One of the joys of having a sleepover with my darling sister and editor Stephanie is that there’s always lots of new fodder for the reading mill over at her place. I catch up on old issues of “Vanity Fair” and dip into a fresh pile of books — always fun. In a guide called, better than Perfect by Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, I came across this inspiring story:
Marilyn King was on the U.S. Olympic team in the 1972 and 1976 games where she competed in the pentathlon. As she began devoting six-to-eight hours a day preparing for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, she was in a terrible car accident. During her months-long recovery, she was unable to train physically.
As she lay in bed, she kept thinking, “I’ll be I the top three at the Olympic trials and I’m getting better every day.” She practiced mentally for seven months by watching films of world-record holders and standing on a track envisioning herself competing. At the trials for the 1980 games, with no physical training, she placed second (but never competed due to the 1980 U.S. boycott). While disappointed, she was also amazed by her trial results: “I was just an ordinary person who had something extraordinary happen that was impossible to explain.”
After researching high achievers, she came to see that, “There are three things that are always present when people achieve extraordinary things.
“The first is passion. Successful people are passion-powered. It is never about things they ‘should’ do or are supposed to do. It’s not willpower; it’s ‘want power.’ Passion is what gets you out of bed, what makes you become a creative problem solver.
“The second is vision. High achievers think in a very particular way. I call it vision-guided. We all do it sometimes; Olympians do it every day.
“The third is action. Olympians and other high achievers are action-oriented. They have daily practices that move them step-by-step toward their goal. But not just physical practice; achieving at the highest levels requires mental practice as well. Mental practice provides the critical difference for high-level success.”
Marilyn calls this trio “Olympian Thinking” and believes anyone can apply it to whatever they want to achieve (waybeyondsports.com). Passion + Vision + Action: Something to ponder as we write on!