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Great Achievers Do Not Come From A Smooth Path

Great Achievers Do Not Come From A Smooth Path

There are many people in this world that we can look up to for their determination, success and ability to overcome obstacles to achieve greatness. As a source of inspiration for those who want to reach levels beyond our apparent capabilities, high-achievers seem sub-human; the lucky few who got their chances and worked hard for it.

But these people are just like you and me. They had their faults along the journey they set out on, they faced their challenges and overcame them. Despite how it looks, they struggled, worked hard and stuck with their beliefs that they could achieve their goals and dreams.

There’s no doubt about it – Michael Phelps is extraordinary. A 28-Olympic gold medal athlete who has dominated the swimming world for over ten years continuing, to stay at the top and beating all those who compete to emulate his unwavering success. But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride to the top and there are a few lessons we can learn from this great Olympic champion.

Limits Are There To Challenge You

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Michael Phelps 2

    Limitations can be the cause of many failed attempts at success. They give us the belief that what we want can’t be achieved or is too hard to overcome. But Michael Phelps is proof that his limitations weren’t there to get in his way, but instead guided him on a path that took him to his ultimate success.

    At school, Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD, meaning he had huge problems concentrating in the classroom. Feeling frustrated and dejected, his mother encouraged him to start swimming as an alternative way to focus and his weekly swimming became a passion. He was finally able to channel his lack of focus in the classroom into swimming practice and finally found an outlet that allowed him to flourish.

    Never use your ‘limitations’ as an excuse to give up on your dream and never let self-limitation be a hindrance to what you want to achieve – nothing is impossible.

    It’s Okay To Make Mistakes. The Key Is To Learn From Them

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    Michael Phelps 7

      Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Phelps has made his fair share of them through his career, namely drink driving convictions and possession of marijuana, that led him to be banned from competitions for months at a time. While mistakes can understandably bring a lot of us down, the key is to learn from them and don’t let them get in your way of success.

      “I’ll make a million mistakes in my life, but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I’ve been able to learn and grow.”

      Despite the mistakes he’s made, Phelps has managed to take stock and re-evaluate his direction showing us that, although we are human and mistakes are inevitable sometimes, it’s how you respond to them that propels you harder back onto your path. See mistakes as a honing device that redirects your focus and values. Its alright to fall, it’s more important that you get back up.

      Motivation Is What Truly Drives You

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      Michael Phelps 6

        You can’t succeed in anything without motivation and Michael Phelps used his endless hard work in the pool and love of the sport to spur him on to get better and better. The Australian champion, Ian Thorpe was Phelps’ idol growing up and when Thorpe claimed that he didn’t think it was possible for Phelps to win eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps used these remarks as motivation. He stuck Thorpe’s words on the inside of his locker as a reminder that he was going to do everything to prove him wrong.

        “I’m really proud of him not just because he won eight golds. Rather, it’s how much he has grown up and matured into a great human being. Never in my life have I been so happy to have been proved wrong.” – Ian Thorpe on Phelps winning gold in 2008.

        Motivation sparks determination and is the number one element to achieving any goal in life. Motivation allows consistency and it’s this consistency that builds up your dream and makes it a reality.

        Be A Great Achiever, But Be An Even Greater Inspiration

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        Joseph Schooling and Michael Phelps

          For anyone who watched this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, you will have seen Singapore’s Joseph Schooling win gold against Phelps in the 100m butterfly final and it was a humbling picture of the young Schooling standing beside his hero that showed just how much Phelps has been an inspiration to young swimmers.

          “If it wasn’t for Michael, I don’t think I could have gotten to this point. I wanted to be like him as a kid. I think a lot of this is because of Michael. He is the reason why I wanted to be a better swimmer.” – Joseph Schooling

          “I’m proud of Joe. I wanted to change the sport of swimming. With the people we have in the sport now, I think you are seeing it.” [I want to teach kids] to believe in themselves, to not be afraid to know that the sky is the limit.”

          Phelps demonstrates that real success isn’t just about personal achievements, but by how much we can influence others. True achievers are the ones that inspire others to be better.

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          Jenny Marchal

          Freelance Writer

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          Last Updated on May 21, 2019

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

          If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

          Example 1

          You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

          You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

          In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

          Example 2

          You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

          People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

          You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

          Example 3

          You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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          The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

          Example 4

          You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

          Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

          If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

          Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

          • Understand your own communication style
          • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
          • Communicate with precision and care
          • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

          1. Understand Your Communication Style

          To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

          In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

          Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

          2. Learn Others Communication Styles

          Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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          If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

          “How do you prefer to receive information?”

          This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

          To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

          3. Exercise Precision and Care

          A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

          On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

          Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

          I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

          I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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          In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

          The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

          Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

          4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

          Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

          In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

          “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

          Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

          Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

          It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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          It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

          It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

          Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

          Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

          The Bottom Line

          When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

          I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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          Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

          Reference

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