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Olympic inspiration for our purpose

Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington spoke about her personal purpose at a talk for our people in Birmingham.

Setting the scene

As a firm, our purpose - to build trust in society and solve important problems - informs everything we do. But we can only live our purpose if each of our people feel motivated and inspired to do so. To get everyone thinking about what purpose means to them, we invited several well-known public figures to talk about their own personal purpose and how it has driven their success. We wanted to inspire our people and help us all to think about how we can each have a positive impact. One of these talks was given by Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

How we helped

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Rebecca Adlington became Britain’s first gold medalist swimmer since 1960, and went on to be one of the most decorated female Olympians in Great British history.

She spoke to a packed room of our people at our Birmingham office about her career, and the motivations that kept her going in the face of the relentless pressure that comes with representing the country.

She said that when she claimed her second gold, she reflected on “all those times I’d sat in the changing rooms in so much pain because I’d pushed my body to the limit every day… there was literally blood, sweat and tears that went into those medals. So the fact it had paid off, it was all worth it”.

She attributed her success to digging in and never giving up, as well as a passion for swimming. And this passion continues to give her purpose in her retirement - promoting swimming in primary schools. There are now 10,000 children a week learning to swim on her programmes across the country.

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Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington

“This was a unique opportunity for us to consider our personal and shared purposes, while reflecting on how we achieve these and the challenges we face along the way - hearing Rebecca’s own journey was incredibly inspiring.”

Matt Hammond Midlands Region Chairman

Making a difference

One of the attendees was Laura Cope, a PwC Technology Degree Apprentice at the University of Birmingham. She explained:

“One aspect of Rebecca’s talk which I found particularly inspiring in today's world was the emphasis on her mental resilience and strength to get over the finish line first even when competitors seemed to her more physically ready and established in the field. It really emphasised the power of a clear sense of purpose and positive mental attitude. It’s driven me to seek out challenges outside my specialism.”

We may not be Olympians but the message was clear - having a clear purpose helps drive us to be the best we can be and think how we can make a positive impact. The focus now is how we can drive that impact through our everyday work and lives.