Successful athletes, just like any successful entrepreneur, have common characteristics that have helped them on their path in becoming the best version of themselves within their chosen discipline. Through my experience coaching talented athletes across the world in a range of sports, I have put together the top personal characteristics which we can learn from the most successful athletes.
Here are 9 of the most successful characteristics of Olympic athletes:
One of the biggest virtues I have seen in top athletes I have trained is that they are very consistent. They consistently turn-up to each training session not for 3 months, not for 6 months but for years and years. It is a part of there life even before they are successful and thus are motivated by more than just success.
To be consistent you need to enjoy what you do. You need to enjoy training and competing otherwise it is going to be a tough road when you have to make big sacrifices in other areas of your life and maybe not making any real money for 10 to 15 years. This enjoyment makes it easier to perform the hard sessions you do not enjoy.
3. Sacrifice & Discipline
As we go through our teens and 20’s, our experience in life broadens, and we are given more responsibility in the choices we make. As an athlete, you have to turn away from what most of your friends will be doing and walk a different path from partying, drinking, and common socializing activities. One rower comes to mind who would wake up at 5 am every day to cycle 1 hour then row for another 2 hours.
He would then go and study medicine for a full 9 to 5, followed by another training session. His afternoons would be consist of studying or working at a local bar to pay for his rent. I was always impressed by this man’s discipline and commitment to his goals. He is now rowing in the senior Ireland heavyweight rowing squad aiming to be the first Heavyweight Irish squad in the next Olympics.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
4. Social Support
As a result, you must find social support and connection within your sports. Those with good friends in their training squads are much more likely to stay consistent. The support of family means that they can commit, get rides of mum and dad until they have a car, get a cooked meal straight after training. If you are not involved in sports it can be challenging for some people to understand an individual’s sacrifice and commitment so it is important to surround yourself with friends who do understand this.
5. Coach-Athlete Relationship
The coach-athlete relationship changes from individual to individual. It is important that communication is open and that the coach and athletes are fully aware of each person’s responsibilities. When you can see a good coach-athlete relationship you can see that they both share the same goal but the coach must manage and understand how to motivate the athlete through periods of adversity.
As a coach, we are motivated by an athlete who is committed and listens well, I am personally inspired by someone’s heart and kind personality. I would always go the extra mile if I felt the individual was a good and honest person.
An athlete needs to focus on turning up and getting the work done. If they have to then focus on what they will do at training, what they will eat, and how well they are progressing then stress and time spent on these things builds up.
When another coach or practitioner can take these things away from the athlete, then they are free to focus on their job and athletic development. The reduction in stress also improves the adaptation to training as the individual needs to be in a relaxed state to repair and grow.
7. Clear Long-term Goal
To avoid the immediate pleasure of eating badly, partying or just not doing an arduous training session, an individual needs to have a clear long-term goal in mind. This goal will allow them to consciously and unconsciously make the right decision when encountering a crossroads. They have to be committed to this goal as they will have to resist the temptation of many short-term pleasures along the way. This, in turn, allows you to create better habits.
Work-ethic is the quality of working hard and putting in the effort because you enjoy giving something 100% more than the success or failure of the event. This quality is essential in any athlete and would be a natural personality trait. Work-ethic combined with a natural affinity for an activity is the perfect combination.
“And where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working.” – Will Smith
9. Internal Motivation
Internal motivation is a drive which comes from within because you are doing the action for the internal reward (feeling proud, etc.) and for yourself. On the other hand, external motivation is when someone else is motivating you and you are doing the action for an external reward (money, etc.).
Internal motivation is more consistent and is better at overcoming adversity than someone who is motivated by external motivation. This is also important as an athlete may spend many years before he or she starts to make any money and other external rewards.
We can learn many qualities from the traits of successful athletes and transfer them into different areas of our life. Whether it be your business or your relationships, showing these qualities will ensure growth in all aspects of your life.