment with hope.

Have you ever noticed that a few days before vacation, your mind starts wandering? You start thinking about what to pack, what books you’re going to read, and what kind of cocktails you’re going to be sipping on the beach.

Last Thursday in Muskegon, the Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts hosted its sixty-second Miss Michigan pageant where thirty-one of our state's beautiful, talented, and passionate young women gathered to perform their hearts out for the title of Miss Michigan 2012, part of the Miss America Organization. I was invited to attend because the publisher of West Michigan Woman magazine also publishes fourpoints magazine.

KasieSFor most of my life, I’ve envied the girls who had straight hair. I’m guessing it’s the same thing for those who have straight hair. They want it curly right?

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