Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Physically Fit, Mentally Fit

Looking at the Mental Fitness Challenge from the eye of Olympic Gold

This morning I watched a video about Michael Phelps; the man who has the chance to become the most decorated Olympian in history.  He's just three medals shy of this accomplishment.  His accomplishment hasn't been without a price.

In the Slight Edge, Olson writes, "Success is not a random accident."  Phelps' life is a testament to this very statement.  Currently 26 years old, Phelps has been in Olympic training for 16 years.  Of that time, he went 6 straight years without missing a single day of training.  That's 2,190 days straight of being up in the dark and arriving at the pool at 6:30am and staying there for the day.  In the video he said he has visited so many fantastic places during his career as a swimmer and yet, he hasn't seen a single one of them outside the pool and his hotel room.  16 years.  Swimming.  Dedicated.  16 Olympic medals.

"Success is not random." Michael Phelps has paid a great price to achieve what few people will ever achieve.  In the 116 years of modern Olympic history the standings are 20 individuals have earned 10 medals or more.  Just 20 people have achieved 10, and yet Phelps stands at 16 with a chance to be the most decorated Olympian ever.  2,190 days straight.  16 years of training.  Sun up to sun down.

"No success is immediate," writes Olson.  Phelps has spent years of his life to achieve what he has.  He wasn't a medalist at 10 years old, not at 11 or 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 or 16 or 17.....but when he turned 18, he won 2 bronze medals and 6 gold at the Athens Olympics.  And then in Beijing in 2008, at the age of 22, he won 8 gold medals!  The most gold medals every awarded in a single Olympics.  "No success is immediate."  Day after day after day, training for 8 short races.  16 years.  Hard work. 

The power of Phelps' victorious swimming career is the power of the Slight Edge: "The power of daily actions compounded over time."  Michael Phelps used this principle to become one of the most physically fit, most decorated and most successful athletes of the last 100 years. 

If the Slight Edge worked for Phelps with his physical goals, couldn't it work for you and me and our mental goals?  That's exactly what the Mental Fitness Challenge is all about, using small actions, repeatedly over time to achieve an extraordinary result in your life and my life not just in one day, but over time. 

When taking the Challenge there are a few practices that need to be repeated daily:
1. Review Your Goal
2. Take Action Toward Your Goal
3. Listen to 2 Cds
4. Read 15 minutes a day
5. Watch the MFC video
6. Grade Your Performance

Did you read sun up to sun down training?  In a pool?  Swimming lap after lap after lap?  Or lifting weights or strict dietary guidelines?  No!  Just take 6 easy to do steps daily for you mental fitness.  WOW.  What a program.  It's so easy to do, but easy not to do too.

That's the the whole point of Woodward and Brady's Mental Fitness Challenge.  Small incremental steps done over time to create the Life YOU'VE Always Wanted!   Easy to do, easy not to do. 

Isn't the chance to live the life you've always wanted worth some focus and discipline?  We're not talking duplicating the physical endurance and abilities of Michael Phelps, abilities most of us don't have.  But what the challenge is about is no less important!  In fact, in your life and in my life, it's more important!  By training mentally, something everyone can do, stacking up daily disciplines, in the same manner any winner does, you can begin to compound efforts over time by creating successful habits in your life to achieve whatever it is that you and I set our minds to doing.    6 steps.  Every day.  Read, listen, watch.  Set goals. Check your goals,  Take the challenge. 

I imagine swimming lap after lap in a pool over years can get lonely.  Sure there are other swimmers in the water, but none of them can share in his laps with him:  Michael Phelps swims alone.  The Mental Fitness Challenge is different.  In this challenge, there are daily disciplines no one can do with you, yes that's true, but built into the Mental Fitness Challenge is a group of people who are going to go the distance with you.  This group is called a Challenge Group.  

A Challenge Group is an opportunity for you to gather with like minded individuals twice per month to share, discuss and learn together.  What a brilliant concept!  Creating success habits for myself, but not by myself.  Challenge groups are going to take our mental fitness to the next level.  

It comes down to one thing,  "Success is not a random accident."  Michael Phelps has achieved greatness because he put in the daily disciplines to do so over years of time.  It's no different for you and me.  Daily disciplines over time will compound into success.

Take the Challenge.  Become mentally fit.  Achieve your own gold medal in life and 
Live the life you've always wanted. 


  1. Marc,
    I can really relate to this analogy you posted. I would like to share a small part of my husband’s story focusing only on Hockey so you can see the parables. Tim started his serious training when he was 14 years old. Ending his High School career he had 24 full ride scholarships in Baseball, Wrestling and Hockey. He also pursued the UFC for 7 years. Once accepted into the semi- pro Hockey world he began training camp and for 3 consecutive months he trained from 4:30am to 9:00pm. Once training camp ended he trained 6 days a week for 5 to 6 hours daily. Three years into his Hockey career he received notice that he had a seat on the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. This was followed by more dedicated and intense training, after the Olympics he was going to be groomed to play Pro as he was already being pursued by Professional Teams. Then the unthinkable happened at the start of his 4th year and the year of the 1984 Olympics he was injured. This destroyed his life since he dedicated everything he knew to training to be the best he could be. Once injured everything had been taken away his scholarships and the money he could’ve made at the pro level to set him up financially for life. Since this is in his blood he didn’t give up and started playing semi pro softball which he continues to play today. Listening to our Cd’s and reading our books has changed him from just a player to a leader on his teams. So how do I compare this to our MFC challenge? Tim focused so much of his life training for a sports career that ended in seconds, destroyed everything he knew and changed his life forever. Now the MFC challenge is here and he can focus on being the best he can be again, this time it will not be taken away. He can focus on a MENTAL change and not a PHYSICAL change that will last forever. We now can take steps towards LIVING THE LIFE WE’VE ALWAYS WANTED!!!!!

    1. Dee,
      That is an amazing story! Tim certainly is a leader, and we are truly blessed to watch his and your journey to live the life you have always wanted. Glad that God, in His great plan, allowed us to cross paths!!

    2. Dee,
      Thanks for sharing! Tim and I've talked about his athletics-filled past, but it's so easy to forget the details of these conversations over time. It's awesome to have to two of you on the LIFE TEAM where you are able to hone your mental capacity to become the champions you've always been destined to become, in an area of much greater significance than any other arena! Proud of both of you!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. It really helps put the right things into focus! Let's live the LIFE =)

  3. Great post, Marc! I love Phelps' story and all that we can learn from his journey to achieve his goals! Great reminders that success doesn't come fast or easy...but glad we have a process that will help others!

  4. I love your article, Marc. Not just because it's so well written, but because it reminds me that excellence in anything takes time, hard work, sacrifice and tenacity! I cringe when I hear very capable talented people put a time limit on their success. It's sad that so many stop short of success, just because of unrealistic expectations about how long it would take or how much work it would require. I'm thankful for the people in my life who remind me how "worth it" it is to stay on the journey.

  5. Great article Marc! Relating the Slight Edge to the endurance and commitment of what may be the most decorated Olympian is inspiring and thought provoking. I've already discussed your perspective with all three of my boys and will have them read it themselves as an example of what it takes to be a champion! - Mike

  6. Great golden nuggets for SUCCESS! Real-life examples applying principles that WORK. True success in any endeavor is not easy but it is WORTH IT!! Thank you for the inspiring article!!!

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  8. Great perspective on the Mental Fitness Challenge! Marc you really hit the nail on the head here!
    Couldn't we all use the tools to get mentally fit along? With dedication, passion and purpose we will all get there!
    It is true that "Success is not a random accident" and consists of getting up just one more time than we fall!!


  9. Marc,
    your example in this blog is amazing. The Mental Fitness Challenge has been amazing for so many areas of my life. I appreciate the comparison of what Phelps did for hitting his goals, it helps me realize the MFC is helping me develop that same discipline.


  10. I love this story. Just another great reminder that it is the things we do everyday that give us the results down the road. Thanks for the great perspective!