What can we learn from Olympic athletes?

Watching the Olympics with breathless anticipation of athletes being at the top of their game after years of preparing for this moment, is exhilarating. Listening to their TV interviews captivates me as they describe their training regimen. Many get up at the crack of dawn, work out and practice for 8-10 hours a day working through injuries, surgeries, treatments and comebacks. What is striking is not HOW they do it, but WHY they do it. They are passionate about winning and they have a deep confidence in their talent and ability. More importantly, they have a team of support and encouragement. When they compete for themselves, they also compete for America. 

We could all learn some lessons from athletes regarding success. Common behavioral traits of many successful athletes are also seen in successful entrepreneurs, families and everyday workers. Here are 6 lessons regarding success from American Olympic athletes to apply to our lives.

Inner Locus of Control:  This means the reward comes from inside, rather than from the outside. The desire is on the inside to win, not someone pushing the athlete to win. Another way to describe inner locus of control is what happens when we speed and see a police car. We screech to slow down with our heart pumping and our palms sweating. The slowdown happens when we encounter an external force. Inner locus of control is defined by the desire to slow down because we desire to follow the law, be safe, and be a good citizen. We are controlled by a clear sense of principles, and inner desire.

Self-control and discipline: Olympic athletes train early and hard even on weekends when most of us are sleeping in.  It is not fun or easy to do this, but self-discipline trumps fun and easy. If one wants to be a winner, it’s not about fun and games or comfort; it is about the big picture, working hard for the payoff and staying focused.  As Yoda from Star Wars says, “Don’t Try. Do.” 

Goal Setting and Visualization: Setting a goal and then visualizing accomplishing that goal is imperative to success.

Motivation and Drive: Being motivated, having an unbridled tenacity and drive, is the jet fuel of reaching a goal.  

Perseverance:  This means, never, never, never, never giving up. Keep pressing toward the goal.

Support and Encouragement: Working with a supportive coach, team, friend or family member is essential to success. We need encouragement, support, and refinement to improve and move to the next level.

They love their country: This is the place that gave them tremendous opportunity to train, learn, compete, heal from injuries, and continue on their quest for excellence. 

Watching the Olympics is inspirational because it celebrates the resilience and passion of the human spirit, highlighting that anything is possible if you go after it. These lessons are for all at every stage and every age of our lives. What are your current goals? Go after them with passion, purpose and perseverance.  Live well, love well, win, and always respect your country! joneen@myrelationshipcenter.org