Michael Phelps has achieved greatness at 23 years old. Winning eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing is an unprecedented and quite phenomenal feat. While his swimming achievements are legendary, his success skills are also excellent. Here are five lessons in achieving goals we can learn from Michael Phelps.
1—Make your goals public:
Michael Phelps’ goal of winning eight Olympic gold medals was widely publicized well before the races even started.
It was risky to “put it out there” for everyone to know. Suppose Phelps failed? If he had won six or even gold medals, the story would have been “Phelps Fails to Break Record.”
His ability to state his goal publicly took guts and while it was a huge risk, he gained quite a bit of motivation and public support from it.
Making goals public can help you commit to them and stick to them. Often when you tell people what you want, doubters will rush to tell you that you can’t do it. Michael had plenty of doubters; he even posted their comments in his locker and used them as fuel for success. But, he had far more supporters than doubters. People love to cheer for winners, and that cheering can be a vital force in helping you win.
It is an understatement to say Phelps was prepared. Countless hours and years of training and practicing and eating right (12,000 calories a day) and visualizing and focusing led him to the Olympics. He was in excellent physical and mental condition and ready to achieve the goal he had set for himself.
Whatever your goal is, prepare yourself to achieve it. Learn all you can and practice success skills. You, too, need to get in shape to achieve your goals—that means taking care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally.
3—Have a Support Team:
Michael Phelps support team of people who helped him along the way include his mom, Debbie Phelps, swimming coach Bob Bowman, the teammates he swam relays with and countless fans, friends and family members. Having supporters like these helps in any drive for success.
Build your own support team to help you achieve your goals by choosing people who will support you. If your own friends and family are not likely candidates, seek out others who will be. Hire a business coach, read motivational books, and network (offline and online) with like-minded people.
4--Accentuate the Positive, or Work with What you’ve Got
Michael Phelps has an excellent physique for a swimmer. He works really hard at being in shape, but a lot of it is because of his genetic makeup. That physique would not have worked as well in gymnastics.
Michael also has ADHD and actually started swimming in part to burn off some of that excess energy. That excess energy could have been a negative factor in many ways, but by channeling it into swimming; he was able to use it positively.
You can apply these same ideas to your business. What are you suited to do? What do you enjoy? What “fits”?
What is unique to you and how can you accentuate it? It might be your skill in arranging beautiful floral displays. Perhaps you have a beautiful singing voice. You don’t have to be a florist or a singer to use these! Maybe you decorate your thrift store with knock-out arrangements, or maybe you sing beautiful songs to your customers at your coffee shop. Use what you have to make your life work better for you.
5--Don’t Give Up
Michael Phelps has of course had setbacks. He was arrested for driving under the influence (and under legal drinking age) after his first Olympic bid in 2004 (significantly decreasing his earnings potential in the athletic marketing world). He broke his wrist last October and had to have surgery, interrupting his training regime.
And, during the 2008 Olympic 200-meter freestyle, his goggles leaked and he couldn’t see. He finished (and won) the race by counting strokes.
Any one of these events (and probably countless more throughout his lifetime) could have derailed this young man from chasing his dreams and becoming a legend. But, they didn’t because he never gave up, he never quit. He chose to always focus on the goal, not on the setbacks.
Never giving up is probably the key factor in achieving most goals. There will be countless opportunities for you to throw in the towel and quit because circumstances are not ideal. But, keep on going for what you really want. Michael is but one of many great examples of human achievement we can look to for inspiration and motivation in achieving our own goals.
This tshirt will remind you to go for it and "be like Michael"!