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Michael Phelps: Models of Motivational Mindsets

For most sports, there is a tight debate about who is the best athlete of all time. However, there’s one athlete that is never a part of this debate: Michael Phelps. Why? The answer is simple—Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time.

Phelps didn’t build his success overnight. It took years of hard work, and in particular, mental work, that brought him to the status of the G.O.A.T. In a 2017 interview with CNBC Phelps revealed some of the mental exercises he used to perfect his craft. Turns out, there are several overlapping elements of his mentality and the Pro Mindset® as described by veteran NFL agent Craig Domann.

“One of the craziest things my coach tried to get me, when we first started to train together, to not to say the word ‘can’t.’ So that I could broaden my mind and believe that I could do whatever I wanted to. I think that was a key of us being so successful.”

For Phelps, training wasn’t always easy. There were undoubtedly moments when he felt like he wasn’t capable of swimming the next lap or beating his last record. However, Phelps chose to believe in himself, and it all began with the way he thought about himself and the way he spoke. He, in essence, trained his brain.

Just like Phelps, not everyone starts off with belief in themselves. Belief is something you choose to have. Craig Domann says that belief is the “starting block of everything.” Without it, no amount of athletic ability will allow you to win against a person that has belief. Phelps chose to believe in himself every day. He believed in himself during practice, which allowed him to believe in himself during races.

“I’m staying in my lane. I’m doing what I have to do —what I want to do — to be able to try to be the best.”

Phelps focused on himself. Although people around him may have done things differently, he knew what he had to do to become the best swimmer he could be. Using that knowledge, he crafted a lifestyle that would, in Craig Domann’s words, create “an ecosystem that is conducive” to his dream.

Lifestyle is a vital aspect of the Pro Mindset. It’s what happens behind the scenes that determines what happens on game day. Phelps understood the importance of lifestyle. Regardless of what others may have said or done, he stayed in his lane and did what he knew he had to do. This mindset is what led to his unprecedented success.

It’s easy to focus on what’s on the outside. For Phelps, that may be his medals, his races, or his records. However, it’s important to note what happens internally — what happens in the mind —is the true secret to any athlete’s success. Belief and lifestyle are two aspects of Phelps’ mentality and the Pro Mindset that we can all learn from.

To learn more about the Pro Mindset and ways you can incorporate it into your life, check out the Pro Mindset Podcast here.


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