learn the keys to achieving peak-performance.
The Courage to Succeed
Goal Setting Secrets of a
What would your life be like if
failure was not an option? Would you like to perform at your peak more often?
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Four years after making a decision to begin training for the Olympics, I made
my dream come true. I competed in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics in the luge.
I went on to compete in the 1992 Albertville Olympics and Salt Lake City
Olympics and I just competed in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics at the age of 47.
How does someone who did not even take up the sport of luge until he was 22
become a four-Time Olympian? As I tell thousands of people in my speeches,
Iím not a big shot. Iím just a little shot that keeps on shooting. Iím
proof that ordinary people can aspire to achieve extraordinary things if they
will just follow a few simple steps.
Aspire to Achieve: Four Steps to Success*
Step 1: Choose a goal
Step 2: See yourself succeeding at your goal.
Step 3: Choose a quality that will help you reach your goal.
Step 4: Create a new habit that will help you achieve your goal.
Step 1: Choose a goal
What changes would you like to make in your life that excite you just by
thinking about them? What would you love to do? Where do you want to be 10
years from now? What is your dream?
Ever since I was in the third grade I wanted to be an Olympic Athlete. I
respected the Olympians because they were an example of what I believed in -
they are willing to commit to a goal, willing to risk adversity in the pursuit
of it, willing to fail and at the same time keep trying until they succeeded.
But it was not until I was in college and saw Scott Hamilton compete in the
Sarajevo games that I actually made the decision to train for the Olympics.
But just thinking about your goal is not enough. If you want to reach your
goal, you need to make it real - write it down!. Donít worry how you will
make your dream come true at first. Magic happens when you put your goals down
on paper. Writing it down is the first step in turning a dream you might
achieve into a goal you will achieve.
In 1960, Harvard Business School did a study of their graduates 20 years after
they had graduated. They found the top 3% moneymakers made as much money as
the other 97% put together. The only difference between the two groups was the
top 3% had always written and regularly read their goals. As a result,
everything they did on a day-to-day basis was focused on reaching their goals.
When Tiger Woods was a young boy, he wrote down on a 3x5 card that he intended
to break all of Jack Nicklausí records. Tiger read his card every night.
Jack Nicklaus agrees that Tiger in on track to make it happen.
The most effective way to write your goals down is to take a 3x5 card and on
one side write:
"I intend to (state your
goal). by (date)."
On the other side of your card write why.
"I intend to accomplish this
because "(state your reasons)"
Write at least three reasons why you will do it. The more reasons the more you
increase your belief.
Read your card first thing in the morning EVERY DAY to stay focused on the
objective. Then read your card EVERY NIGHT before turning out the lights so
your subconscious can work all night on ways to make it happen.
Step 2: See yourself succeeding at your
Several times a day close your eyes and for a couple of minutes vividly
imagine what itís going to feel like when you achieve your goal. Really get
into it. Feel it as if it were really happening Ė right now!. Get excited!
Your subconscious does not know the difference between imagining it and it
really happening. By doing this, you become passionate about your desire, your
belief becomes unshakeable and you become unstoppable.
I constantly imagined what it was going to be like when I walked into the
Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremonies. I imagined it in great detail. I
could see the crowds waving at me. I could see the flags and the balloons. I
could hear the roar of the crowd, the fireworks, the Olympic Hymn. I could
feel the cold wind blowing snow onto my cheeks. I could feel the tears of joy
streaming down my face. I could feel the goose bumps running up my back and
over my shoulders. I thought about it all the time, while jogging, while
lifting weights, even in the shower. It was my dream - but it became my goal!
And when I finally entered the Olympic arena, it was just the same -only 100
Seeing yourself succeeding is an important step because imagining yourself
succeeding will keep you from quitting when the going gets tough Ė and it
Seeing yourself succeeding is fun! You can feel the excitement of reaching
your objective Ė before you get there. You will feel victorious. You will
feel great. But donít wait until you get there to practice feeling
successful Ė imagine being successful now!
Step 3: Choose a quality that will help
you reach your goal.
Have you ever looked at someone and wished you could be like them? Everyone
has at one time or another. The good news is that if you notice a quality in
someone else, you have some of that quality in yourself. You just need to
develop it further. "It takes one to know one". Any quality you
admire in someone else is a quality you have Ė you just need to practice it!
So step number three in reaching your goal is to choose the main quality you
think you will need to reach your goal. Is it Boldness? Creativity?
Enthusiasm? Patience? Leadership?.. ..
In my case it was Perseverance. To get good at the luge, I knew I was going to
have to endure many crashes and injuries and simply refuse to give up. So I
made a decision to become perseverant. To never quit. Someone has said,
"The main difference between a success and a failure is that the success
tried one more time." I decided to persevere in trying one more time.
Step 4: Create a new habit that will
help you achieve your goal.
Good habits usually donít just happen. You need to develop a specific plan
for creating a new habit. Itís simply a matter of choosing an action that
helps develop your quality, deciding when to practice that habit, knowing that
you are going to have to repeat it many times and then give yourself a
Since perseverance was the most important quality I needed to have to reach my
goal, I needed to find ways to develop my perseverance. I had to get good at
"not quitting". So I decided to become an expert on perseverance. I
read books about people who had faced great challenges and refused to give up.
I got inspired that if they could Ė I could!
I made a decision that no matter how bad a crash I had, I would get back on
the my sled. I had a picture of a luge athlete riding a sled. I used that
picture to remind me to get back on my sled.
My action step, my habit, was going to be getting back on the my sled, after
every crash, no matter what. I practiced getting on my sled more than most. I
did it when I didnít want to. I did it when it hurt. This was the habit I
was going to develop.
Sometimes, after a painful crash, Iíd have to work at it. I would have to
walk up and down the track for a long time telling reminding myself things
like "Iím a winner. Iím going to the Olympics. I never quit. Iím
getting back on the my sled. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
No matter how bad it gets, Iím going to make it if I donít quit! I never
give up!". I thought of that picture of the Olympian on a luge sled.
Eventually, I'd get to the point where I could walk up to the coach and say
"Coach, Iím ready to get back on the my sled.".
And it worked! On the road to the Olympics, many athletes much faster than me,
much more talented than me, chose to quit along the way. How do you think they
felt when they watched the Olympics on TV? The price of getting your dream is
big but the pain of regret is hundreds of times bigger.
Create a habit, something you do every day, to develop that quality you need
to reach your goal.
You can do it. No matter what your dream is, you can make it happen if you
follow these four simple steps: 1) Choose a goal, 2) see yourself succeeding,
3) choose a quality, and 4) create a habit to develop your quality. Commit to
these four steps.
The difference between people is there are those who are interested and there
are those who are committed. A key to success in life is going from being just
interested to being fully committed. Once you are committed you will produce
results. At the point of commitment, you mentally "burn all the
bridges" and you do whatever it takes to make it happen. THATíS when
you become unstoppable!
Commit to these four steps and you too will make your dreams come true!
Ruben Gonzalez is a three-time
Olympian, a peak performance expert, and a motivational speaker. For his free
e-zine, go to www.thelugeman.com