The Olympics Effect
I have noticed a trend in the Olympics and I’m sure you have to….
The people who are focusing on other competitors and medals are struggling to fulfill their potential. Lots of people, myself included, have shared the picture above that has turned into a world wide meme of LeClos looking at Phelps and Phelps looking straight ahead during their race.
From the ready room, it was very clear that LeClos’ focus was on Phelps.
Now to be fair to him, even if he swam his very best race, he might have still fallen short of Phelps. Phelps is a freak, and after some self-induced challenges, as well as the birth of his first child, he was not only a freak, but a highly inspired and motivated one.
But let’s take a look at gymnastics. Gymnastics is fascinating to me. There is no defense, and no goal keeper. Ibaka isn’t going to block your shot at the rim. You just need to execute your routine. A routine that you have literally done thousands, if not tens of thousands of times.
Yet, as soon as a competitors’ focus seems to slip away from the controllables and onto things far outside of their control, that is when they start slipping off of bars, not landing simple moves (simple for them, not for us) and failing to come close to fulfilling their potential.
I know that it is tempting to take your eyes off the road and get caught up in the prize ahead, especially when you have worked so hard, for so long, and so much of it in the dark.
But when you shift your focus away from the present moment you create pressure. You stop breathing, and you you become your own worst enemy. In the present moment there is no such thing as pressure, but in the future and the past, the pressure is unbearable.
When you shift your focus onto others instead of your controllables you are on a collision course with impending failure.
When you focus on gold instead of on enjoying the journey, you are on a collision course with misery.
There is something beautiful about a person set out and running the race set before them, not their competitors, but themselves.
When Van Niekerk of South Africa stepped into lane 8 to run the 400 on Sunday evening, no man had ever won from that lane. When you run in lane 8, you are “running blind” for most of the race.
Van Niekerk was forced to run as fast as he could without being able to see how close he was to “the fastest men in the world” who were in lanes 4 through 6. He couldn’t see anyone else, so he had to go out and give everything he had and it just so turned out he not only became the first man to win from lane 8, but he also broke Michael Johnson’s world record that had stood for 17 years unmatched.
I’m convinced amazing things happen when we focus on our race and giving our very, very best, one step at a time.
In what areas have you started to shift your focus onto your competitors or the prize?
What are some ways you can create an environment that forces you to focus on your race and not the race of those around you?
Joshua Michael Medcalf
Twitter: Joshua Medcalf
PS: Here is my speaking schedule for the next couple of months. If your city isn’t on here, but you want it to be, let’s figure out how to make it happen.
Aug 26-Sept 1 Indianapolis, Indiana (Only 1 spot left)
Sept 20–25 North Carolina
Sept 27-Oct 1 Virginia (Only 4 spots available)
Oct 2–4 NYC/Greenwich (Only 2 spots available)
Oct 5–8 Sacramento (Only 1 spot left)
Oct 19–22 Minnesota (Only 1 spot left)
Oct 24–27 Washington (Only 3 spots available)
Nov 8–20 Australia (Money In Sport Conference)
If your city is on here and I’m not already coming to speak at your school, to your team, or with your company, then let’s figure out how to make that happen!
It is likely I will also be speaking in the following places sometime this fall: