Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning 21 Olympic gold medals (and counting!) and holding three world records. He has been at the top of his career over and over and over again, and is now in Rio for his 5th consecutive Olympics. Although Phelps makes it looks easy, it can be hard moving forward in your career once you’ve reached what seems like the top. Follow these tips, inspired by the popular Olympian, to continue pushing yourself in your career:
1. Regularly Set New Goals
When announcing his move out of retirement in 2013, Phelps started training for a new goal: to qualify for the 2016 Olympics team. If a 5-time champ can change his mind, you can too! Regularly re-visit your goals and evaluate their effectiveness. Are you pushing yourself enough? Can you do more? Are you still passionate about these endeavors? Don’t be afraid to re-calibrate and change course!
2. Compete Constantly
Phelps trains with some of the best swimmers in the US to help him become better. The same philosophy should apply to your career! If you’re the smartest person in the room, that’s a PROBLEM. You can’t grow and get better if you aren’t challenged by people with different perspectives, experiences and skills. Surround yourself with intelligent, thoughtful people to ensure you keep growing.
3. Train Harder
This summer, Phelps was in the gym almost everyday training, swimming, and even changing his diet. He is considered one of the best swimmers of all time and yet is STILL pushing himself to achieve more. Be like Phelps: train hard every day to stay at the top of your career. You'll become stagnant if you don't constantly push yourself to learn more. Although it might not lead to a gold medal, you'll continuously be an influential expert in your industry.
4. Try Something New
For the Rio Olympics, Phelps started using technology to monitor his sleep for better performance. We’re not suggesting you get a sleep machine… but why not try something new? Take a training class, pick up a new hobby, listen to webinars… start swimming! Do whatever interests you! It’s going to make you a more interesting person to talk to and a more well-rounded professional.
5. Coach Coach Coach
After the Olympics, Phelps plans to help his current coach, Bob Bowman, train swim students at Arizona State University. This is the EASIEST step (and probably most rewarding): share your knowledge and be a mentor!