Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Go for Gold

It can’t have been easy for a New Zealand television reporter to get a word with Michael Phelps, the Olympic superstar, but through good luck, good management or sheer grit, she did it. Maybe it was because Phelps had a connection with New Zealand; a place in which he trained some years ago while developing his style. Her question was a good one for local audiences but Phelps’s answer gave it global resonance. “What advice would you give young people at home in New Zealand who are just starting out in the pool?” Now I watched a lot of sport on television and most athletes talk about the hard work involved and the commitment needed. All very true. However, Michael Phelps didn’t reach for train harder, faster, longer or any of the other 'er' words. He didn’t even hesitate. He simply looked her in the eye and said, “Dreaming”. That’s right, dreaming. He went on to say, “When I first got into the pool…I dreamt I would be at the Olympics…anything is possible”. As the world saw on television, or if you were really lucky, at poolside, the dream came true. To believe that 'Nothing is Impossible' and that dreams come true is one of the most valuable tools to have in both life and in business. Sure your dream has to be backed up by skill and hard work, but without that dream there is nothing to get you through tough times. And believe me, there will be tough times. Michael Phelps is an inspiration to everyone who wants to succeed at anything. Now, follow your dream and go for gold.


Anonymous said...

For me Usain Bolt was the face of these Olympics. Not only did he accomplish the sprint equivalent of Phelps (shattering 3 unbreakable world records in 7 days) but he had the personality and charm that Phelps lacked.

Bolt seems like a true champ, some call him arrogant but I just saw a young kid loving what he does, having so much fun while others like Powell and Gay succumbed to the pressure.

Jan-Willem said...

This is so recognisable. I am training for the New York marathon, 48 years old, started running 3 years ago. And all the time I have been dreaming about this marathon before I am 50.
And it is going to happen. I am all geared up and full of adreline!

And maybe more important, it energizes my job in a big way.

I love dreaming.

Jonathan said...

Nice ... and true.

But the equally difficult challenge is knowing what one's dream actually is.

Most folk waste their lives trying to be someone else instead of "following their DNA".

I remember the Tommy Steele TV special in the 1970s. Huge stage, with a wonderful orchestra playing. Tommy stopped playing the piano for a moment, and whispered in close up to us all with a smile ...

"I believe that the imagination is the greatest gift we have been given." He winked, and added confidentially ... "Don't let it slip through your fingers."

I have lived by this for the 35 years since.


Bruce Nicol said...

It is not just the 'dream', or vision you have. It is also the daily dreams that drive your synaptic 'undermind' as Guy Claxton calls it in his "Hare Brain, Tortoise mind".
This is why my MBA students at VUW, and my individual clients, get behaviour change on a daily basis to reach deep inside themselves and make the dreams a daily ritual.
Bruce Nicol

Kempton said...

I love the simplicity in his answer "Dreaming."

P.S. In the Phelps vs. Bolt game, I am a bigger fan of Bolt. But there is no reason to bash Phelps. They are both wonderful athletes.

I love Bolt more because I felt his fun and joy when he won. He was just a happy kid. (Canada's Donovan Bailey, Bolt's friend and mentor shared the same impression that Bolt is just a kid having some fun. And seeing Bolt's competitors sharing his joy, you have to agree.) And the way Bolt broke the 100m world record so effortlessly was a beauty.

Anonymous said...

The reporter did do a great job, I was really taken with her as she appeared to be new at the job, but was really able to get basic strong messages across during the olympics. I enjoyed the fact that she appeared to be very approachable, straight up, and had a very natural style. She was easy to listen to and understand during her interviews. Phelps answered her beautifully and it was a genuine and inspiring message for many.

Ally NZ

Kevin Roberts said...

Who’d have thought cheeky Tommy chirped that. What a crazy world we’re living in!!!

Kevin Roberts said...

Bruce, I defer to the Japanese concept of kaizen, the Japanese version of reaching for your dreams on a daily basis.