“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J. K. Rowling

When I worked as a coach and physiologist with Olympic-level athletes, I was known sometimes as Dr. Blood. I would often take blood measurements during very hard training sessions to see how their bodies were responding. So I got to see athletes really pushing themselves to their absolute limits.

In one memorable moment, I was working with an athlete at a training camp. We were in the middle of a set and I yelled, “C’mon pick it up, let’s go!!!” He stopped, looked at me, and with venom in his voice replied, “I know how to push myself!” He went on to do a great training set, and we didn’t say much after that. We just did our jobs – and the workout was awesome. He didn't need external motivation; his internal drive was already powerful enough to get to the podium.

This moment highlights a key aspect of motivation. Successful athletes are powerfully motivated intrinsically (within the body and mind). They want to reach their potential because that’s what they love doing. They are not motivated extrinsically by anything outside themselves, such as me yelling. I’d forgotten that. According to sport psychology research, extrinsic motivation works well in the short term but not so well over time. Intrinsic motivation is a more powerful motivator for people over both the short and long term.

I want you to think about your intrinsic motivation. This program is all about helping you to improve your performance. Sometimes things will get tough and you will regress or get off track. But if you’re aware of your “why” – why you are working hard to improve – you will recover very quickly. 

Why do you want to get a best time? Why do you want to win more games? Why do you want to make a provincial or national team? If you focus on what drives you from the inside, you will find it a lot easier to implement the new skills, knowledge and techniques that will help you achieve your dreams.

Today's POWER-UP: The 5 Why's

I'd like you to build on the dream and goal setting that we did in the last session.

You can use the Start with Why section of The Dream Setting Workbook. Or you can fill out the form below to send me your notes. This will help us to give you some tips and feedback on how you're doing.

Then I'd like you to dive into your work a bit deeper. Take a look at your dreams and goals and then ask yourself why? Why do you want to achieve those things? Then ask again. Go deeper. Get to the root of why you want what you want. For example, when I was in high school I wanted to make the Olympics in swimming. But at the deepest level I loved to be in the water. Annalise Carr swam across Lake Ontario at 13 years of age, and at the deepest level that was to raise money for a cancer camp.

If you can find the deep reasons why you do things you will be absolutely unstoppable.

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Consider your dreams and goals for a moment. Really bring them to life in your mind. Then ask yourself “WHY?” 5 times in a row. That helps you to get deep quickly on what your real motivations are.