“So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach.”
Michael Phelps has achieved legendary success at the Olympics. This quote of his really does sum up his approach to becoming the greatest Olympic athlete of all time.
Let’s look at that sentence in a little more detail, and take from it the golden nuggets that we can all apply in our own lives that will propel us to our own greatest business achievements.
“So many people . . . will tell you it can’t be done.” The foundation for long-term success is to believe in yourself, not in the nay-sayers. In this quote, Rudyard Kipling predates and concurs with Michael Phelps: “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you.”
Rule #1: Self-belief is the essential foundation for greatness.
“But all it takes is imagination. You dream.” The most powerful question you can ask yourself (or the person you are coaching) is this: “How would you like it to be?”
Don’t stay focused on the problem, (I’m not fit enough, I’m not that great at the butterfly stroke, I don’t know how to manage men/women/sales professionals/new hires, I’ve never faced a market problem like this before. The list is endless) Do not focus on the problem, don’t even focus on the steps to solve the problem – focus on how it will be when everything is perfect. How will it be when I am swimming so fast no one can beat me? What will I, actually, be doing?
Rule #2: Focus on how everything will be, when everything is perfect.
When you know how you want it to be, you can work out what you need to do to make it 1% better, 25% better, 100% better – then perfect.
“You plan.” When you know how you would like it to be, you can start planning
Rule #3: Plans on their own are nothing, planning what you must do to take you towards your dream is everything.
“You reach.” There it is – you reach. Michael Phelps knew what the was reaching for. He has goals – plural. Goals, not a goal. Olympic athletes, like Michael Phelps, set three types of goals – three!
Goal Type 1 is the End Goal: to win the gold medal.
Goal Type 2 are the Process Goals: the Key Performance Indicators. These demand clear and focused metrics. The number of hours he will spend in the pool, the number of lengths he will swim in each hour, the number of take-offs and turns he will practice every session.
Goal Type 3 are the Performance Goals: these focus on what he actually does and how he actually does it. Where he will stand on the starting platform. How he will position his body to give himself maximum thrust into the water. How he will kick underwater, before surfacing, for maximum propulsion so that when he makes his first stroke he will be in the perfect position for his body to be further ahead.
These are the details in his plan that he uses to ‘reach’ They are detailed, and each goal is to do with what he does and how he does it in each situation. The same goes for a business goal. When you know your KPIs you can work out how to do what you need to do so you perform as perfectly as you can in that particular situation.
Rule # 4: Set End Goals, Process Goals and Performance Goals.
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