When the Olympics are on, it’s a safe bet you’ll find me in front of my TV, cheering, shouting, biting my nails, and yes, crying. Considering that I almost never watch TV otherwise, you might say I’m a little bit obsessed.
To me, the Olympics are the ultimate mind-body-emotion experience. These athletes have put their heart and soul on the line. They’ve pushed themselves physically and mentally, while holding it together emotionally. And we get to see their shining moments.
So many stories from this year’s Olympics could easily become Disney movies. After watching the zillionth one (it was Nathan Chen’s comeback in long form figure skating, after such a disastrous short form), I got to wondering – what kind of mindset do you need in order to do that?
So I did a little research. I found dozens of ways to get an Olympic mindset, and here are my top five:
- Train like it’s a performance. If you only practice halfway, then you’re preparing for a halfway performance. You’ve got to go all the way, even in training, so it’s in your muscle memory.
- Let naysayers feed your fire. You can ignore criticism, or let it bring you down. Or you can take Option #3, which is what Olympians do – they respond by saying, No way. I am gonna prove them wrong. They push themselves even further because of it.
(This works in the other direction, too. If you bash someone else, you might be inspiring them to be better. I remember a casting director in LA who taped Julia Roberts’ name under her chair, because when she (the casting director) first saw Julia audition, she said to herself, “This lady isn’t going anywhere.” You never know who will prove you wrong!)
- Reframe how you see failure. Behind every success, there are a million failures – so make sure you see them that way. They’re just part of the whole, and you can learn from them. Failures must be a lesson, not proof that you can’t do it. Shift your interpretation so that failure becomes a step, not an end point.
- See your sacrifices as right choices. This is a great technique to use if you ever feel guilty about pursuing your dream, or feel like you’re missing out on something else. Like entrepreneurs and parents, Olympic athletes have to make big sacrifices to do what they do. But they choose not to see those as losses. Instead, they shift their perspective of that, so instead of feeling like they’re losing out, they see that they’re making the right choice for their goals.
- Don’t let goals be an “invisible boundary.” Often, we set goals within the limits of what we believe is possible – so we limits ourselves before we even start. Olympians challenge those “invisible boundaries.” If you let your goal go beyond what you think is possible, you’ll go so much further.
While we’re on the subject of goals, I’ll throw in a bonus #6. Many Olympics categorize goals as either Outcome Goals (like winning gold), Performance Goals (training goals, like getting a best time), and Process Goals (daily things that have to be done to make the other goals happen). A lot of people tell me that they tend to set big lofty goals, but then they constantly feel like they’re failing. If that’s you, then I encourage you to use this system, and set lots of Performance and Process Goals. Set small, everyday, incremental tasks that will keep you on track – along with midsize, progress-tracking mile makers – and they will get you to your dream goal.
What’s an area in your life where you can use an Olympic mindset?
Which of these ways are the most helpful to you?
Have you used any of them before? Tell me below!
Then go out, go for the gold, and shine.