Everyone’s enjoying watching the best athletes in the world coming together in a display of passion, strength, willpower and determination. These world-class athletes have trained and prepared to reach peak performance at the right place, the Olympic Games in Rio, and at the right time, during their matches. Although not all of them will come back with medals, most of them will reach their highest potential during their tournaments.

Many of us are inspired and constantly wondering, what do these athletes have that we don’t?

Watching the Olympics and being a professional athlete myself, I have noticed 4 very important things that these amazing Olympians do in order to accomplish their goals:

Michael Phelps – Swimming

  • Focus. Watch an Olympic swimmer walk towards the swimming block right before his or her race. Look in any athlete’s eyes moments before the referee blows the whistle. What do you see? They are all focused and serious. These athletes are concentrating and ready to give it their all. No one’s joking, or even talking, before going after their dreams. It’s GO TIME. This is how you should be when you’re thinking and talking about your dreams. This is how you should feel when you are working on your goals. Your future is no joke and your goals are serious. Your goals require all your attention. Dreams and goals demand everything you have. Athletes know that any distraction can compromise their goal and cost them their match. Staying focused is the only way you can reach your highest potential and accomplish your goals.

Rafael Nadal at Rio Olympics 2016

  • Visualize. Please watch any athlete, right before performing. Do you notice anything special? There is nothing between an athlete and an athlete’s goal. Athletes stare. They’re not looking at their opponent or anything in particular. They just look, somewhere only they can see. They are staring right at their goal. They feel their goal. They breathe their goal. They live their goal. They visualize it with their mind and soul, not just with their eyes. They don’t have any time for problems, and they deliver no excuses at these Olympic Games. There’s only time to show what they have, and to go after what they want. That is how everyone with a goal should feel. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

    Team USA Gymnastics – Rio 2016

  • Enjoy. Have you ever seen a sad competitor at the Olympics? The athletes are all happy to be having a chance to accomplish their goals and live their dreams. Yes, there are angry athletes. There are disappointed athletes. But there are no sad, depressed athletes at the Olympics. These world-class athletes don’t complain about anything. They don’t try to change anything about their environment. They are trying to adapt to it, and have it work in their favor. Athletes are mentally working very hard before and during their competitions, to clear the path towards reaching peak performance and winning their match. Everyone’s happy to have an opportunity to test themselves and their skills. Athletes cry only when they win their match, never when they lose. Winners cry, losers complain. Leave your problems at home when you decide to go after your dreams. You need to be happy to reach your highest potential.

2016 Rio Olympics – Judo – Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS) of Kosovo

  • Believe. All athletes believe they have what it takes to win a medal, or place higher than their opponents at the Olympics. Olympic athletes have an “I CAN” attitude. That is how they became Olympians in the first place. You set goals because you believe you can achieve them. You start something because you believe you can finish it. Obstacles occur, and difficulties arise. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve what you set your mind to. Athletes train to overcome obstacles and solve problems as they arrive. That is the definition of a competitor. An athlete’s job is to deal with whatever competition throws at them. We are all competitors in different areas of our lives. We compete against a co-worker or against a deadline, or we’re just competing against ourselves in our search for self-improvement. Regardless, in order to accomplish your goals and live your dreams, you must have an “I CAN” attitude.

These Olympians are just like you and me. What got them there is doing these four things.

What will get you to where you want to be, and whom you want to become, is 1) STAY FOCUSED on your goal, 2) VISUALIZE it becoming reality, 3) BE HAPPY that you have a shot at becoming your best, and, 4) Develop an “I CAN” attitude.

Thank you and good luck.