Inspired by Gold: 9 Things We Learned From the Olympic Games

Be Willing To Dream Big

It’s hard to compete to win big if you don’t get in the game in the first place. It’s easy to think that those who achieve breathtaking results such as multiple gold medals and crush world records are superhuman. When we think these things, we’re also saying they’re special and we are not. That couldn’t be farther from the truth–which is what makes the Olympic Games so special. They are about humans daring to dream big, and that creates extraordinary moments that inspire us all.

Set a Goal

You have to set your goal. Not a little goal, not even a BHAG (big hairy, audacious goal) but your goal. Your moonshot, if you will. That moment that you can imagine, taste and feel in its glorious essence. That goal of you standing on the podium (or whatever celebratory moment signifies you have arrived), listening to the world cheering for you and the breathtaking feat you have just achieved. Set that goal, your goal – the one that will pull you forward.


This is the magic moment that allows matter to shift, and allows what matters to come into sight. When you commit–really commit– to something, the people around you can begin to support your vision. You have to draw the line and then step over it, knowing that single step is the hardest and requires more faith and mental fortitude than any physical move you will make. Commit with the knowledge that in doing so, you will alter the trajectory of everything else that is to follow.

Build Your Team

This is not a solo event. The work is all on you and you have to sweat it out–but you’re not alone. We humans have the unique ability to be in community with like-minded, good people, to pull together and support each other in little and big ways. You need these people in your life, and you have to carefully gather them around you. This is your first training assignment; do your homework, get into the field and take time to identify your coach, select your mentors and role models, and then build your team, find your crew and trust them with your dream.

Work Your Goals Every Day

You have to want this dream more than anything, and especially on the days that you don’t like what your dream requires of you. On those days, your dream will show up as work. Hard work, work that hurts, work that sucks you dry. Work that takes everything you have inside and then asks for more. You have to be willing to put aside every distraction that dances your way on a daily basis. In doing so, you choose your dream again and again and it chooses you back.

Make Good Use of Your Failures

You have to fall down and get back up to get better and move closer to your goal. It is the way of the warrior and something you should be ready to experience. What matters most is not whether you fail or succeed, but what you do with that magnificent moment–what do you say to yourself? What do you learn? How does it change not only how you can show up tomorrow, but more important, how does it change who you are? Your failures are seeds for growth. Treat them well.

Never Give Up

This is the secret to your win. Keep going, get stronger each day and stay focused on the feeling you will have when you get to live your dream. It has to fuel you and you have to remember that you committed to it, and in commitment, there is no giving up. You are in it until you reach the finish line. This makes your decisions really easy; you just have to keep showing up and giving your all, and everything else just becomes noise.

Be Ready For Game Day

There is the work behind the dream, and then there is the work to be ready for Game Day. If you are training and doing your reps and sets (literally or metaphorically), the work is done. Hopefully you will have the strength, stamina and courage to compete and to compete well. It’s also crucial to be ready to show up and be present in the realization of your dream. This is not just a pep talk–although it helps and nearly every elite athlete has mastered his or her pre-event self-talk. You also need to become intimate with that moment of competition, so you can be ready to react and respond and interact with all that is happening around you. Otherwise you risk missing it – or feeling so overwhelmed that you become dissociated from the moment, and choke in response to the stimulus, your nerves or the drama in your head. Don’t let that happen. Game day requires a game plan and a game-day mindset.

Celebrate With Class

Don’t spoil your win. Be excited and celebrate wildly. You deserve it and your dream deserves it, but do so with the grace of a true champion. Be a good sport, be humble and be grateful. Be honorable, don’t brag, and give credit to those who fought with you and alongside you all the way and especially on game day. These are qualities of a champion and really, these are the qualities of a good human–even one who has achieved a super human dream.