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Five Secrets To Creating A "Goal" Medal Life

Part II

Ed Sykes

Recently, Joy and I had the pleasure of speaking at a conference of Educational Office Professionals in Baltimore, MD. The other speakers included Ms. Deborah Phelps, mother of six-time gold medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics swimmer Michael Phelps, and Agatha von Trapp, the 91-year-old daughter of Captain and Maria von Trapp, the family on which the movie "Sound of Music" was based. To say the least, there were a variety of subjects discussed that day.

As I listened to Ms. Phelps describe Michael's achievements, I realized that his story had many of the secrets of success mentioned in my September article, Five Secrets to Creating a 'Goal' Medal Life.

Let's go over these five secrets again and see how you can apply them:

1. Create Passion with Goal Setting Ms. Phelps mentioned that Michael, after competing in the 2000 Summer Olympics, was excited about the experience. Michael told her he wanted to compete again in the 2004 Summer Olympics. He had that burning desire to compete and win. So they sat down, developed goals, and mapped out a detailed plan for his success.

What do you have passion about in your career, your life?
Have you put pen to paper and developed goals to achieve what you want in life?

2. Believe in Greatness
Once Michael had competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics and held his own, he now believed he could win the swimming events in the 2004 Summer Olympics; not only win, but shatter world records. He visualized standing on the center stand with the gold medal around his neck. He visualized what winning the gold medals would look like, how it would feel, etc.

Have you visualized your "goal" medal life?

3. Create a Mastermind Group
Ms. Phelps said that once Michael set his goal, she (a single parent), his older sisters, Michael, and his long time swim coach, Bob Bowman, came together to develop a cohesive team for success. This was Michael's mastermind group. This group was devoted to removing barriers and helping Michael achieve his dream. Bob Bowman provided the technical expertise; and Ms. Phelps and his sisters provided the financial, emotional, and family support to keep Michael focused on his goals. They kept him focused on his goals while removing any distractions.

Who is your mastermind group?

4. Embrace Challenges
Michael's challenges began before his first Olympics. He was a son of divorced parents. Yet, he never used that as an excuse. After the 2000 Summer Olympics, his challenge was how do I become a gold medal athlete? He took a hard look at himself and received feedback from his mastermind group concerning how to make his weaknesses his strengths, and how to make his strengths the best in the world. He attacked those weaknesses with gusto everyday in practice.

When was the last time you asked the question, "How can I improve my skills to become the best?"

5. Never Give Up!
Ms. Phelps joked with the audience that as a mother, Michael's style of swimming made her crazy. You see, Michael, is a "comeback" swimmer. In most cases, he is behind in his races. Then at the last moment, with a burst of energy and an iron-willed belief he will win, he comes from behind to win the race. He believes that he can win every race as long as he is in the pool. He never gives up on his belief that he can win.

Do you believe that you can win every race?

As Ms. Phelps left the ballroom, we embraced; and she wished me the best. As she walked out the door, I thought that the Phelps family is truly living a "goal" medal life…and you can too. Start today.

Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,, and sign up for the newsletter, OnPoint.

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