Building Confidence and a Champion Mindset

Next Level Leadership

Building Confidence and a Champion Mindset

Like many of you, I have been glued to the TV these past few weeks watching the Olympic games in Rio. In particular, I enjoy watching swimming, women’s gymnastics and of course watching Lindsay Whalen win her second gold medal, but all of the athletes are amazing in their own right and all of them have incredible lessons to teach us.

If you take a look at the Olympics from a business leadership perspective, we can really learn a lot about resiliency and dedication from the athletes. They have mastered confidence and their champion mindsets, both in their “business” and their personal lives.

Take a look at women’s gymnastics; Aly Raisman came back from the 2012 Olympics in London where she narrowly missed out from winning the bronze medal. It takes so much resiliency, positivity, and commitment to bounce back after that. Instead of giving up, she went back to the gym and trained and prepared for four years to come back and win the silver medal this year. There was so much pressure and anxiety for her to perform well and she delivered under those circumstances. All of her hard-work, loyalty, and persistence paid off when she won that medal. Think about when you’ve had something that just didn’t go your way, something you maybe failed at, something you took a risk on that didn’t work out. Having a champion mindset means not letting a set back stop you from achieving your goals regardless of the obstacles.

Simone Biles is another example of someone who has a champion mindset. Simone is 4’8” and is the best gymnast in the world. She has amazing confidence, her game face is on, and she is prepared. Every time she steps up to perform and compete, you can see that mindset of determination and resolve on her face. And it has paid off. She won four gold medals and one bronze from the Rio Olympics.

Think about Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time. Phelps got second in the 2012 Olympics in the 200 fly and he came back to win the gold this time around in Rio. He went in with that champion mindset, with all of his training and hard-work from the past four years behind him, and performed with confidence to win back the gold in that event.

Mo Farah of Great Britain was competing in the 10,000-meter race and fell on the track during the race. Do you think he let that stop him? Farah got right back up and went on to win the gold in his race. That is a champion mindset! If you fail during a race, stumble during a presentation or interview, do you give up? Or do you collect yourself, dust yourself off, and finish the interview or presentation? Farah proved he could finish with resolve!

From watching the Olympics, these two steps are clearly paramount in building confidence and your champion mindset:


There is nothing more important than preparation. Practice, practice, and then practice some more. These athletes train 8-10 hours a day, year in and year out, and are committed to their goals and their sport. Whatever your trade or skill set you’re building, whether you’re practicing for a presentation, public speaking, or interviewing, you need to practice! Be prepared no matter what you’re doing. To have confidence in what you’re doing, you absolutely must be prepared.

2) Develop a Routine

These athletes have a routine before every practice, every event, every game. They know how to win on such a high level because they are extremely prepared and have their own routines they do consistently. As professionals, we need to have our routines before a meeting, a presentation, an interview, etc. Be consistent with this routine! Maybe you arrive early, you meet people and say hello, you have your water and notebook laid out and ready to go. When you have that routine set, it will help you set aside any fear and will build your confidence resulting in a champion mindset.

In addition to being prepared and developing a routine, to develop a champion mindset, never ever give up! Whether you bomb a public speaking event, you don’t get that recruit, you lose a game, you lose a job, lose an interview, didn’t get that client, whatever you’re doing, never give up! Whatever happens, take that situation and use it to make you better and more resilient. The only way we can get better is to take risks and chances. You’re going to make mistakes, but that is how we learn, from our mistakes. Taking chances and risks will help you develop that champion mindset.

There are so many factors that try to stop us, what other people say, what they think, what they perceive about you, but to develop a champion mindset, don’t let anybody or anything stop you from doing what you set your mind and heart to. These Olympic athletes are taking risks and chances every time they step onto the field, into the pool, onto the mat, and nothing has ever stopped them.

What we can learn from the 2016 Olympics is there is something inside of all of us, that we can do more than we think we can, mentally and physically, you just need to challenge yourself, be confident, and utilize your champion mindset.