The world this past summer watched as thousands of gifted athletes fought for "gold" and the bragging rights to be the world's best in their respective disciplines.
However, little light is often shed on the many professionals and volunteers assisting Olympians without fanfare.
In particular, participants at this summer's London Games were supported by the behind-the-scenes talent of Naples' own Dr. Cade Copeland of LIFEstrength Family Chiropractic.
Copeland found himself in the enviable position of supporting the U.S. weightlifting, wrestling, and judo Olympic teams, with Kayla Harrison from Ohio becoming the first American judoka to win the gold medal. To make his contribution to Team USA, Copeland donated his time and covered his own expenses.
Like the dedicated Olympic athletes he so passionately admires, Copeland and his wife and business partner, Kristen, embodied both a competitive and entrepreneurial spirit when, at age 25, they opened their practice in November 2010.
A well-rounded athlete and one-time professional snowboarder, Copeland relies on a belief system similar to those of the athletes he helped service.
" The Olympics is not just a celebration of athletics, but about pouring your entire life into a single goal," he said.
Spend a few minutes in Copeland's company and his infectious, youthful enthusiasm — as well as an appealing degree of authenticity and compassion — quickly becomes evident. Moreover, his office's open floor plan promotes his goal of patient kinship — each receiving support from his care but, just like athletes, finding strength and encouragement from the relationships formed with their peers.
"The atmosphere at the Olympics — the sense of community — was incredible," he said. "I've always wanted an open environment for my patients and now I've witnessed its benefits on an international stage."
Though the business world's "walls" may be somewhat more figurative in nature, few would argue the benefits of breaking down obstacles and encouraging collaborative and productive environments.
In the spirit of a true champion, less than 18 months after opening, Cade and Kristen Copeland's practice was awarded the Star Certificate in the Naples Daily News's 2012 Southwest Florida Reader's Choice Awards. This recognition came as no surprise to patient Robyn Kyger.
"They treat us like family," Kyger said. "Their office quickly became like a second home."
Citing the connection between athletic prowess and a successful business model, Copeland theorizes: "To be a champion of business, you must first be a champion of purpose."
And his purpose: "Everybody's definition of a champion is different, but each person can live to their absolute fullest potential."
"To the Copelands, it's not about 'business,' it's about people," Kyger added. "They want everyone to be at their best."
Copeland now maintains: "My experience working at the Olympic Games brought my personal and business goals to a whole new level. Just like the athletes, I strive to be better every day."
Maintain your youthful enthusiasm, tear down unnecessary walls, embrace healthy competition and always go for the gold.
Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of professional-courtesy initiative, RediscoverCourtesy.org, and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications agency headquartered in Naples. He can be reached at Randy@mindzoo.com or 239-304-9611.