In just 58 days, the London Olympics will kick off and the world will become glued to our televisions watching gymnasts, swimmers, runners, and other members of the world’s elite athletic teams achieve triumphs, overcome tragedies, and push through pain to succeed at all costs. And as the Olympics grow closer, I wonder, how did these individuals get where they are today? There are those who are mechanically built to succeed in their fields – Michael Phelps with his long arms and tall lanky frame make him a natural born swimmer. There are those whose life-long training and dedication have given them talent that was built, not born – Nastia Liukin recently told the Washington Post that her all-around gold medal means nothing anymore, and she’s starting fresh this year.
As I contemplate the journeys of these athletes, they have one thing in common. They’re world-class. Different backgrounds, different continents, different genders, sizes, shapes, political affiliations come together on the London stage with the common thread of being world-class. And as I contemplate this thread, I’m reminded of something I heard from a successful woman at an event a few weeks ago. She said, “You behave differently when you believe you’re world class.” This woman went on to tell us how she instills in her staff the fact that they’re the best in their business, world-class in their industry, and found that this change in vocabulary alone added leaps and bounds to their performance.
Perhaps Olympic athletes, despite their natural athletic abilities, were able to get where they are today not because they necessarily were born world-class, but because someone taught them early on to believe they were world class.
Do you believe you’re world class? What would you need to do to change this mindset? Do it, and you might find you’ll rise more quickly to the top of your field – even if you don’t have Michael Phelps’ arms.