As we watch the 2014 Winter Olympics, we’ll be inspired by the dedication and skill of these phenomenal athletes. We may see them as different and better than us. However, I believe we have much in common.
Your “gold medal” might be a promotion, a flourishing business or a healthy body. As these athletes know, our mental mindset is just as important as our physical ability. Let’s take a moment to consider what we can learn from them.
Here are three ways we can perform like an Olympian:
1) Visualize. The study of sports psychology has shown that visualization enhances confidence, boosts motivation, and can even supplement physical practice to master a skill. The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, would “watch the videotape” in his head between practices and swim meets, before going to sleep and when he woke up.
One of the best ways for us to activate the power of visualization is through the creation of a vision board. It might be a bulletin board or a virtual board. DreamItAlive is a free website that allows you to create virtual, portable boards, complete with motivational intentions tagged to each of your photos. I use some of my photos and some of theirs. The categories include Love, Health, Career, Wealth and Travel. You can keep it private or share it with others in the community for support and connections. You can ask for donations for your dreams and contribute to others’ dreams, including DreamItAlive’s dream to produce a mobile app to help the world achieve their dreams. Check out the “Dream Big” campaign where you can like, share and contribute.
2) Affirm. “I can do this!” “I am the best (fill in your profession or sport).” “I love to (speak, learn new technology, sell, network, etc.)!” Positive self-talk will counter the negative messages that play in your head with empowering ones that support your success. Think of what your coach or best friend would say to you and start reminding yourself that you’re a winner.
3) Reframe. When you look at a situation or event from a different perspective, you can learn from your failures or setbacks and come back stronger and wiser. Reframing helps athletes maintain a positive, optimistic attitude even when they lose. For me, I tend to reframe a challenge by thinking, “things could be worse.” When I first started speaking in public and was nervous, I would say to myself, “At least I don’t have to sing or perform a stand-up comedy routine or participate in a beauty pageant’s swimsuit competition. That would be tough. I just have to speak about what I know. I can do that!”
How do you perform like an Olympian?