Be the Michael Phelps of Your Business
How Phelps’ focus drove him to beat Le Clos in their rival match
As business athletes, we need to focus on the ‘Why’ behind our goals. If we want to motivate our team, we need to reiterate the core of our mission. This especially clicked when I was watching American Olympiads compete for our country. In the swimming division, there’s been a highly-televised rivalry between Michael Phelps and Chad Le Clos. During their pregame warm-up, cameras show Phelps staring daggers at Le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 100m butterfly in 2012 by only .05 seconds.
Le Clos spent the remainder of the warm-up clearly trying to get back at Phelps for the act of aggression. He stared Phelps down all the way from the pool deck to even glancing over mid-swim. Little did he know, he was playing right into Phelps’ hand. He focused all his attention on Phelps and negated to focus on the goal at hand — winning.
Phelps, almost 10 years older than Le Clos, won by a means of maturity. He understood that as soon as they were in the pool, everything else needed to be clear from his mind. Focusing on personal reasons behind a goal is a far stronger motivator than a competitor can be. Le Clos couldn’t let go of the competition and lost focus on the reasons behind his goals.
People are not driven by numbers, they’re driven by purpose. From Part 1 of my book The Goal Formula, I explain how a connection to the big picture keeps you accountable to your goals:
I accomplish goals because I view them as a piece of the puzzle to my Big Picture. With that in mind, developing your bigger picture will help to accomplish your goals. Every goal you set is a necessary piece of an important puzzle. One that will help you to experience a greater life when the pieces are connected. Remember, graduating boot camp was my goal, but becoming a Marine was part of my big picture. Connecting your goals will allow you to gain a complete picture of the life you desire and deserve.
Losing focus cost Chad Le Clos to place fourth while Phelps took gold. Focusing on the reasons behind your goals is vital to their success. Connect every goal you have with the bigger picture in your life. Keep your reasons rooted deep in your goals as you make progress.
To read the rest of the Goal Formula, order my book.