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What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Michael Phelps

Over the weekend those who tuned in might have witnessed the greatest Olympian of all time. With 22 Gold Medals, it is hard to argue that Michael Phelps isn’t. The American Swimmer who has dominated swimming at the age of 27 has been nothing short of remarkable in his ability to beat every competitor that has come his way. The Baltimore native has inspired millions of people around the world who tuned in to watch him swim his way to victory after victory in London.

With his dominance, entrepreneurs and business owners can learn 22 things from Phelps:

  1. When you reach success (and even before then) don’t forget to give back. Michael Phelps recently retired and plans to devote more time to helping others through his foundation.
  2. Go for first. There’s no sense in playing for second place. Phelps’ mentality is to win and entrepreneurs should want to be the best that they can be.
  3. Don’t like losing. When it becomes okay to lose, you begin to lose. Michael Phelps detests losing and it shows in his relentless work ethic and dedication to his craft.
  4. Be ambitious. No goal is too far or too ambitious. It is Phelps ambition which has continually pushed the envelope of what was considered possible.
  5. Be mentally tough. Phelps basically lives in the pool and the mental and physical drain can be a lot, but maintain the fortitude through the most difficult times to be successful.
  6. Dedicate yourself. “If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.”
  7. Don’t limit yourself. Impossible is a limiting term and if it is used in your vocabulary it limits what you are capable of. Michael Phelps didn’t allow experts or analyst to dictate what he was capable of accomplishing.
  8. Prepare for all scenarios.  “I would visualize the best- and worst-case scenarios. Whether I get disqualified or my goggles fill up with water or I lose my goggles or I come in last, I’m ready for anything.”
  9. Set goals and reach for them. Michael Phelps set a goal and he worked hard and put in the time to achieve those goals.
  10. Train and work hard. The races are won before Phelps hit the water. He worked extremely hard to practice every scenario.
  11. Stay determined. “Being able to do something that’s never been done before, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. . . . There was nothing that was going to stand in my way of being the first.”
  12. Dream big. “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get.”
  13. Find the gold standard and beat it. 8 gold medals in Beijing helped Phelps beat Mark Spitz.
  14. Own up to your mistakes. Michael Phelps has made his fair share of mistakes outside of the pool, and he owns up to them.
  15. Focus. In order to reach your goals Phelps had to “dial in” day after day, after day.
  16. Celebrate the wins. When you work hard to achieve and reach your goals, don’t forget to celebrate.
  17. Have fun.
  18. Leave a legacy. What Phelps was able to accomplished will be remembered forever. That’s leaving a legacy.
  19. If you demand and expect excellence of yourself, you will always be competing against yourself.
  20. Be able to work together and individually. The “Baltimore Bullet” was able to win relay races which required him to rely on his teammates.
  21. Fight until it’s over. Phelps was not always lead every race, sometimes he had to fight from behind to win, but he did not give up.
  22. Just win. At the end of the day it’s about wins and losses. Do the former.

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