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Go for the Gold: What we can learn from Olympians to become top performers in our disciplines

As we watch some of the worlds’ best athletes compete at the Olympic Games, it’s hard not to be inspired. While most of us will never be world-class athletes, there is still a lot we can learn from Olympians, especially as we strive to become top performers in our own disciplines.

Whether you’re looking to excel at a sport, in sales, or in another discipline, here are some tips from Olympians to help you achieve peak performance.

Practice Makes Perfect

Though many Olympians are born with extraordinary talent, they don’t reach top performing levels without thousands of hours of practice. Simone Biles and Michael Phelps began competing seriously in their sports at the ages of 6 and 7 years old, respectively. There’s no achieving excellence overnight.

Similarly, Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book, Outliers, about the 10,000 hour rule. He suggests that 10,000 hours of practice is “the magic number of greatness,” regardless of a person’s natural talents.

“Achievement is talent plus preparation... The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play." - Malcolm Gladwell

Discipline & Consistency

Sydney McLaughlin, the youngest U.S. Olympian to compete in track and field since 1972, put off going pro to run for University of Kentucky and have a college experience… but she’s not your typical undergrad. Rising every morning at 6am to repeat a grueling schedule of weight training, practices, and study halls, she stays disciplined with these daily activities in order to achieve her goals. She attributes her success to her work ethic, attitude and ambition.

Discipline is a key ingredient in helping all of us achieve greatness. If you start with a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), break it down into sub-goals, and further into the steps necessary to reach those goals, you're reverse engineering your objectives into daily activities. This will help you stay disciplined every day, consistently working to achieve greater things. And according to the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, consistency is key.

“If you really want it, it’s possible. It’s all about consistency.” - Usain Bolt

Find a good coach / mentor

Great champions don’t get there alone. Behind every Olympian is a great coach. On top of helping hone athletes’ physical skills, coaches provide important feedback, guidance, and motivation.

Bob Bowman, longtime coach of the most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps, coaches using three phases of personal development: imagination, challenge and high performance.

“Imagination is where you use your noggin and heart to come up with something that drives you.” - Bob Bowman

The challenge phase is about the process, putting in the hard work and being disciplined every day to reach that high performance that you are aiming for.

Whether it’s life coaching, sales coaching, or athletic coaching, successful people in every walk of life have coaches to help them reach their goals.

And on top of everything else, a great coach is also your biggest fan.

Find out how Performulus helps you emulate these practices employed by Olympians to achieve peak performance.

With Performulus, you can reverse engineer daily activity plans (we call these ‘Performance Formulas’) so that you know exactly what to do every day to make progress towards achieving your goals. Daily point targets help keep you on track and motivated, and with in-depth reporting, coaches and managers gain visibility to the data necessary to coach effectively.

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