Lessons from Summer Olympics are far reaching
“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” – Michael Phelps – Olympic Swimmer – U.S.A.
You can’t watch this summer’s 2012 Olympics without hearing a quote from Michael Phelps. And I can’t watch the Olympics without being inspired by each and every athlete and their story. It seems all the stories have the same threads of emotion in them – and the same lessons. It got me thinking; these Olympic athletes lessons can be applied to all walks of life.
The first lesson that comes across as bold as red, white and blue is the athlete’s discipline. You’d think that Olympic training, year after year after year, would get boring. But these first-class athletes know it’s crucial to their over-all goal.
They have an automatic plan to keep on track, and they don’t veer from the structure. On average, Olympic athletes train for three years before an Olympic event…most times, even longer. Most folks can’t stick to working out twice a week, let alone sticking to a discipline for three plus years.
If the passion and discipline are there, success will come. Even in my business of financial investments, discipline comes into play. I may not work out in the gym every day, but I am plugged into the market, educating myself on every level all the time. In these volatile market days, I’ve found sticking to a discipline is even more important.
Like the Olympic athletes, my clients and I have to think not only in the present, but the future as well. Like Michael Phelps admitted, “I can’t remember the last day I didn’t train.”
When you watch Phelps prepping for a race, notice his focus. It’s iron clad. At this level, all the athletes have to be 100 percent focused, or the run for a medal is out. Olympic athletes stay focused on results, and set clear objectives for each and every work out.
And past Olympic performances are no guarantee. Just ask Phelps. He knew coming in to this Olympics, that the pressure was enormous. I enjoyed his quote: “I know it won’t be eight medals again. If you want to compare me to that, that’s your decision, not mine. I’m going out there to try to accomplish the things that I have in my mind…and in my heart.”
Even with the world’s eye of scrutiny on him, he prevailed. I would think it would be tough to focus with that weight looming on his shoulders….but focus he did.
Even Phelps admitted that in high school, he told his Mom he was sick of swimming and wanted to play golf. “She wasn’t too happy. She’d say, ‘Think about this’. And I’d always end up getting back in the pool.” Thank goodness for himself, and the U.S. that he did.
The next lesson goes hand-in-hand with discipline and focus…and it’s one of my favorite. Hard work. If you’re going to be an Olympic athlete, you’re going to work hard. End of story.
Michael Phelps started training with a professional coach at 12. The man has been swimming ever since he was 7. If that isn’t hard work, I don’t know what is. Train, train and train again.
I feel like I train and improve each day with my work. I think knowledge is another lesson along with hard work. Olympians seek knowledge about their sport, their competition, and above all, themselves and their personal best. Hard work is going to help me be at the top of my game. I may not be participating in the Olympics, but I am participating in a sport – the sport of life. And on top of that, the sport of financial advising.
Michael Phelp’s hard work has paid off with 22 medals. Hard work will pay off for most anyone who persists at anything.
Olympic athletes may train all their lives, but their competing window is quite short. You are the best at your sport because of your discipline, focus and hard work.
When it’s all over – now what? Because of their nose-to-the-grindstone ways, these athletes seem to do well with all aspects of life, even life after their competing years are over.
We all have to move on from certain areas in life, and begin new challenges. But the lessons from the Olympics move effortlessly into the next phase of life, as well. They are life lessons that never go out of style.
What is Michael Phelps thinking about for the future? “I think the biggest things I am looking forward to is getting new faces into the sport. Getting kids who could be afraid of water to feel comfortable in the pool. I feel most at home in the water. I disappear. That’s where I belong.”
The writer is president of Wealth Management Midwest, Forest Lake. Securities offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. For comments or questions: email@example.com. Opinions are for general information and not intended to provide specific advice. Consult a financial planner prior to investing. 651-464-2664.