“When you go after those small wins because they’re easier, you never get around to the big stuff that really matters.”
– Vickie Milazzo
No Guts, No Glory: 10 Ways to Go After Your Goals Like an Olympian
Olympic athletes are the perfect examples of what it means to give 100 percent and more of yourself in the pursuit of achieving a goal. Vickie Milazzo explains how you can think like an Olympian as you go after your own wicked success.
HOUSTON, July 15, 2012 – World-class athletes from all over the world have streamed into London to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics. For them, the coming days represent the culmination of years of blood, sweat, and tears poured into long hours spent training and many anxiety-filled days spent competing against other highly successful athletes. They won’t all win the gold. In fact, many won’t even medal in their respective sports, but they serve as the epitome of what it looks like to throw every part of your body, mind and soul into going after a dream.
Vickie Milazzo says we should all act and think like Olympians as we strive to achieve our own wicked success.
“Olympians don’t settle for small-time achievements,” says Milazzo, author of the New York Times bestsellerWicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, ISBN: 978-1-1181-0052-3, $21.95, WickedSuccess.com) “But too often, in own our day-to-day, we allow big goals to fall prey to the easy wins we get by checking small tasks off our to-do lists. Imagine where that mindset would get you if you were an athlete.
“What if you started your training for the day and said, ‘I really want to beat my sprint time from yesterday, but first, let me re-lace my shoes. Then, I better wash the clothes I’m planning on wearing in this weekend’s competition. Then….’ That’s probably not how the U.S. Olympic Track Team approached their training. When you go after those small wins because they’re easier, you never get around to the big stuff that really matters. Well, that won’t get you to the Olympics, and it won’t get you wicked success.”
Milazzo suggests that just as Olympians are driven by the major goal of medaling in the Olympics the rest of us should go after what she calls our “Big Things.”
“Going after your ‘Big Things’ – maybe for you it’s starting your own business or getting a big promotion – is a far more lasting high than the transitory feel-good of checking off trivial tasks. Once you’re engaged in accomplishing your major goals, you’ll approach routine matters with laser-sharp focus, quickly deleting, delegating, and experiencing fewer distractions. More important, your creativity and productivity catch fire, and the momentum keeps you pumped. You’ll glide through your day full of confidence and satisfaction from achieving significant milestones.”
Read on to learn how to think like an Olympian and achieve wicked success.
Find the passion that drives you. When you find the passion that drives you – whether it’s family, serving others in the medical field, using the law to help others, or reforming a broken aspect of your community, you’ll have tapped into a fuel source that won’t run dry in the middle of the race.
“That doesn’t mean that the going will always be easy…but passion will make your life richer,” says Milazzo. “Do you think Olympic athletes could spend hours upon hours in grueling physical training without passion for what they’re doing? No, way! Their passion drives them. It fires them up. And when you tap into the passion that drives you, wicked success won’t be far away.”
Visualize your success. Most stellar athletes practice in their heads even more than they do in the physical world. For example, Olympic gymnasts mentally go through their floor or balance beam routines prior to competing. Basketball players visualize making their free throws before shooting the ball. This mental practice is essential for athletes and it’s just as important when you’re trying to picture what’s needed in order to achieve your own success.
“When I started my business, some of my family and friends couldn’t see the future I so clearly envisioned, and they were afraid for me,” notes Milazzo. “I got everything but the encouragement I was expecting – warnings, all the reasons not to do it. But it was my vision. I could see it, even if they couldn’t. Most successes are sown in the mind, whether you’re competing or starting your own business. Envision your success over and over again – approaching, taking action, succeeding.”
Engage in the areas that matter most. In today’s busy, always-on-the-go world, it’s easy to become over-committed. We fill our days with so many tasks – work, kids’ sporting events, dinners with clients, and so on – that we aren’t able to truly engage in the in the areas that matter most.
“Olympians make sacrifices in certain areas so that they have more time to engage in others,” says Milazzo. “For example, when training for an event, they probably have to sacrifice a lot of time with friends and family. After the Olympics, though, they’ll probably have more time for some rest and relaxation. Train yourself to engage your goals strategically, to engage the not-so-fun-but-necessary details, and to carefully evaluate the goals you do (and choose not to) engage. This will give you the ongoing momentum you need to live your passionate vision.”
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. You don’t get to the Olympics doing the same workout everyday. You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone and test your limits. The same goes for achieving any goal.
“Humans are agile,” notes Milazzo. “We can multi-task. We adapt quickly. But if you really want your agility to work for you, you can’t just wait for life to give you no choice but to change. You’ve got to push yourself consistently farther outside your comfort zone, actively challenge your fixed viewpoints, and expose yourself to new situations – all while keeping your eye on your ultimate goal and making sure that the life you’re working toward is still the life that’s best for you.”
Pace yourself. Here’s the thing about achieving your most passionate goals: it won’t be easy. Somewhere along the line – maybe for a long time – you’ll need to draw on “true grit strength,” something Olympians are very familiar with. Remember that even the toughest athletes have to pace themselves.
“Take a rest when you need it, and try to build small incremental payoffs into your journey toward your overarching goal,” advises Milazzo. “And remember that achieving wicked success is like getting into physical shape: you’re going to be sore and you’re going to want to quit, but that pain and discomfort are making you stronger and propelling you forward.”
Understand the importance of team work. Have you ever gotten together with friends, relatives, or colleagues and come away spinning with energy, motivation, and ideas? That’s the power of team work: when you bond with others over a shared interest, task, or goal, sparks of insight and brilliance are created that could never have happened without it.
“There’s no I in team’ might be a cliché, but it’s true,” says Milazzo. “Athletes in team sports know that what they can achieve as part of the team is much greater than what they can achieve if they act alone. When you are going after your big goals, reach out to others. Bounce ideas of off them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. The interactions you have with your own personal team will empower you, inspire you and keep you fired up!”
Stop hanging with the biggest losers. When you choose to participate in negative behaviors they rub off on you. Think about it this way: If you’re struggling to achieve a goal, you shouldn’t hang out with someone else who is struggling to achieve that same goal. If you want to be great a great swimmer, you don’t hang out with someone who can’t swim.
“Successful people tend to hang out with other successful people, not with losers who whine about someone else’s success,” says Milazzo. “Stick with the winners. The view from the top is meant to be shared. Find someone who’s already there to share it with, not someone who’s never seen it.”
Expand what you’re willing to believe about yourself. If you see yourself as powerless that’s what you will be. Anytime you find yourself entertaining doubts or trying to limit what you think is possible, remind yourself of your past successes. Let them infuse you with confidence and bolster your resolve.
“Believing you can do it – whatever ‘it’ is – is 90 percent of the win,” assures Milazzo. “When I walked into my first meeting with a potential client, my legs were literally shaking. I forced myself to remember that this attorney needed specialized knowledge that only I – a critical care nurse – could give him. That reminder didn’t banish all of my nervousness, but it did enable me to make the points I wanted with my first client. I learned that when you expand what you’re willing to believe about yourself, you can transform who you are and what your life looks like.”
Remember, life is a marathon. Volunteer to work the extra shift when you can. Always give that little bit extra (in terms of time/energy/attention) that takes a project from “good” to “great.” Engage 100 percent, no matter what your goal is. “Work as hard as you can,” advises Milazzo. “There is just no substitute for the willingness to work hard. It will get you to your ultimate goals.”
Find time for renewal. If you’re giving your all to your career, to your friends, to your family, to your church, and to keeping your house habitable, it’s no wonder you’re exhausted and have nothing left to give to your passionate vision. Plan – in advance – to renew your body, feelings, mind, and spirit, whether that’s scheduling a massage or blocking off a few minutes to read motivational material before starting your workday.
“Whether they win or lose, I’m sure most Olympians will take a little time off from training immediately following the big event,” says Milazzo. “Even in pursuit of your goal, it’s important to evaluate if your life is balanced (or not), so be proactive in replenishing yourself so that your fire isn’t extinguished. And constantly seek out new ways to achieve renewal, too!”
“You don’t end up on the medal podium with a gold medal around your neck by only devoting part of yourself to achieving a goal,” says Milazzo. “Constantly ask yourself, Am I really going for my goal all the way? Assess each step when you are taking it and make sure it’s the right thing for you to be engaged in at that time. Approach your goals like you’re an athlete in training. Work at it every day, accomplishing more and more. It won’t be long until wicked success is yours.”
About the Book:
The New York Times bestseller Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, ISBN: 978-1-1181-0052-3, $21.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.