How can I get better at what I do? What we can learn from Olympic contenders?


As the legacy of the UK hosting the 2012 Olympics fades in to the background, let us turn our thoughts to those athletes who continue to strive for the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 2016 or in Pyeongchang in South Korea, host to the 2018 Winter Olympics.


The athletes who will be pulling all the stops out to win gold medals don’t just stop and wait for the ‘next big event.’

An Olympic gold medal is the highpoint of sporting achievement and they don’t come easy. Any athlete who lowers their head to receive one is the embodiment of peak performance. So, what does it take to step onto the top of the podium?

We can learn so much from these dedicated individuals and teams who set off on their journeys to be proud winners of medals. To even qualify for the Olympics is an achievement in its own right.

So, what are the key points these athletes have in common?

1) Belief

Achieving peak physical condition is one thing, having a steadfast belief in it and the ability to win is another. Ben Hunt Davies, gold medal rower Sydney 2000 states the team had four core beliefs: they deserved to win, it was important to win, they had a can do attitude and it had to be exciting.

2) Focus

What is to be achieved in any given training session? How long is the session, planning the work out, establishing the primary focus for the session are all essential taking into account the secondary focus to ensure the overall objective is achieved.

“The point is that I have a plan, and I am going to stick to it. You may have to adjust the load used in the workout that depends on what you can lift on the day, but the overall plan is there.” Karnam Malleswari, weight lifting champion.

3) Measure performance

Gold medalist speed skater Bonnie Blair raced not against her competition but against herself. If she beat the clock, she believed she had a better chance to beat the competition. “When you become your own yardstick, you experience success, no matter if you win or lose.”

4) Competitors

Getting and keeping the edge over the competition by keeping updated with the latest proven sports technology and determining what techniques and regimes are they using is fundamental. Determining what can be learned and introduced to at least match and then exceed their performance is essential. Being mindful all competitors face the same obstacles and hurdles reduces the psychological impact of the threat.

5) Uniqueness

These athletes perform in varied sports. They have different body shapes, talents, expertise, are parts of teams or compete individually, coming from different cultures and backgrounds. Yet at some point there was an acknowledgement they have something that could be nurtured and polished….and built on to create a compelling sporting future… a recognition, words from someone else… raising the question, HOW CAN I GET BETTER AT WHAT I DO?

 So how do these athletes do all this, on their own?

[pullquote] So how do these athletes do all this, on their own?[/pullquote]

These champions have recognised they can learn more and become their best. They can work with their strengths. They have reached as far as they can on their own. The switch from self-coaching to working with a coach is made. They then become enabled to build on their talents so far and make relevant changes. Through constant feedback and support, coaches take care of training and the details of programs in order to maximize performance from the limited time available, freeing time up to concentrate simply on the core activity, the actual training. Their coaches provide fresh eyes at each stage of training, put simply clear vision.

Contenders choose to work with a coach because they are doing something right, and want to progress. They are forward thinking, believing action can be taken to improve.


[pullquote]It’s all about making things better, striving to be the proud owner of their medal.[/pullquote]


And finally to Roger Bannister. Because of his fourth place at the 1952 Olympics, he set himself a new goal, to be the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. They said it couldn’t be done, couldn’t be done physically. He held his belief he could do it. He did it and many athletes followed him. So the question is, what changed?

 One major factor that changed was the belief that it was possible. Beliefs can limit or they can empower people – beliefs in ability or what is possible will determine results.

What are your beliefs about your ability to effect positive change?

Take a moment, and now consider how much your business has in common with Olympic contenders?

 Power Tips to Empower People


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