I bring you greetings as the Atlanta area is iced in and I cannot help but to think once again that Mother Nature is taking us back to the basics. And I am reminded to consider how fragile yet interconnected all of our lives are and that we all should be truly grateful for the many “basic” blessings that we enjoy yet often overlook daily.
So as I glance at my iced covered driveway and at my deck that looks as if its fit for figure skating, my heart and prayers and support go to the amazing TEAM USA competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia! So the question I have for you today is are you willing to Go for the Gold?
Now I thoroughly enjoy and I’m currently enjoying The Winter Olympic games but I’m pretty fanatical over the Summer Games as well. And in that same spirit of wishing that it were warmer (smile) I’d like to share some tips from the most decorated Olympians of all time- Michael Phelps. Michael has some proven techniques that when applied consistently will all us to truly go for the Gold in all areas of our lives. And it’s centered around one topic: Mental Toughness! So let’s go!
After 22 Medals in the last 3 Summer Olympic Games what has made Phelps so successful for so very long is his mental approach to his sport. He is a fierce competitor and has mastered a winner’s headset, which he began to develop at a very young age with the help of his long time coach, Bob Bowman. This is part of the legacy he leaves for swimmers and other athletes across all sports. When the heat of competition is turned up high, the mentally toughest athletes will excel, and that’s exactly what Michael Phelps has consistently done! Let’s dive into some of those key practices that allowed Phelps to change the game forever!
Here are Phelp’s “7” mental toughness strategies to systematically help you build the mind of a champion:
#1) SET CLEAR, CHALLENGING GOALS – You have to know where you’re going if you really want to get there! You have to have a compelling reason for continuously working hard and sacrificing on a daily basis. Your goals will provide you with this! They will fuel your efforts and direct your energies!
#2) WORK HARD – There is absolutely no substitute for consistent, hard work! If you have a dream that you desperately want to accomplish, then you have to be willing to pay your physical dues each and every day! You can’t just work hard whenever you feel like it. It can’t be a sometimes thing! It has to be an every day thing! What almost always separates the best from the rest is how hard they work!
#3) PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS – According to Michael’s Olympic coach, Jon Urbanchek, one of the things that Phelps did better than most was to pay very close attention to the details whenever he trained. He didn’t just mindlessly go through the motions. He focused on making sure his technique was precise, i.e. that his head was in the right position, his hand entered the water perfectly, etc. It’s these kinds of details that helped him achieve greatness because it insured that his training was always of the highest quality.
#4) STAY CALM AND RELAXED PRE-PERFORMANCE – It is impossible to perform your best when it counts the most if you get too nervous pre-performance. The secret to you performing the way you’re truly capable of is to stay loose when the heat of competitive pressure is cranked up high and Phelps did this better than anyone! Both of his coaches claimed that they NEVER saw him nervous!
#5) USE A SET PRE-PERFORMANCE RITUAL – Having a familiar pre-performance routine that you always use right before your games/matches/races/life etc. is an effective way to remain calm and in control of your concentration whenever the heat of competition goes into the RED ZONE. Far too many individuals lose/fail before the start because they unknowingly allow their pre-performance concentration to drift to all of the wrong things.
#6) USE MENTAL REHEARSAL TO PREPARE FOR YOUR PERFORMANCES – When you mentally “practice” in vivid detail, “seeing,” “hearing” and “feeling” what you would as if you were there, you will systematically train yourself to perform this way when you are actually in the action. Regular mental practice builds confidence and helps you stay calm under pressure. Bowman taught Michael the basics of mental rehearsal and Phelps got really good at using “peak performance imagery” in which he practiced “swimming” the perfect race.
#7) BELIEVE IN YOURSELF NO MATTER WHAT – One thing that separates really great athletes (true winners) from everyone else is that NO MATTER WHAT happens and no matter how many failures or setbacks they suffer, they never stop believing in themselves. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you must broadcast this belief to the entire world. It is only important that you buy it!
Now I know that is a lot to digest so I will simply leave you with this, one of my favorite poems of all time that represents this wining OLYMPIC GOLD Mental Toughness that I even wrote about in my Achieve Your Dreams Book.
The Man Who thinks He Can by Walter D. Wintle
If you think you are beaten, you are, If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you’d like to win but think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, for out in this world we find, success begins with a fellow’s will: It’s all a state of mind.
If you think you’re out classed, you are: You’ve got to think high to rise. You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, But soon or late the man who wins, Is the one who thinks he can.
Own your POWER, and Go for the Gold in EVERY AREA of your LIFE!!!
Remember Success is Your ONLY Option! Let’s Go, Let’s Win!!!