A Fortnight or 50 Years? The Legacy of the London Olympics

The question of sustainability is one that has a habit of cropping up when critics discuss the mega-project that is the 2012 Olympics.

Some 24 construction projects have already been completed, including a £537 million Olympic Stadium and £269 million Aquatics Centre. The much-touted Olympic Village that will house 17,000 athletes and officials from over 200 countries, meanwhile, has just been sold to the property company owned by Qatar’s royal family at a loss of nearly £275 million.

So, as great swathes of East London are ‘regenerated’, large sums of money are changing hands. There has been an air of staunch earnestness to the Olympic Park Legacy Company’s (OPLC) intentions to engender viable long-term urban improvement, but many feel the vision will extinguish under financial pressures post-Games.

One thing that cannot be denied is that Stratford – and the greater East London area – has been commercially reinvigorated. After the closing ceremony of the Games, the Olympic Village itself will be repackaged, with sporting dormitories turned into 2,818 flats and houses, while 8,000 new homes will be built in five new neighbourhoods around the Olympic Park over the next ten years.

While some are worried about generic apartment buildings springing up en masse, the OPLC has outlined plans for low-rise terrace and mews houses with gardens, eschewing previously-mooted high-density complexes. But with only half of these properties being described as ‘affordable’ by Triathlon Homes, some are wondering just what these ‘Olympic communities’ will resemble in years to come.

The construction centrepiece, meanwhile, should leave a lasting impression. The Olympic Stadium will have a capacity of 80,000 seats, making it the third-largest stadium in Britain behind Twickenham and Wembley. An axonometric view of the building reveals its layered composition, with a demountable steel and concrete upper tier holding 55,000. It is the lightest Olympic Stadium on record, utilising surplus gas pipes for the roof truss and a moderate 10,000 tonnes of steel. A polythene wrap will encircle the stadium and will provide a ‘clear and memorable identity to the stadium’ according to Rod Sheard of architects Populous. Chemical company Dow are working on repurposing the panels for after the Games.

Ultimately, time will tell whether the Games’ legacy proves to be a lasting one. With the final bill for the Olympics dubbed ‘inherently uncertain’ by the National Audit Office, it is hoped that the monuments of London 2012 remain in use for a long time to come.

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Are You Building a Lasting Legacy or Just Earning a Living?

The Rolling Stones recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a live concert at London’s O2 Arena with 20,000 fans after a five-year break from their last tour of 2007.

Fittingly, the Stones marked the occasion with over two hours of high-octane blues infused rock and five decades after first playing at London’s Oxford Street Marquee Club in July 1962.

Few people in 1962 could have foreseen what many have said is the greatest rock band of all time. Combining the stage presence and talents of lead singer Mick Jagger with guitarists Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor and steady percussionist Charlie Watt, this British mix achieved legendary status with induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

Having built their legacy one song, album and performance at a time, they have survived recessions, wars, marriage breakups, member and concert fan death, band infighting and the 24 / 7 eyes and ears of the press.

What can you learn from the Stones long journey to help you build a lasting legacy? In spite of any critics or beyond your support fans, what can you do that lasts long past just earning a living?

Six Tips to Get More from 2013

1. Reflect and Renew:What did you achieve in 2012 that you were most proud of? Who inspired you as a role model or mentor to do better in business or to improve your life? How will you renew your spirit for a better 2013?

2. Manage change and learn to adapt:Psychologists suggest that change in one of the following areas can cause undue stress to a person. Three or more changes at the same time can create depression or anxiety issues if the pressure is not managed properly.

*Moving home or to a new city *Death of a family member, close friend, colleague or beloved pet *Job loss or career change*A serious health issue that involves a close relative, friend or yourself. *A personal relationship change like separation, divorce, death or the start of an intense new relationship or as newlyweds in marriage.

3. What professional skills have you built or accreditation or awards have been achieved?: An Australian colleague and his company recently gained national recognition and service awards for the incredible work and excellence provided to clients and his industry. This has brought in an abundance of new clients to the firm.

4. Limit the requests of your time by community, social clubs or churches:The constant yet limited resource at our discretion is time. Factually, if we take 24 hours in a day and multiply that by 365 days/nights, we have 8760 hours to invest. 1% of that is about 88 hours or two 40 hour work weeks for most people. Be wise in giving away or in using your most valuable asset because you can make more money but it is difficult to create more time.

5. Balance health, spouse, family, friends and work: Seriously consider outsourcing more ‘things’ on your To Do list to leverage the time you do have and find more joy with those that you are with when in their presence.

6. What do you want to celebrate and be proud of when 2013 (the Year of the Snake) concludes?

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What is Your Legacy?

During a recent speech, I told the audience that my mission was to empower the self-employed to succeed. Instantly a hand shot up in the audience. “What’s your definition of success?” I smiled to myself — I love it when they ask this question!

There are as many definitions of success as there are self employed people. Success could be “hitting my financial goals,” or “becoming a nationally-known speaker.” There’s no right or wrong definition of success. It’s a very personal matter. Success might mean that you can send your kids to college, or take two vacations every year.

But I challenge you to add one more component to your definition of success: What will you leave behind as your lasting legacy?

Every single one of us leaves a legacy. Your very existence has an impact on the world whether you intend it or not. So, how do you want to be remembered?

Ask yourself, “If I died today …”

  • What would I want people to say about me?
  • How have I helped other people?
  • Have I done my best, given my all?
  • Did my life have meaning and purpose?

Working towards a legacy in both your business and personal life keeps you motivated and performing at your peak. It gives a higher purpose to your life and work. Your work has an edge and energy because you’re no longer just “doing work,” you’re building a legacy. Above all, it helps you share the fullest of what you are. And that’s what I call Success!

© 2004 Karyn Greenstreet.

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