Success Factor #1: The Courage to Fail In Front of Thousands.
“One’s best success comes after his/her greatest disappointments.”
––Henry Ward Beecher
Vice President Joe Biden is not known for always making the most astute comments, but this time he was brilliant with his insight into what sets Olympic athletes apart. He said that what set them apart from other athletes, who also had great physical skills, was their courage to fail in front of millions of people. Many average athletes never make it to this level because they are afraid of being less than perfect. Thus, their performance success is limited: they have not failed enough to increase their skills to the level they need to be at to win.
- What risks are you willing to take in your career, even if it means that you will be living at the edge of ‘incompetence’?
- Have you become stale in your routine at work? Is it because it would mean looking stupid if you stretched yourself with a challenging project?
- Or does it mean that you have become a bit lazy and lax? The downside of being too comfortable is that, over time, you will lose your edge. There is always going to be someone more qualified and bold who will be glad to take your place, and your boss/customers will reward the employee/business who is providing the highest level of service. So, if you are in a rutt, get off your butt!
Success Factor #2: Positive Perfectionism
“Great wo/men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.” Arthur Schopenhauer
You say, “This seems counter-intuitive! Didn’t you just say that you can’t be afraid to fail? The point of this success factor is that Olympic athletes have set high standards for themselves, and they are equally comfortable with both success and failure/criticism. They have a personal development plan that takes into account both their strengths and their weaknesses. Every failure is taken apart, not with a sense of shame, but with a sense of excitement as to how they can use their failures to perform more successfully the next time.
NFL football players use the same approach. While they do not necessarily love failure, they are comfortable with it. They review the tape of their performance on a continuous basis, so that they can learn from their mistakes and continuously improve.
Application: Examine your own core beliefs about yourself and your personal performance success. Do they need tweaking or replacing?
Success Factor #3: Focus, Focus, Focus
“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.”
–– Isaac Newton
Olympians are trained by former Olympic champions to visualize their success, and to train every day as if they are in the final race/event. I was watching a video recently of an Olympic athlete who shocked the world by coming from behind to win the 10,000 meter race. Every day, he would talk to himself about how he was going to win the event. He showed the interviewer his training notebook, in which he wrote positive affirmations to his subconscious (about every aspect of the race. Then he would take this mental picture and positive self-talk into his practices. It paid off on the day of his final race!
Do you plan your week effectively?
How do you approach your work/business each and every day?
Have you written down your general mission statement for why you are doing what you are doing?
Do you spend a power hour each day, to connect with God through prayer, meditation, and Bible Study?
Do you review your written goals for the year? (Do you have any written goals for the year?)
Do you picture how you will perform successfully Today?
Some related resources you may benefit from related to increasing your performance success, so that you can perform like an Olympian:
Learning the Success Factors of an Olympic Champion:
The Courage to Succeed: Success Secrets of an Unlikely Three-time Olympian, by Ruben Gonzalez.
How to Find Your Life and Career Mission:
How to Find Your Mission in Life, by Richard Bolles (one of my very favorite!)
The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life, by Laurie Beth Jones.
How to Set Goals:
Change Your Life The Smart Way: Create Your Best Year Yet! by Steve Borgman (that’s me! 🙂
I just finished this eBook for you yesterday! This is the goal setting system I have used for the past few years, and I wouldn’t dream of starting my year without this process!
Goal Setting Forms : Tools to Help You Get Ready, Get Set, & Go for Your Goals! by Gary Ryan Blair
Million Dollar Habits: Proven Power Practices to Double and Triple Your Income, by Brian Tracy (loved this one as well!)
I hope you’ll comment below about how you are going for the gold!
Just for fun! Here is a fantastic article from NPR about mental toughness and Olympic training:
photo credit: Yellowrotus on Flickr Creative Commons