5 Things You Can Learn about Productivity from Olympic Athletes

http://marketplace.veer.com/stock-photo/Succesful-businessman-with-gold-medals-5086860?slot=81&pg=5&skeywords=olympics&stermids=7278With the 2014 Winter Olympics starting today in Sochi, Russia, I’ve been reminded of the motivation and determination that these remarkable athletes possess in order to train to be the best in their sports. I began to wonder about their secrets to productivity, motivation, and their unique perspectives on their passion to win. I concluded that there’s a lot that we can learn from these athletes. Through these athletes’ inspirational words and accomplishments, I believe everyone can learn a little something about reaching his or her fullest potential. Keep reading to learn more about their inspirational and motivational words and wisdom.

Find Your Confidence

If you’re a fan of track and field, then you’re probably familiar with Carl Lewis who was an American track and field athlete who won 8 Olympic gold medals. It’s been said that some might consider Lewis arrogant, but you have to admire the fact that he’s used his ample confidence to his advantage. He’s been quoted as saying,

If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.

Self-confidence is one of the most significant traits to lead to success in life and business. A positive outlook and the ability to perform any type of task without second-guessing whether your work or the decisions that you make are satisfactory, is key to being productive and successful.

To become more self confident, visualize positive outcomes. Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Seek out new experiences to promote growth in yourself. And most importantly, don’t rely on the opinions of others – accurately judge your own work and behaviors.

Be a Doer

Many of you might be familiar with Bruce Jenner because he’s become famous from the popular television series, “Keeping up with the Khardashians.” What you might not know is Bruce Jenner is one of the most successful Olympians in history. In Montreal in 1976, he won gold and set a world record for the decathlon, which consists of ten different track and field events and is considered one of the most difficult of all events.Bruce Jenner

In Jenner’s book, “Finding the Champion Within: A Step-by-Step Plan for Reaching Your Full Potential,” he tells a story of watching a winner’s ceremony and examining what sets apart losers from winners. Jenner says,

The difference, I decided, was total, undiluted focus on a singular goal. As soon as I realized this, I went from being a “dreamer” to a man obsessed with “doing.”

Bruce Jenner” by jla0379 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What’s a “Doer?” A Doer is someone who actively gets things done instead of just thinking about or discussing them. A Doer takes a dream and strategically makes a plan to convert the dream into reality. Anyone can be a dreamer, but it takes commitment, drive, and initiative to develop into a doer.

Make Your Colleagues Look Good

Mia Hamm cornerThose who make others look bad are usually lacking in self-confidence. This is a way to elevate their feelings about themselves or to deflect their inferior work or behaviors onto others.

Mia Hamm is considered one of the best women soccer players in history. She won the Women’s World Cup in 1991 and 1999, and took Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004. In her book, “Go For the Goal: A Champion’s Guide To Winning In Soccer And Life” Mia Hamm devotes an entire chapter to “Making Your Teammates Look Good.” In the book, she says,

An average team that passes well will often beat a physical stronger opponent that doesn’t.

Can you imagine the disaster that would result from poor teamwork in a soccer team? Consider this – good teamwork is essential for the success of business people, families, and Olympians. Teamwork and team rapport is imperative for success. When people work together efficiently, passing tasks to one another when needed, projects are seen through and completed on time. Working together to solve problems; constructing interpersonal relationships; and building trust results in highly effective teams and positive outcomes.

Don’t Be Afraid to “Flop”

Dick Fosbury, Olympian from the United States, dared to be different by inventing the “Fosbury Flop.” In Mexico in 1968, Fosbury was the first to high jump backwards (instead of forward).

At first, Fosbury was “seen as a novelty” and there were safety concerns around the new jumping technique. However, now we can’t imagine high jumping in any other way. There’s a lesson to be learned – just because something has been done a certain way, year after year, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve or change the technique.

So, what’s the lesson? Find new ways to be better, stronger, and more efficient. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Creativity is crucial.

Remove Your Fears When Presented with Challenges

I recently watched a video of an interview from JoAnn Dahlkoetter with Melissa Hoar on the Sports Psychology Network, and something Hoar said caught my attention. Hoar is an Australian Skeleton Racer who’s competed at the 2010 Winter Olympics and will also be competing in the 2014 Olympics.

In the interview, Hoar explained how she changes her perception when she comes into a difficult curve. She said she changes her perception by changing her thinking from…

Oh no here comes this curve [to] but here I come to the curve.

The takeaway here is when you have trials and tribulations – those challenges that are presented to you – if you change your perception of them and remove your fears, you can tackle them with more ease.

Your Turn

Do you find inspiration from Olympic athletes? Please share your stories.



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