By: Martin Grunburg
Fortunately, I missed the MTV Video Awards show last night. That’s right, I said, fortunately. Unfortunately, though, I missed Michael Phelps’ big reveal about the inspiration behind the #PhelpsFace.
After a couple of Olympics posts (I, II), I promised I’d come back to Phelps.
Perhaps you were lucky enough to witness the high-Olympic drama live.
It’s impossible to recreate the tension of the moment; however, this is how the scene unfolded [see the embedded tweet below], compliments of NBC Olympic coverage.
Michael Phelps is about to swim the 200 Butterfly semi-final against South African swimmer Chad Le Clos.
Le Clos narrowly beat Phelps for a gold medal in the same event at the 2012 Olympics in London.
So, as you might imagine, this is where the party starts: As the two wait in the warm-up area prior to the semifinal heat, Le Clos starts to shadow-box — trying to stay loose, but really, more than anything, it appears he’s trying pretty hard to get in Phelps’ head, dancing well within Phelps’ personal space.
Phelps’ stare down of Chad Le Clos is much better with the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song: https://t.co/Bpy94Wbb3c https://t.co/q12NPhnP4r
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 9, 2016
A recipe for disaster?
Not if you’re the all-time most-decorated Olympian in history (the seasoned pro would have none of it). Rather, it was a perfect example of how we mortals can similarly use pressure, even in the most intense moments, as added motivation and channel it positively. Think: “Chip on the Shoulder.”
Here’s where it gets a little weird.
Ever since this happened, I can’t shake the #PhelpsFace image. In fact, I’m not even sure I want to.
Whether it’s a long day at the office or I’m late into a long-distance run, the #PhelpsFace is what keeps me going when I’ve run out of gas.
I’ve now personally used the #PhelpsFace (the vision) as a trigger (link) — a way to dig deep — to find that 6th, 7th, or maybe even 8th wind (link) I didn’t know existed.
So, for your consideration, here are 10 great reminders of what it takes to achieve a peak performance and ways that the #phelpsface will make your life better ; )
1) Chip on the Shoulder: Everyone needs an edge. The underdog. The ol’ chip on the shoulder. Oprah Winfrey had it after being fired. Lamborghini had it after Ferrari told him to stick to tractors! The list is endless. Even though Phelps had 19 Gold Medals at the time, few knew what to expect as he headed into this race.
Here’s some further color commentary from Gary Vee on the immeasurable benefits of being an immigrant– having that edge.
2) Focus: A great reminder of what it means to bring focus and intensity to a big moment. One look at that face, and there is no denying Phelps’ intensity and focus.
3) Concentration. Energy is precious. It is most useful when it is concentrated first, then directed (focused). While Le Clos is dancing around like Muhammad Ali, Phelps is concentrating his energy.
4) Preparation: 20+ years of preparation. For the Rio Olympics Phelps said he was more prepared than any other games.
5) Goal Setting: One of the great benefits of goal-setting is that it helps people to unlock their unlimited potential. What better example of the power of goal-setting than that image — #PhelpsFace determined to achieve his goals.
6) Practice: Practice. Practice. Great performance without an intense level of practice can’t happen. This Under Armour Commercial helps to remind us where the real gold is found — outside the spotlight.
7) Loose and Relaxed: He might have been intense while waiting, but Phelps always remains loose and relaxed (seemingly “comfortable”). Phelps starts every race with a little stretch and a #PhelpsFlap.
7a) More Hip Hop? What’s helping to keep Phelps and so many Olympians loose and relaxed? This was the song he shared that he was listening to while making that famous face: (Stick Talk by Future.)
8) Embrace the Competition: Having barely lost to the younger swimmer in 2012, Phelps was eager to respond!
9) The Comeback Kid! Fall down seven times, stand up 8 (or something like that goes a Japanese proverb). Post-2012 Olympics, Phelps temporarily retired and was seemingly “lost” and in a “dark place” he told Bob Costas. A couple of DUIs and one bong photo later, and you have a great reminder that it isn’t about where you are, but where you are headed!
10) The Power of Habit. Technically, I really mean The FORCE of habit. What a great reminder about how it is HABIT that is the great driver, the force-multiplier, that has not only forged Phelps’ discipline, but his character.
Habit is the force that drives all goal-achievement and there may never be a better example of a man aligning his habits to his goals than Michael Phelps.
So the next time you are struggling, have a big performance, or just need to dig deep and find that extra inspiration, do what I do: Recall the #PhelpsFace. Heck, you might even get a tattoo ; )
What can the #PhelpsFace do for you today?
Get after it!