Are you going for gold?

The 2016 Olympics have begun, and athletes from around the world are striving to perform at top level to make their country proud.  Team USA has earned 38 medals thus far and the games are far from over! These Olympians have been training endlessly and sacrificing so much for this shot at success.  Are you an Olympian in your business?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I putting in all the hours I can?
  • Am I fully focused on bettering my technique?
  • Am I dedicating myself to reaching my max potential?  
  • What can I do to be better?

Consider these eight tips from Olympic coaches and athletes:

  1. VISUALIZE SUCCESS: The vast majority of athletes and coaches say that picturing the process, not just the end result, is key. "When you close your eyes and paint the full sensory picture (see, smell, feel, etc.) of you achieving your goal, it’s like giving your brain a practice round. Not only does it make your goal tangible and thus more motivating, but it stimulates the same part of the brain as actually doing it," says Jason Rogers, a former U.S. Olympic fencer.
  2. REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS: We know daily routines and systems are crucial to the success of your business; as it turns out, athletes can also offer inspiring insight about the best way to start and end your day. Olympic swimmer and seven-time gold medalist James Magnussen says his daily routine helps him stay on track to achieve his goals. "I think about my goals when I wake up and what I have to do that day. Then, at the end of the day, I do a recap and think about what I did well and what I could have improved," he says. "Athletes can become solely focused on long-term goals and lose sight of what they have to do each day in order to achieve those goals."
  3. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL: If you tend to compare yourself to high-achieving colleagues, you're making a common mistake.  Shannon Miller, the most decorated gymnast in American history and a seven-time Olympic medalist, says "I was very focused as an athlete. I didn’t watch the other athletes ... what mattered to me was going up and hitting my routines, giving it 100% every time out. That’s what I could control, so that’s what I focused on."
  4. DEVELOP A STRESS RITUAL: The moment before you meet with clients can be terrifying; your heart is pounding and your nervousness is at a peak.  Take a moment to steady yourself.  Rogers, who believes performance is about finding the right headspace, says "I found that if I could remind myself of certain principles before a competition or match, it was easier for me to find the ‘zone.'"
  5. DETAIL SHORT TERM PLANS: Australian Olympic swim team coach Lach Falvey says there's one habit that can derail their success. "It's easy for athletes to get tunnel vision and get caught up on the end goal without paying attention to the process along the way," he says, noting that small daily plans are key to stay focused. "I find those [who] lose sight of the small steps and processes are those [who] lose motivation when things aren't going as planned."  Remember success is a system and when the going gets tough, you need to know where you are going.
  6. MAINTAIN PASSION: If you're struggling with waning motivation, coaches and athletes agree that the secret is recalling why you've chosen your profession. "I think it’s easy to lose motivation when you forget why you are doing the sport in the first place," says Miller. "If you lose that spark, that passion, it’s easy to move through a workout without truly giving it your all. You have to want it."  Similarly, Falvey says he prompts his Olympic team to recall why they love the sport, to maintain passion. "I never want to just tick the box or go through the motions, as I think that is one of the most disadvantageous things in life. Coaching is what I love and care about and it's that passion that motivates me."  Keep your WHY in the forefront at all time!
  7. BUILD A STRONG SUPPORT NETWORK: "The two most common mistakes athletes make are listening to too many people or not listening at all," says Olympic track and field coach James Fitzgerald. He says his role it to remind athletes to focus and build a network of people they can trust. "Some athletes will take on too many options and begin to question themselves. [Others] will isolate themselves and forget that informed decisions and choices got them to this point. A good coach will know when to act in both situations and refocus their athlete," he says. The take home? In stressful situations, call on people you know and trust, like valued colleagues or mentors. Listen to the right people to regain your focus.
  8. VALUE PATIENCE: Ambition is crucial in achieving your goals, but don't underestimate the importance of patience during the process. Olympic swimmer Georgia Bohl says her career motto has helped her stay calm and focused in the lead-up to the games. "My mantra is 'life's too short to be upset or angry. Make the most of every situation you are in and don't be too hard on yourself.  Everything happens in due time, you just have to be patient and be willing to do what it takes to get you there."     

You don't have to be an Olympian to take the gold medal!  Focus on what you can do NOW that will make you a champion in your business.