High Growth Mind-set

Posted on the 9 February 2017

High Growth Mind-set

On 7th February we had the privilege of hearing from performance coach and mentor Simon Hartley and his mentee, Olympian and Commonwealth champion swimmer, Chris Cook.

Two people who know what it takes to become world-class, they shared an inspirational insight into how we can all rise above the crowd by redefining the way we perceive what is possible and developing the strength of our character.

In truth, everyone has doubts about their performance and future success, even Olympians, but Simon and Chris revealed how becoming the very best often comes down to the way you react mentally to moments of uncertainty; do they kick-start a process of learning and development, or do you let them inhibit your performance and ambition.

Chris’ story is one of true inspiration. By his own admission he didn’t have the build of many other champion swimmers, but through clarity of purpose, a focus on making things simple and a deep understanding of why he was doing what he was, he was able to achieve his dream and hear the national anthem played for him on the biggest of sporting stages.

His mantra is “if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me”, something that drove him to transform his attitude, application and character. It led him to prioritise the five things that would make him better at ‘swimming two lengths of the pool’ and, as he faced many knock-backs and tests, he learnt how to adapt and grow rather than recoil.

Exceptional success doesn’t come from ordinary circumstance, and to become a double Gold medalist Chris had to develop the strength of character that would mean he made the right choices day in and out. 

Never opting for the easiest or most popular route, his open and positive mind-set allowed him to build the skills he needed and learn to treat the discovery of any cracks in his performance as new and exciting pieces of information that opened the door to future improvement; a huge psychological shift.

It’s always fascinating to hear successful sports men and women talk about their personal journey. Unlike entrepreneurs and business leaders, they’ve often achieved their dream at a much earlier stage of life and are able to look back and connect all the dots to see how their path was formed.

The parallels between business and sport are clear, and from listening to Chris it’s evident that having a long-term plan, trusting in it and continually reviewing his progress has helped him to achieve more than even his closest school friends ever expected.

Chris’ open mind-set, character and the person he has become in pursuit of his goals has been the key to him reaching the very top; something we can all learn from.