How to focus like an Olympian

Athletes and in particular Olympians, focus on getting the right preparation to get the Gold medal. They focus on the goal of feeling the pleasant weight of the gold on their chest and that’s it. This article gives a method of how to focus on the result and how to avoid searching solutions that will never be needed.

Alan Campbell

Alan Cambell – Bronze at London 2012 and motivational speaker

Alan Cambell is a British Olympian Sculler.¬† When he’s not rowing he does motivational speeches which I have had the pleasure of listening to. He explained the efforts, the work, the dedication and the passion needed to get an Olympic medal, and that alone gave me a lot of energy and motivation. And then he revealed that just a couple of months before the Olympics he had a terrible¬†leg injury, which required a surgery after which Alan had to learn walking again. I felt depressed. That would have killed my dream, but not his. He explained how together with his coach, doctors and family they have created a training program in the swimming pool before Alan could even walk again. No wasted energy, all efforts concentrated on the Olympic medal while adapting to the new conditions, with focus, huge family support and great determination. The result? A bronze medal! I was so impressed and so energized!

The moral of the story

Don’t waste much time in preparing for potential issues, you cannot control all the possibilities and the world has more imagination than we all have. Focus 99% of your energies and time on the goal, 1% in strategic planning and adapt when issues arise.

The methodology

[shareable text=”#Plan for the best, work for the #goal, #adapt to issues. #createtimeforwhatisimportant”]Plan for the best, work for the goal, adapt to issues.[/shareable]

While working on a project

  • On the first day, select the 3 most probable problems that might arise
  • Then revisit daily if your current 3 problems are still the most probable
  • Dedicate a maximum of 10 minutes per new problem, figure out a high level solution and document it but don’t implement it yet. Examples of high level solutions
    • mitigate the risk. Do something to reduce the risk probability or its impact
    • accept the risk. Do nothing and accept it as a business risk
    • pass it through to someone else. Have someone else to manage the risk. The classic example is to take an insurance
  • If the mitigation or passing through requires a preventive action, then do it now. For example:
    • Take insurance
    • Agree with the customer of a contract change to share the risk (e.g. Disaster Recovery solutions)
  • When one of your top three problems goes away, erase it from the list and promote another problem to your top three list
    • Risk of non payment disappears as soon as you are paid
  • When the problem occurs, deal with it until solved or mitigated
    • If it’s one of your 3 problems then you have a plan
    • If it’s not, then you need to adapt. I recommend you to:
      • Communicate the issue immediately, internally (your team and company) and externally (the customer/partners). People will help and they might have solutions you have not thought about.
      • Define a high level solution and communicate it to everyone involved
      • Discuss and agree on how to execute the solutions with the customer and internally
      • Execute the solution
      • Repeat, if needed, or relax
  • Focus your energies on your fantastic product and your clients, rather than wasting time solving theoretical problems.
    • More real stuff delivered equals happier customers equals customer more ready to help with the next issue


Not valid for medical and other industries that can result in human losses

The question

[reminder]Did you feel better after focusing on success?[/reminder]


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