Surprise! I was inspired by the Olympics.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have to admit becoming an Olympics junkie.
I never intended this to happen.
As a matter of fact, I told my husband that I didn’t want to watch any of it. Who needs a steady diet of gymnastics and swimming for two weeks (along with a bunch of other sports I know nothing about!)???
Apparently, the answer is ME!
I’ve not been so excited about some of the actual sports themselves. I have to admit, I don’t get events like the steeplechase, where the runners sprint around a track, jumping over hurdles and splashing in puddles. Aren’t horses supposed to do that? Don’t get me wrong — I’m a HUGE football fan and will spend tons of time rooting on my hometown Cleveland Browns and my fave college teams. Go Buckeyes!!
The sports aside, what has really inspired me is watching the faces of the athletes both before and after their races.
We all know that tension and stress can adversely affect performance. Olympic athletes know this better than anyone. How in the world do they stay so calm and achieve the highest levels of performance? Wouldn’t sheer nerves prevent them from achieving their best ever?
Apparently not. Think about the performances of swimmers like Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps. A bunch of gold medals between the two of them, despite the pressure of being odds-on favorites.
How does this translate to your life and mine as entrepreneurs?
Here are just a few of the things that I noticed:
· The athletes accept WHO they are. Track runners are not trying to be swimmers and swimmers aren’t trying to be gymnasts. We live in a society that has us constantly comparing and wishing “what if.” What if we were taller, thinner, made more money, had a business like THAT! These athletes are the best in the world because they know exactly who they are and don’t try to change it. If you are amazing at creating nutrition plans and are obsessed with health and fitness, but deny that part of yourself and try to build an accounting firm, that might be the source of your struggle. Own who you are.
· Olympic athletes are focused on their goal. Years and years of planning and training go into becoming an Olympic athlete. I heard one swimmer say, “Yea, we set these team goals two years ago.” Two years of planning for just one meet!! As an entrepreneur, how quickly do you give up on your goals? Lack of consistency and focus is a huge factor in not achieving the level of success that you want.
· These folks know how to deal with stress. Having millions of people watching you and fighting for a win that you have wanted for literally years is a bit stressful, no? Yet, these same athletes go out and perform at world record levels. How do they do it? They have a why, a vision and a plan and they execute it, no matter how they feel.
· Athletes at this level are agile problem solvers. One of the most amazing finishes I saw this past week was of a woman literally throwing herself across the finish line during the 400m women’s final to win the gold. While it seems like face planting to win a gold might be a bit extreme, she had a problem to solve — how to beat the other runner — and she did what she had to do. As an entrepreneur, you have problems you need to solve every single day. Though I’m not advocating a virtual face plant, you may need to think out of the box to get where you want to go.
· Olympians use tools YOU have access to — especially visualization. Sports psychologists who train Olympic athletes have them achieve their goals in their minds before they ever step foot in a stadium or on a field. The brain recognizes this as something that has already happened and recognizes the patterns that will get you there. You can do the same in your biz. Spend a few moments each day visualizing how you would like your day to go and see yourself accomplishing your short and long term goals. We can all be Olympians in this respect.
What I truly believe is that YOU can set your goals just like an Olympican and achieve them with focus, concentration and planning. I’d love to have a conversation with you about how you can grab some inspiration from these world class athletes and apply it to your own biz. Let me know how you will apply these lessons to your own biz by shooting me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation in my Savvy Solopreneur FB group.
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