Olympian Mindset for Entrepreneurs

What is the most common attribute between athletes and entrepreneurs is that everyday grind for years till we able to see the fruits of our labor. On that long journey towards dream the pavement is engraved with many more failures than successes.

This year I was working with an amazing shot putter. She had an incredible training before the European Championships. However, in the Championship her performance result was much much less than in training. After competition she lost her motivation to train. And after a month when she returned to train she decided to completely switch her technique.

How do you think, what is wrong here?

You see she lost a month on all the sorrow, negative feelings, she could not enjoy her time off and could not properly rest. Also, after she decided to fix the problem that was not the main problem. It was not an inadequate technique that failed her at the Championship, but her ability to compete under pressure…

When we fail or to be exact when we don’t reach the expected results, what happens in our head? The most times we hear the voices telling us: “everything happened because I was misinformed”, “it is definitely my partner’s responsibility and it’s his fault in our failure”, “what others will think now about you?”, “nobody will want to work with you anymore”, “what a shame”, “I disappointed and let my family down”, “actually, I don’t have a clue what you are doing”, “it seems I will never reach your dream”, “just give up!”

Have you had these thoughts?

After these thoughts come very heavy feelings – loss of motivation, confidence. And in consequence we act on emotion that finds quick solutions – the most often not the correct ones. We lash out at people or opposite – disappear to drown ourselves in sorrow. After we take rushed decisions that lead us into more trouble. Like that shot putter who jumped into learning a new technique instead of learning how to compete.

Actually, just a week ago I had a major setback with my new project. My ego was bruised and I had to work with myself so I would not go into defensive, self-pity and reactive mode with rushed decisions.   

With training our mind we can make much much easier for ourselves to reach our goals faster and the most importantly to enjoy the journey!

However to do that we have to go against our instincts. We have to literally recode our responses and that takes a systematic training.

This summer my favorite shot putter competed again in the major Championship and this time after our work together she came from the competition with a big smile! She said: “I cannot believe that after the competition I don’t want to cry!”

JW ietis

Recovering from failures fast is one of the skills that required to master in developing the Olympic mindset.

So what is the Olympic mindset and how to develop it?

First of all, what does the word “mindset” mean?

Mindset is the established set of attitudes, habits on how we respond to situations. All of us have established some kind of mindset towards ourselves and life.

However is it an Olympic mindset?

Let’s check!

Olympic mindset is:

  • The desire to discover own limitations.
  • High levels of frustration tolerance.
  • High ability to transfer your energy (physical, mental, emotional) into the positive energy and towards the performance targets.
  • Wants to try again and again until success is reached.
  • Optimal level of self-confidence (Not too much and not too little)
  • Optimal short-term and long-term goals (not too big and not too small)
  • No fear making mistakes. Knows that will make mistakes for sure and that’s ok! Mistakes are learning tools, not self-punishing tools.
  • No fear making decisions, takes responsibility and accountability for the actions
  • High-level enjoyment of learning. Enjoyment is at the fingertips.
  • Knows that there is always a better way.
  • Ability to determine what is the most important, what is the root of the problem.
  • All expectations are set on performance and not on the results.
  • Knows that at all times his/her thoughts, feelings and actions influences all people around positively or negatively at all times. The neutral does not exist.
  • Time is needed to grow, mature and achieve great things.
  • Everything, however stable, can collapse. Anticipates disorder. It is important to do things they already know, but in a different way.

Olympic mindset does not mean winning every time or always being the champion.

The goal is to give an effective performance at the full capacity towards set goals under pressure, in the unexpected situation and enjoy it!

The key is to focus on quality, flexibility, seeing many options and never get stuck with your emotions, thoughts and actions.

The path getting to the Olympic mindset is to learn:

  • how performing now
  • how to perform well
  • how to perform well under hard conditions
  • how to perform well under unexpected conditions

There is a difference between knowing how to do something and knowing how to do something under stress.

To develop Olympic mindset is to develop the proper combination of thoughts and emotions. Our way of Thinking – feeling – acting always affects our confidence level, anxiety and satisfaction. Our body reactions and feelings learned to react based on our past events. They are NOT going to change on their own, if we will continue repeating our internal and external behaviors.

JW Brain training

To change our state we have to be willing to rewire, recode ourselves!

Our performance is quality of our thoughts, emotions and actions. Our thoughts, emotions and actions are NEVER NEUTRAL. At any moment of time they are building us stronger or making us weaker. To re-code ourselves to be stronger is by redirecting our FOCUS & ATTENTION.


BE AWARE OF (say out loud or write it down – avoid keeping in your head):

  • Your emotions. Emotion is the result of a subjective measurement (or assessment) of the organism’s possibility or probability of survival in a given situation or faced with certain stimuli.
    • How accepting are you your emotions? Open? Ignoring? Blocking? Embracing? Being afraid of them? What level are you from 1 to 7 (check your level here)?
    • What volume your emotions are? Create a button to regulate the thermostat of your emotions.
  • Your thoughts. Always check for stagnating or posing ceilings concepts. For example: feelings of depression are based on the thoughts about the past, anxiety – are thoughts about the future. In these cases you have to redirect your thoughts into the present. Also, the leaders who cannot clear their mind: their attention is turned inward, which totally or partially prevents contact and normal development with the immediate surrounding. These situations occur after negative outcomes, unexpected news or abrupt changes.  I have to note that we should also avoid overthinking. You can see how to get rid of the stagnating thoughts hereJW Attention
  • Your actions. What are you doing? On what are you focused now? What is distracting you?
  • Your energy levels. What kills you? What ignites you? How much energy do you have now? Do I need to rest or I have enough energy for my next activity to produce a quality performance. The key is to avoid ego-depletion.


  • Goals. Systematic learning. What are you trying to learn? What are you learning now? What is important for you to learn? What mistakes are you keep repeating that are slowing down the effectiveness? Setting the short-term together with long-term goals and appropriate actions to reach those goals.screen-shot-2017-10-04-at-10-55-11-pmscreen-shot-2017-10-05-at-12-47-14-pm
    • Anticipate and preparation for disasters. Make a list of what can go wrong. Next to every point write what would be the best your reaction. Visualize the disastrous situation and in the mind exercise the wanted reaction.
    • Don’t run from complexity. Seek it! Train your brain not to jump straight to solutions, to simplify things too soon. Strengthen your mind by always having at least 2 contrasting ideas. For example: chaos & order, rules & freedom, performance & result, success & failure.
  • Enjoyment! Exercise enjoyment at all times! Enjoying means growing, feeling more capable, not suffering daily stress loads and having open communication channels to resolve conflicts. Enjoyment is also the main fuel for us. Make yourself to look up and smile 🙂

BE AWARE of your emotions, thought, actions, energy AND REDIRECT towards goals and enjoyment! 

So, how to use this framework, when crazy things happen to us?


  • Emotions: sad, upset, want to cry
  • Thoughts: “Uhhh what a failure” “what a shame” “Maybe I’m not able to do this?”
  • Actions: I don’t want to talk to anybody, my head is down
  • Energy: low, feeling tired
  • Enjoyment: no


  • What is your goal? – “The market and how to sell”
    • Learning from the mistake: “expectations became set on results, instead of performance. Also, because of the bigger project, I created too “dramatic” definitions. Exaggerated the situation.” Next time action: “Does not matter or Olympics or your city competition it is same competition. It does not matter what business you have to go through 24 steps”
    • Complexity: focused too much on fear than on the amazing possibility that I am creating my dream. Wanted big results too soon.
  • Enjoyment:
    • Emotions: excitement, feeling inspired
    • Thoughts: “I learned so much! Now will be able to proceed with better precision! Yeeeee let’s go!”
    • Actions: need a bit of the rest before I will start again!
    • Energy: feeling a bit depleted, need more!
    • Enjoyment: YES! 🙂

The amazing thing is that it’s a never ending process!!!

No one knows what we are capable of. No one reached the limits of human abilities. The records are broken every year! We make so many mistakes. Which is a good thing. Mistakes let us create and creations let as advance our abilities.



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