Watching the Olympic athletes perform on the world stage is awe-inspiring. Thinking of the countless hours, days, years they have devoted to preparing for a single, laser-focused performance is what I would call true commitment. Each Olympian has been unwavering in their dedication to their passion. What can we learn from these dedicated athletes?
1. Listen and learn from the believers
Standing alone to accept the medal doesn’t mean they made it alone! Terrific coaches, trainers, families, friends and admirers have supported and encouraged the athlete every step of the way. These athletes will be the first to say they could not have done it alone. Are you trying to do it on your own?
2. Believing is achieving
From Jack Nicklaus – “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie.” Do you believe you will succeed? Can you see your crossing the finish line, completing your book, living the life you dream about. Can you visualize the details and see it in color? When you have that level of clarity, the commitment to make it ‘real’ is powerful.
3. Be willing to do what it takes.
‘Going for the gold’ whatever your gold may be, requires sacrifice, work and effort. It isn’t easy, without pain or effortless. When facing some of the demands of success, it can be very daunting and discouraging. That’s when your commitment is put to the test. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
How can you prepared yourself for the moments of doubt, discouragement and despair that will surface along your path for the gold?
4. Nourish your body, mind and soul
Knowing what our bodies need to sustain is the minimum daily requirement. Knowing what our bodies need to achieve our peak performance is entirely different. Honoring our need for rest is as important as food. Our soul and mind require daily attention and nourishment as well. Sacrificing or skimping on one aspect of our nutritional needs can sabotage our success.
Are you sabotaging your success?
As writers what we eat is also critical since it determines our alertness, creativity and stamina. Because writing is such a sedentary experience we must pay close attention to what we put in our mouths to avoid sabotaging our success.
One way to ensure that we work in cooperation with our bodies is to:
- only eat when we’re hungry
- keep healthy snacks nearby
- drink plenty water
- get adequate sleep
5. Face your fear
Athletes and writers alike will face fear, uncertainty and bouts with self-doubt. When both have practiced their skill, the fear is reduced.
Slumps in performance and writer’s block can bring on negative thinking that can diminish and ruin success.
Help yourself by recognizing that fear is normal. Preparing for the inevitable moments of fear is essential.
Preparing well before you begin your work helps reduce fear, as does building your skills.
Like athletes you can use techniques such as meditation, prayer, yoga, affirmations and afformations. Most important is to surround yourself with people, reading and groups who encourage and uplift you.
Actively practicing positive thinking doesn’t make fear completely disappear, but it holds it at bay and brings it under control.
6. When you fall down, get back up
Perhaps one of the most important lessons we can learn from the Olympics is the importance of rebounding when you miss the mark.
Every successful athlete has fallen down, started late, missed the net or otherwise flubbed a performance.
It’s unlikely to find a writer who has not been rejected too. A few of the celebrated ones
- Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul, reportedly were rejected 140 times with the comments that “anthologies don’t sell” and “too positive”
- J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before a small British publisher accepted her on the insistence of his daughter
- Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times before it was finally accepted by a publisher.
The Japanese proverb says it best: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
7. Celebrate when you reach your goal.
When a medalist accepts the gold, silver or bronze, it’s an important time. Acknowledging your accomplishments as a writer is important too. Celebrating is part of the achievement. How you celebrate is up to you.
Going for the gold in writing your book does not require crushing the competition, but reaching your goal is helped by following these seven lessons.