While watching the Olympics the last two weeks, I continue to be impressed with the athletes that are able to rise to the occasion and perform at their best when the stakes are the highest. The Olympic stage is unique as it is one moment that can alter the perceived success or failure of an athlete.
I keep asking myself this simple question, “How are some athletes able to perform even better than their norm while others crumble with the pressure?” It’s the clutch moment, which isn’t limited to Olympic performances. Not too long ago we watched Denver succumb to Seattle during the Superbowl. We all have probably experienced moments where we outdid our expectations and similarly failed during others. This question is deep rooted in my own Olympic performances and the frustration of not capitalizing on that one moment.
Speaking with fellow Olympians and professionals, I firmly believe it comes down to one key aspect: MINDSET.
As an athlete, a lot of attention is given to physical training and strength. Yet, the more important and often forgotten element of an athlete is their mental conditioning. As with people with natural talent and strength, there are those that have a higher level of intuitive mental strength. Regardless if you are gifted in one area or another, it all must be trained and mastered.
So, what is this Olympic Mindset?
It’s the ability to relish the moment, embrace expectations or lack thereof and simply allow your body to do what you’ve long trained to do. The decision to block out distractions and negative noise from your own doubts. To simplify your attention to the joy and the inspiration of doing what you love. The truth is at that level athletes have training thousands of hours to be where they are. They are all capable of greatness and often it boils down to those who are able to to live and capitalize on the beauty of the moment. To stick with their plan and execute it. It sounds easy but we all know there is a lot of dedication toward mindfulness required.
This is true of any area of our life. Training, focus and energy must be given to all aspects of self. Confidence is key and knowing you are prepared and focused allows you to perform at your best.
To be Olympic Champion is no fluke, the obvious physical strength is equally balanced with unparalleled mental prowess.
The Olympics have reinforced this truth, there is more than meets the eye.
I hope this gives us all an appreciation and understanding of the mindset for that one moment during the Games and more importantly in our own lives.
Live in the moment.