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Six Olympic Athlete Performance Skills That Apply in the Corporate World

By: Jadine Cleary, Technical Director, Synchro Canada


How do Olympic athletes stay motivated, face their fears? Push themselves? Succeed under pressure? And how do these lessons translate to the corporate world?

As a high performance coach of athletes and corporate professionals, these are the most relevant discriminatory factors that I believe determine success in athletes and are directly applicable to your personal advancement as a business professional.

OLYMPIC ATHLETES BELIEVE UNQUESTIONABLY IN THEIR ABILITY TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS

Undeniably, athletes have bad days and disappointments that challenge their beliefs, but when pushed, their cemented internal belief is in their ability to succeed. They envision daily what it will feel like when they reach their goals. Do you believe you can achieve your goals? If the answer is yes, list out why you believe this to be true.

ACCEPT AND EMBRACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR CHOICES

Olympians are “24 hour athletes” meaning their whole lives are scheduled around their training and recovery needs. But equally as important is the perspective from which these “sacrifices” are viewed. Focusing on what you’re missing is draining and un-motivating.

PERFECT YOUR IDEAL PERFORMANCE STATE: BECOME SKILLED AT PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE

It is a misconception that athletes don’t get nervous! However they’ve learned how to handle this pressure and execute in any situation. They do this by getting into their Ideal Performance State or IPS. This is the state of mind and level of body activation that is ideal for an athlete to be in to execute their optimal performance. For most sports the ideal level of activation is about a 6/10. This means, athletes need to be ready, but relaxed enough to move smoothly and react. If they’re too tight they overreact or miscalculate. As a career professional, you can probably relate to times when you’ve felt your best and ready to handle anything that comes at you in a business negotiation or presentation. What was your level of activation?

BE MORE TENACIOUS THAN YOUR OPPONENT

When you listen to most athlete’s success stories, they are riddled with as many disappointments as successes. In 2004 Marie Pierre Boudreax, our current duet swimmer in the London 2012 Olympic Games, didn’t make the Olympic team. She was devastated. When given an opportunity to be the reserve for the team, to be there in case of injury, she jumped at it. Those who succeed in the end aren’t always just the most talented, they are the most tenacious.

THE LONGER YOU TRAIN IN YOUR UNCOMFORTABLE ZONE, THE STRONGER YOU WILL BECOME

Athletes know that real training happens when they get out of their comfort zone. There is physiological truth to this. Muscles only grow when the forces placed upon them exceed their load capacity, thereby causing the muscle to tear and rebuild stronger than it was before. True growth is uncomfortable. Get into your growth zone.

DON’T THINK, EXECUTE

When it comes to “go” time… just GO! Olympic athletes know when to stop thinking and just execute. Have the guts to believe in yourself, accept willingly what you will need to do to achieve your goals, perfect your performance and just do it. Olympic athletes know that courage is placing one foot in front of the other and never looking back. Jadine Cleary is the Technical Director for Synchro Canada. She coached at the Olympic Games in 2004 and in three world championships. Jadine leads athlete talent identification, national team hiring and determines the technical course for Canada. Alongside her work in sport, Jadine teaches executives in communication, management and leadership with Witz Communication to coach their business teams to success.


Jadine Cleary is the Technical Director for Synchro Canada. She coached at the Olympic Games in 2004 and in three world championships. Jadine leads athlete talent identification, national team hiring and determines the technical course for Canada. Alongside her work in sport, Jadine teaches executives in communication, management and leadership with Witz Communication to coach their business teams to success.