The Secret To Olympic Records, Business Success And Other Big Wins

By: Dan Kennedy on: August 8th, 2012 3 Comments

Last week, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time.

Earning his 19th Olympic medal with a win in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

Although he’s having a great Olympics, it’s not as great as he could have been enjoying.

In fact, he’s fallen short of many people’s expectations, including his own.

It’s a good lesson in what it takes to reach the success you desire.

For Phelps, his problems began after the 2008 Olympics when Phelps got lazy.

He stopped doing the things that brought him success in the first place…like going to the pool to train every day.

Until in 2011… he was bested in the pool by his teammate, Ryan Lochte in the 200 meters Individual Medley (IM) at the world championships.

And that’s when Phelps got back to the basics, doing the things he needs to do to win again.

Funny thing with swimmers is that no matter how long they’ve been swimming, they do the same thing day in, day out to prepare for their races.

Take U.S. swimmer Dara Torres, who at the age of 41 became the oldest Olympic swimming medalist in history, when she won two silver medals at the 2008 Olympics.

Despite having swam her whole life, unlike Phelps, she never forgot the basics.  She did the same workouts that every other sprint swimmer on her team did such as kicking and drills.

Of course, this was just a small piece of the reason for their success.

What makes people succeed (or fail)?  There are four components necessary for succeeding at any goal or objective you set.

Begin with a definite purpose.  Michael Phelps stopped doing what had always made him successful, because he had lost sight of his purpose. It’s hard to do things when you aren’t clear about why you’re doing them.  Despite his secrecy about his goals for the 2012 Olympics, it’s evident with the success Phelps is seeing at this year’s Olympics, that he has a definite purpose for being there and is clear about what that is, even if it is not the same goals that others may have for him.

If you don’t have a definite idea of what you are after, it will be difficult to think accurately and decisively about the decisions and actions you need to take.

Make a practical plan on paper. Despite there being documented evidence that this makes a difference, this is a step that is often neglected. Writing out a plan of how you will achieve your objectives helps you to think accurately about what you need to do in order to succeed.

Competitive swimmers don’t just show up and swim a bunch of laps. They have a written workout that they follow every day. Olympic swimmers have a long-range plan…some start planning for this many years in advance. Their workouts the week before the Olympics will be much different than two months before the Olympics or two years before the Olympics.

Taking time to figure out your plan will make you more productive and allow you to quickly determine when you need to adjust things to keep on target to achieve your goals.

Surround yourself with good people to help you. When she began training for the 2008 Olympics, Dara Torres had a head coach, a sprint coach, a strength coach, two stretchers, two masseuses, a chiropractor and a nanny.

This was the team she set up to help her succeed.  Setting up this team is one of the well-known, yet little used secrets to success.

Who’s in your corner?

Many people think they can do it alone, but one of the fundamental secrets to success is engineering a team of good people. Andrew Carnegie once said, “Take away my railroads, take away my factories, take away my money, but leave me my people and I’ll have it all back and more in six months.”

You too will need to apply “teamwork” concepts in many different ways, to many different relationships, in order to achieve your goals.  I’ve found this application works wonders in unpredictable ways. Join a mastermind group. Get a coach. Find a mentor. Surround yourself with people who will support you and facilitate correct thinking when it comes to your plans and actions.

Take continuous action.  One of the reasons Phelps lost after the 2008 Olympics is because he stopped taking continuous action. He stopped doing the basics that made him successful in the first place.

Even though I’ve been doing this 35 years, I still have routines I follow every day. I still use the same Magnetic Marketing principles I teach in my business continually.  Sure I could stop writing my newsletters and doing the things that made me successful (like doing at least one client-getting activity every day.) But my income would suffer and so will yours if you don’t take continuous action.

When you understand the fundamentals to success, it won’t be hard for you to succeed. Ignore them and you’re destined to struggle.

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    Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

    3 Responses

    1. 18 gold medals and 22 overall. Some might call that the greatest Olympic career ever. Hardly think that he lost focus. Phelps is human, not a machine. While I agree with what your theory of success is, I think you are barking up the wrong tree here with Phelps.

    2. I agree that some might call Phelps’ Olympic career the greatest ever, but I also agree that he had to get back to the basics in order to achieve that height. We’re all human, we all need times of relaxation away from the job or the business we’re running. But if we don’t get back to business – and the very basics thereof – we’ll lose our winning edge. What if Phelps had stayed away from the pool, thinking that because he had done so well in the 2008 Olympics he would automatically win all gold in 2012? Would he have 18 gold medals and 22 overall? I think not.

    3. Great blog! Keep it up.

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