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5 Important Lessons to Learn From Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps has earned the distinction and honor of being the most decorated Olympian ever. He first achieved Olympic greatness at the age of 23 when he won a total of eight (yes eight!) gold medals in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. No one expected him to sweep so many events, but he did so with grace and skill. Then, in 2012, Michael won several more Olympic medals during the 2012 London Olympic Games, bringing his medal count to 22 and giving him the record of the most decorated Olympian in history. However, Michael Phelps is not only a swimming legend; he continues to live a successful life. The following are five important lessons to learn from Michael Phelps:

1. Prepare for Success
Michael Phelps did not just dive into a pool for the first time and come up with an Olympic gold medal. Throughout his career, Phelps has amassed countless years of intense and structured training and has taken care of his body by working out and eating 12,000 calories every day.

In addition, Phelps utilized visualization and focus techniques designed to prepare him for success and victory. By being in top notch condition, both physically and mentally, and by preparing himself for success, Phelps was able to achieve his goals.

In order to follow this lesson, you must set a goal and prepare yourself so that you can actually achieve it. Figure out what it takes to be successful in achieving your goal and then ensure that you are in the proper condition to achieve it.

2. Do Not Be Afraid to Announce Your Goals Publicly
Another thing that sets Phelps apart from many other athletes; his goal to win eight Olympic medals in the Beijing Olympics was publicized far in advance of the races themselves. That may not seem like much of a feat in today’s world, which is so connected via social networking, but even four years ago things were much different.

For this Olympics, Phelps was just as bold and spoke of his goal of having a ‘threepeat’ and winning Olympic gold in his best events for the third Olympics in a row – a goal he ultimately achieved twice. There was definitely some risk in announcing goals as publically as he did, but Phelps once again fearlessly stated his goals. Although it was quite a risk, Phelps gained support and motivation from his bravery.

To follow this lesson, make your goals public. Publish them on your Facebook page or on Twitter, or just tell people of your plans. Don’t worry about doubters, think of them as motivation for success. The closer you get to success, the more people will be cheering for you to win and achieve your goals.

3. Work With Your Strengths and Weaknesses, Accentuating the Positives
Michael Phelps is of course in excellent physical shape and has a wonderful physique for swimming. He does work out constantly to train for events but much of his physique is due to genetics. For example, despite his athleticism he would not likely have made a good gymnast.

You may not know that Phelps has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and that he began swimming as an outlet for his excess energy. Rather than thinking of it as a negative, he channeled it into his swimming and the results speak for themselves. He accentuated the positives of his personality and found success.

To make this lesson work for you, this same technique can be applied to your life and business. What suits you best? What are your strengths? What makes you happy? What “fits?” Figure out what makes you stand out from the crowd. Perhaps it is your skill at gardening or as a visual artist. That doesn’t mean you must be a landscaper or a portrait artist to utilize these skills. Be creative! Paint some paintings to display at a local coffee shop or start a business helping others learn how to garden. Accentuate the positive things about yourself and make your life and your career work for you.

4. Assemble a Team to Support You in Pursuing Your Goals
Michael Phelps was the only one in the pool when he won his individual medals, but there is a team of support people who have been with him along the way to the top. Michael Phelps’ mother Debbie Phelps, his long-time swimming coach Bob Bowman, his teammates whom he swam relays with and all of his friends, family and fans, all played an important part in his success.

You too can build a support team that can assist you in achieving your goals. Choose people that will always support you such as your friends, family and others. Consider hiring a life coach or a career coach, reading motivational materials and networking online and offline with others who have similar goals and interests.

5. Never Give Up
It wasn’t all gold and silver for Michael Phelps. For example, after his first Olympics he had an arrest for driving while intoxicated while he was under the age of 21. He has also suffered injuries at different points in his career that had an effect on his ability to maintain his training regimen. At one point during the Beijing Olympics Phelps’ swimming goggles leaked so that he was unable to see and had to finish (and win) the race simply by counting his strokes.

Many people might have given up after just one such setback. But Phelps persevered and never gave up on his dreams of one day being a legend in his sport and to the world. He achieved success because he constantly focused on his goals rather than on setbacks he encountered along the way.

The most important lesson to learn if you wish to achieve your goals is that you can never give up. There are going to be setbacks but you must push past them in pursuit of your true desires. Michel Phelps is an excellent example of what humans can accomplish and thus is a great individual to turn to for motivation and inspiration as you walk along your pathway to success.

If you need help to move towards your personal goals, organization and proper management are the keys to your success. Objectiveli is a web application that allows you to manage your objectives and goals in Real-Time. You and your team can truly focus on your goals with Objectiveli. With Objectiveli, you have one place where you can easily view and keep track of the progress from all team members, so you never have to rely on emails, notes or spreadsheets any longer.

Objectiveli will help you to create Outcomes that truly matter so that you can reach your loftiest Goals and achieve all of your important Objectives, without ever losing focus. It is possible to achieve your goals. With the right tools, you’ll be there in no time. Here’s to your success!

*Ritu Raj is the founder of the web application Objectiveli. You can find him on Twitter @Ritu.

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