The Four R’s of an Olympian Mindset

August 24, 2016

The 2016 Summer Olympics are a reminder that the ability to bounce back from setbacks is a key characteristic of top performers.  Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”   Here are four R’s of an Olympian mindset worth adopting.   river-2016-1594386_960_720

Right work ethic- Many people approach their professional roles with a ‘good enough’ attitude wherein as long as they are completing the majority of their responsibilities on a regular basis, they are satisfied.  Some employees believe that should they go above and beyond their regular roles, they should be compensated for each action.  This belief system is the exact opposite of the Olympian mindset.  Dale Carnegie’s 19th Human Relations principle, ‘Appeal to nobler motives,’ implores people to strive to be their very best—to do even more than what is asked by anticipating needs both internal and external to the organization, and delivering accordingly.  Olympians don’t have to be asked to go above and beyond because doing so is inherent to their belief system.  How can you step up your game in the workplace?

Rely on top performers- Young athletes leave their homes to train with top performers.  They understand that isolating themselves among world-class athletes will enable them to improve their focus and performance.  Olympic training is draining.  These stellar athletes rely on their teammates for emotional support during the peaks and valleys of both training and competing.  When you are unable to perform to the best of your ability, do you ask for help?  Is there someone on your team in whom you can confide or a top performer who could possibly mentor you to achieve your ultimate potential?

Responsive to coaching- Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, offers insights for effectively managing criticism.  Mr. Carnegie said, “Analyze your own mistakes and criticize yourself,” which concurs with the Olympian mindset.  Top athletes rely on criticism from coaches, experts and teammates to improve their game.  Instead of being discouraged by criticism, they are eager to hear it.  Olympians understand that feedback is intellectual capital—expertise they use to excel.  When someone offers you constructive criticism, are you open to it?  How can you use feedback to improve your performance? 

Rest and recovery- Unlike most American employees, Olympians consider breaks mandatory.  Research shows that only 1 in 5 five people steps away for a midday meal.  Without a break, our brains are unable to maintain a high level of productivity.  Only when we rest and return to the task at hand can we approach it with renewed and laser-sharp focus.  Olympians rest during and in between training.  Equally important, when they experience set-backs, they rely on their support teams to help them recover and rebound.  If you don’t step away from your desk for lunch or a quick walk, you are undermining your mind’s ability to optimize throughout the workday.


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