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Unleash Your Inner Olympian – Reflections on an Interview with Apolo Ohno

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What does it take to have the mindset of an Olympian? I recently interviewed speed skater Apolo Ohno, the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all time, to find out how to unlock inner potential and achieve at the highest level, even when the going gets tough. Here are some of the takeaways that resonated with me most:    


In today’s ‘always-on’ culture, it’s easy to lose your way. With so many people now working from home or doing a hybrid version, there’s often not a clear enough separation between home and work life, which means drift can set in. A great way to get some perspective is to detach. This means intentionally stepping away from where you’re at, what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. Whether it’s for an hour, a day or a weekend, go somewhere peaceful, turn off your phone, detach from your routines and get some headspace. You’ll be amazed by the clarity you can achieve very quickly!  

Get up on the balcony

Sometimes, life gets so busy that you can’t see the wood for the trees. When you’ve taken that first step and successfully detached from your regular routines and habits, you can then metaphorically ‘get up on the balcony’ and examine the five circles in your life: spiritual, family, business, financial and personal. By reviewing your goals in each area, you’ll be able to clearly assess where you’re at, identify what you need to tackle and make calculated decisions about what to do next.

Identify a feeling you hate

Identifying a feeling that you intensely dislike experiencing can really help to pinpoint what you want to eliminate from your life – and what you want to concentrate on. From feeling unhealthy to being aware that you’re financially insecure, knowing what you don’t want to experience anymore is a powerful motivator. The next time you face challenging circumstances or think you’re going off-track, remember how you don’t want to feel in the future – it’s a great way to stay focused on meeting your goals.

Reward yourself on the process, not the prize

One of the key ingredients in avoiding burnout is to take the time to recognize and celebrate your small wins. A celebration doesn’t have to be extravagant – it could be something as simple as taking the morning off and going for a walk on the beach. Rewarding yourself on the process of moving forward, as opposed to simply finally reaching your destination, is a powerful way to stay consistently motivated and keep the momentum building.

To learn more about unleashing your inner Olympian, listen to the latest episode of It’s a Good life.

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