By Geoff De Weaver, CEO + Founder Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.https://geoffdeweaver.com/
As an entrepreneur, businessperson, CEO or even as a competitive athlete, I have always been looking for new ways to get the edge on competitors, focus harder, work more intensely, have a greater presence, be more passionate, work harder or bring my boldest self to the party every day to build a competitive advantage.
Having grown up in New York, in a very competitive and demanding area, I moved to Australia as a child, I felt inspired at a very early age by the fabulous Mark Spitz. As a proud, admiring American kid growing up in Australia, he was the biggest of all ‘BIGS’ and my superman and my hero. And, who couldn’t Mark Spitz I have inspired in 1972? He was 7-for-7 Olympic gold medals at the Munich, Summer Olympics. (Yes…I even had to have the USA Speedo’s for swim training and racing too!)
As an American kid who had moved to Australia, I was inspired and motivate by Mark Spitz to step up, work harder and think smarter. In fact, I persuaded my parents to enroll me at a renowned Sydney Swimming/Aquatic center under the instruction of former Australian Olympic Silver Medalist from the 1960 Summer Olympics, Terry Gathercole. Terry had been a Head Swim coach for a very successful swim squad in Texas before returning to Australia to start an elite swimming center and trained some of Australia’s most elite swimmers during the 1960s-1980s. He also served as the President of Swimming Australia during Australia’s Olympic year.
So Mark Spitz inspired me as a kid into competitive swimming at an early age. BUT, it was Coach Terry who was also a world record holder himself, an Olympic swimmer and medal winner, a coach of two Olympic champions and a World Championship winner, whose intensity motivated me even more to: step up, lead, outwork my friends and team mates, and dream bigger, work harder and win.
Importantly, while training with Coach Gathercole was that training gets you into better shape and teaches you discipline, commitment and to never give up. And, as I have learned, there is nothing wrong with that!
I used to dread the 5.30 am morning 1500-meter freestyle sessions but came to the conclusion that hard work in training and past performances speaks a tremendous amount one’s ability and likelihood of success. So, I soldiered on.
I also remember how some of the elite global swimmers, swimming in lanes beside me, who also trained with Coach Terry. They also made me more focused, committed and lifted my own expectations and standards. Top Australian Olympians like: Gail Neall (She won a gold medal in the 400-metre individual medley at the 1972 Summer Olympics in world record time.), Beverley Whitfield (who won a gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and many others) inspired me to take massive action and create strategies to win.
This was the fundamental shift, and guidance, which forever changed my work ethic, desire to excel, step-up and to win. I learned to be passionate, confident, accountable and consistent. Luckily that continued into further other sports and ultimately into school and work too. (more on that later)
But, have you ever had someone tell you something you were striving to achieve or working towards – wasn’t or isn’t possible? Or say you can’t do that, or no one will ever duplicate that? Or does that negativity and criticism just drive you harder or inspire you more, just to prove them wrong?
So how do the following, often subtle but always insidious comments affect you:
- You don’t deserve it?
- You’re not ready?
- You’re too young?
- You can’t do it.
- You’ll never be as good as so & so…so why bother?
- Or even, it’s too late…you’ve waited to long?
Whatever you do, do NOT let these negative comments or awful thoughts slow you down, get you depressed or impact your hard work, passion and vision.
Drop the use of words like: Should, could, can’t, wanna or won’t. Block those thoughts and comments out and drive for excellence, lift your standards, push you for a personal best (PB). Make your dreams, goals and objectives a MUST. Focus on your strengths while improving your weaknesses. Show up early and stay late. Step up!
It comments like that made to Michael Phelps to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics that drove him to smash fellow American Olympians Mark Spitz record Gold Medial haul from Mexico in 1968 and Munich in 1972.
And, don’t forget it was Johnny Weissmuller who laid the original tracks and ‘gold grab’ when he won the 100m freestyle champion along with a total of 6 Olympic titles in the 1920’s and then went on to become a Hollywood star in the 30’s and 40’s.
But it was Mark Spitz who ran off with that record in the 1970’s with a legendary haul of seven Gold Medals stood. This record stood for 36 years until Michael Phelps won eight Gold Medals at the 2008 Beijing Games!
The inspiration and motivation to STEP UP, lead by example was only enflamed by Phelps’ desire to prove to the media, teammates and people that they were wrong were about him, not having a chance to eclipse Mark Spitz’s single Olympic haul of six Gold medals.
Bottom-line, that’s what makes Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps so inspirational and motivational to me. Here are a few of their quotes that also inspire and motivate me and hopefully they’ll do the same for you.
‘If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail’ ~ Mark Spitz
‘I realized I had to step up to the responsibilities of my dream’ ~ Mark Spitz
“It has nothing to do with swimming. That happens to be my sport. I am trying to see how far I can go’ ~ Mark Spitz
‘If he wins seven gold medals and ties what I did, then it would be like I was the first man on the moon and he becomes the second. If he wins more than seven, then he becomes the first man on Mars. We’d both be unique’ ~ Mark Spitz
‘I won’t predict anything historic. But, nothing is impossible’ ~ Michael Phelps
‘If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.’ ~ Michael Phelps
‘The more you dream the more you achieve’ ~Michael Phelps
Remember, you can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you go. Earning success is hard but, always do what’s necessary and do more than required. Lead by example.
Stay passionate and step up and lift your standards every day! Importantly, manage your state and mind daily & surround yourself with achievers, visionaries, experts and people who are outstanding always!
Don’t let your peer group pull you down or bring you down. Set yourself higher expectations and improve the trajectory of your life.
Win the day and consistently lift your standards daily.
More about Geoff De Weaver:
Hailing originally from New York; Geoff De Weaver is the globally experienced entrepreneur, technology disruptor, trend hunter, transformation expert and keynote speaker behind Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.
Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:
You might enjoy these recent posts too:
Does Disruption Resonate with your Board? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/does-disruption-resonate-your-board-geoff-de-weaver
AND… Why does Corporate America have so female CEOs? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-does-corporate-america-have-so-few-female-ceos-geoff-de-weaver