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Success Secrets of a Three-Time Olympian

What would your life be like if failure was not an option? Would
you like to perform at your peak more often? What would you do
if you knew you could not fail?

Four years after making a decision to begin training for the
Olympics, I realized my dream. I competed in the 1988 Calgary
Winter Olympics in the luge. I went on to compete in the 1992
Albertville Olympics and I just competed in the 2002 Salt Lake
City Olympics at the age of 39.

How does someone who did not even take up the sport of luge
until he was 21 become a Three-Time Olympian? As I tell
thousands of people in my speeches, Iím not a big shot. Iím just
a little shot that keeps on shooting. Iím proof that ordinary
people can aspire to achieve extraordinary things if they will
just follow a few simple steps.

Step 1: Choose a goal

What changes would you like to make in your life that excite you
just by thinking about them? What would you love to do? Where do
you want to be 10 years from now? What is your dream?

Ever since I was in the third grade I wanted to be an Olympic
Athlete. I respected the Olympians because they were an example
of what I believed in - they are willing to commit to a goal,
willing to risk adversity in the pursuit of it, willing to fail
and at the same time keep trying until they succeeded. But it
was not until I was in college and saw Scott Hamilton compete in
the Sarajevo games that I actually made the decision to train
for the Olympics.

Just thinking about your goal is not enough. If you want to
reach your goal, you need to make it real - write it down! Donít
worry how you will make your dream come true at first. Magic
happens when you put your goals down on paper. Writing it down
is the first step in turning a dream you might achieve into a
goal you will achieve.

In 1960, Harvard Business School did a study of their graduates
20 years after they had graduated. They found the top 3%
moneymakers made as much money as the other 97% put together.
The only difference between the two groups was the top 3% had
always written and regularly read their goals. As a result,
everything they did on a day-to-day basis was focused on
reaching their goals.

When Tiger Woods was a young boy, he wrote down on a 3x5 card
that he intended to break all of Jack Nicklausí records. Tiger
read his card every night. Jack Nicklaus agrees that Tiger was on
track to make it happen.

Write your goals down on a 3x5 card. Write them in the present
tense along with a completion date. On the other side of your
card write at least three reasons why you will do it. The more
reasons the more you increase your belief.

Read your card first thing in the morning EVERY DAY to stay
focused on the objective. Then read your card EVERY NIGHT before
turning out the lights so your subconscious mind can work all
night on ways to make it happen.

Step 2: See yourself succeeding at your goal.

Several times a day close your eyes and for a couple of minutes
vividly imagine what itís going to feel like when you achieve
your goal. Really get into it. Feel it as if it were really
happening Ė right now! Whatís it going to look like? Whatís it
going sound like? Whatís it going to feel like when you finally
make your dream come true?

Get excited! Your subconscious does not know the difference
between imagining it and it really happening. By doing this, you
become passionate about your desire, your belief becomes
unshakeable and you become unstoppable.

I constantly imagined what it was going to be like when I walked
into the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremonies. I imagined
it in great detail. I could see the crowds waving at me. I could
see the flags and the balloons. I could hear the roar of the
crowd, the fireworks, the Olympic Hymn. I could feel the cold
wind blowing snow onto my cheeks. I could feel the tears of joy
streaming down my face. I could feel the goose bumps running up
my back and over my shoulders. I thought about it all the time,
while jogging, while lifting weights, even in the shower. It was
my dream - but it became my goal! And when I finally entered the
Olympic arena, it was just the same -only 100 times better.

Seeing yourself succeeding is an important step because
imagining yourself succeeding will keep you from quitting when
the going gets tough.

Step 3: Choose a quality that will help you reach your goal.

Have you ever looked at someone and wished you could be like
them? Everyone has at one time or another. The good news is that
if you notice a quality in someone else, you have some of that
quality in yourself. You just need to develop it further. "It
takes one to know one". Any quality you admire in someone else
is a quality you have Ė you just need to practice it!

So step number three in reaching your goal is to choose the main
quality you think you will need to reach your goal. Is it
Boldness? Creativity? Enthusiasm? Patience? Leadership?

In my case it was Perseverance. To get good at the luge, I knew
I was going to have to endure many crashes and injuries and
simply refuse to give up. So I made a decision to become
perseverant. To never quit. Someone has said, "The main
difference between a success and a failure is that the success
tried one more time." I decided to persevere in trying one more

Step 4: Create a new habit that will help you achieve your goal.

Good habits usually donít just happen. You need to develop a
specific plan for creating a new habit. Itís simply a matter of
choosing an action that helps develop your quality, deciding
when to practice that habit, knowing that you are going to have
to repeat it many times and then give yourself a reminder.

Since perseverance was the most important quality I needed to
have to reach my goal, I needed to find ways to develop my
perseverance. I had to get good at "not quitting". So I decided
to become an expert on perseverance. I read books about people
who had faced great challenges and refused to give up. I got
inspired that if they could Ė I could!

I made a decision that no matter how bad a crash I had, I would
get back on the sled. I had a picture of a luge athlete riding a
sled. I used that picture to remind me to get back on my sled.

My action step, my habit, was going to be getting back on the
sled, after every crash, no matter what. I practiced getting on
my sled more than most. I did it when I didnít want to. I did it
when it hurt. This was the habit I was going to develop.

Sometimes, after a painful crash, Iíd have to work at it. I
would have to walk up and down the track for a long time telling
reminding myself things like "Iím a winner. Iím going to the
Olympics. I never quit. Iím getting back on the sled. When the
going gets tough, the tough get going. No matter how bad it
gets, Iím going to make it if I donít quit! I never give up!" I
thought of that picture of the Olympian on a luge sled.
Eventually, I'd get to the point where I could walk up to the
coach and say "Coach, Iím ready to get back on the sled."

And it worked! On the road to the Olympics, many athletes much
faster than me, much more talented than me, chose to quit along
the way. How do you think they felt when they watched the
Olympics on TV? The price of getting your dream is big but the
pain of regret is hundreds of times bigger.

Create a habit, something you do every day, to develop that
quality you need to reach your goal.

You can do it. No matter what your dream is, you can make it
happen if you follow these four simple steps: 1) Choose a goal,
2) see yourself succeeding, 3) choose a quality, and 4) create a
habit to develop your quality. Commit to these four steps.

The difference between people is there are those who are
interested and there are those who are committed. A key to
success in life is going from being just interested to being
fully committed. Once you are committed you will produce
results. At the point of commitment, you mentally "burn all the
bridges" and you do whatever it takes to make it happen. THATíS
when you become unstoppable!

Commit to these four steps and you too will make your dreams
come true!

About the Author: Ruben Gonzalez is the author of the critically acclaimed book,
ďThe Courage to Succeed.Ē His experiences as a three-time
Olympian, businessman, and professional keynote speaker give him
a unique perspective on how to conquer the corporate struggles
of today. For his free 10-Part Success eCourse, visit or contact him at

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