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What Michael Phelps Teaches About Preparation

Michael Phelps amazing performance in the London Olympics will be discussed generously in the upcoming months, and discussed certainly in the upcoming years. There are reasons that champions become champions and those of us in leadership positions can learn from the intelligence, foresight, and dedication of people like Michael Phelps. Take for example his performance in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics and consider how you handle risks and potential issues: …there is a very applicable lesson about preparation that leaders can learn from Phelps. If you’re a regular Olympics watcher, you probably remember that Phelps won one of his medals in Beijing in 2008 while swimming with his goggles full of water. He couldn’t see a thing and still won gold. After that race, Phelps said that while he had never competed before with water in his goggles, he had practiced that way. In an interview with NBC in London this week, Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, said he made sure his guy had the water in the goggles experience to be prepared for that scenario in Olympic competition. What’s the lesson? You can’t be ready for complications to happen unless you plan and practice those complications. The plan you have can go out the window as soon as something goes wrong, but champions know that they have to plan for the unplanned – they must be prepared for what can go wrong and build a process of working through even them most unfavorable of conditions.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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