I love a body in motion. I love a body that has been trained to perform and I love a body and mind that work together when it's "go time."
If you share a similar passion as I do, it's likely that from Feb 7, 2014 – Feb 23, 2014 you will be watching athletes from around the world skate, ski, snowboard and slide (and everything else) their way toward an Olympic medal in Sochi Russia for the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
When it comes to sports, it's likely that you will find success in a sport that you possess the natural skills for. Getting started in a sport is tough but if you are good at something when you begin, it's easy to continue to strive to get better.
But more important than being a natural is loving what you do. For you can be genetically gifted to succeed at x, y or z sport but without hard work, dedication, and pure athletic ability, you will never reach your full potential.
It's true that many of of us will never have the chance to walk in the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games, let alone compete to qualify for the Olympics. But, this does not mean that you can not act like an Olympic athlete in order to reach your personal goals and dreams.
Here are a few traits of Olympic athletes that may help you reach a new level of success in your lifetime.
1) Olympic athletes have coaches and a short and long term plan - it's hard to be told that you have weaknesses, that you need to try again while your training partners are moving forward, to be patient and that you can not race even though you really really want to. When was the last time you trained 4-years so that you could peak appropriately? A professional, educated, caring and supportive coach will have your best interest at heart and cares just as much as the journey of progress as she/he cares about your final results. Olympic athletes are open to coaches and don't only have one coach but rather a team of experts to be guides in a personal athletic journey. Consider being open-minded to a coach helping you reach your goals so that you can you keep yourself moving forward. Coaches (especially those who have been athletes or are athletes) likely have made mistakes in his/her past (or has learned from others) and will do everything possible to help you from making those same athletic mistakes. Coaches are an investment to your health as well as to helping you make your dreams/goals come true.
2) Athlete want to win and are willing to make sacrifices - winning should not be confused with an all-or-nothing mindset. Olympic athletes make a lot of sacrifices in life to reach their goals and this may not be practical for the age-group, adult athlete who already has a lot to manage in life. But no matter what stage you are competing on, you have every right to want to perform at your best when it counts. But an Olympic athlete has his/her mind always on his/her athletic goals and has very few excuses when it comes to reaching those goals. Focus on what you CAN do every day to move closer to your goals and remember that every great performance comes from the willingness to try and the ability to not give up. Olympic athletes are no strangers to obstacles (ex. injuries, financial situations,etc.) because of their ability to push above their comfort zone and do anything to become victorious in their ultimate goals. Part of being successful is keeping your mind on your goals and being willing to make a few sacrifices, even if it means that you are not winning a race.
3) Olympic athletes love to learn - Olympic athletes are very smart. They do not google information on the internet or read a blog about how to eat, train or live but instead, they are meticulous at correcting their own personal mistakes, errors and potential setbacks. They also train when they are not in the spotlight. Rather than sharing that a workout has been completed, they are putting in the work when others are not watching so that they can perform when the world is watching. They hold themselves accountable to what they set forth to accomplish and alongside their team of coaches, they consider what others (at the same level or higher) are doing well and what they (the athlete) is doing wrong and are always willing to correct what's not working. Olympic athletes can be very narrow minded as they learn from others whereas the average athlete can often struggle with being too much of an open book when it comes to trying everything and anything without ever knowing what's working or not working. The most successful Olympic athletes can only learn from their own personal performances and are never too quick to change what's already working just because another athlete is doing something different.
4) Olympic athletes are consistent - Olympic athletes have consistency. Although an outsider may think that Olympic athletes have very little to think about aside from training, sleeping and eating, this doesn't mean that they do not get injured, have other obligations in life that cause stress or lack of sleep or that they do not get burnt out.
Olympic athletes are able to visualize success no matter what is thrown in their way and they are always finding a way to move closer to their ultimate goal. It's not that they do not fatigue, get injured or burnt out but the chance of that happening (through good coaching and the ability to be patient) is minimized when they are committed to reaching a dream through hard work and consistency.
5) Olympic athletes dream big and spare no expenses- It's true that the many athletes or individuals at a young age tell their parents that they want to be an Olympian one day. Alongside the importance of parents encouraging children to never give up and to always dream big, it's also important, at any age, that you have everything in place to keep yourself moving closer to your goals. Dreaming big is a big part of reaching your goals and finding success but there is always an investment to that success. Although you do not always have to have the latest and greatest of everything, no matter your fitness level (newbie or veteran), be sure that your environment helps you find success. You want quality and safe equipment and gear and a knowledgeable "staff" in your team that can ensure that you are not wasting money (or time) as you dream big and work hard to reach your goals.
Do you possess the traits to act like an Olympian as you reach your personal goals in life?