Act as if…

Act as if…

Beating the Demons – Chapter 5

Act as if you can… and become!

Acting as if you can is one of the most powerful ways to Beat the Demons.  In the world of work, aspiring managers and executives are advised to “act the part.”  If you want to become a leader, then start being one.  They don’t need the title of manager or executive to act like one.  When you act like a leader, even without the title, people follow and listen to you.  It works exactly the same way in the world of sports.  If you want to become fit, do a certain event, or get faster, the very first step is to believe in yourself and start acting the part.

To get started on this process, think of something that you want to do but think you can’t…. get in shape, lose weight, learn to swim or run, do a triathlon, do a marathon, improve your race times, etc.  Now list all the reasons you “think” you can’t.  Are these reasons really true and factual or are they just your opinions and beliefs?  Start acting as if you can really accomplish your goal and you’ll start to get more concrete data and move away from the opinions and beliefs. As we get closer to the objective, we often find a path or a way to take the next step closer.  Inch by inch we gain confidence and more clarity on what it takes to succeed.  We start to act as if we can and therefore start believing in ourselves.

Too many times in life we decide we can’t before we get close enough to really determine if something is possible.  We just quit too early or worse yet, don’t even get started toward our dreams.  Successful athletes don’t use phrases like “I’m too slow, I’m too heavy, I’m too old, I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve it.”  Instead they:

  1. Make decisions on real data when it becomes available.
  2. Visualize attaining their dream.  They create the positive ending and see themselves achieving the goal.
  3. Embrace the challenges of making their dream come true.  They don’t fight and hate the journey and the tough workouts.  Instead they see these needed activities as fun ways to move closer to their goal.  Successful athletes don’t hate the 20mph wind in their face on the bike, they see it as an opportunity to learn how to be more aerodynamic and cheat the wind for more speed.  They visualize slicing through it like a knife and feel the increased speed with less effort.  They love the wind!
  4. Reflect on how far they’ve already come and how they pushed through other seemingly impossible barriers to success.  They use past successes to help them believe that new goals can be accomplished with just more work and more focus.

With the Vancouver Olympics upon us, it’s a great time to see successful athletes in action.  One of my favorite stories is that of Gold medal speed skater, Apolo Anton Ohno.  He hopes to become the greatest US Winter Olympian in history at the Vancouver games.  A five-time Olympic medalist like many athletes, Apolo started from humble beginnings with a dream and the belief that he could do it.  But after his first Olympics in 2002, he found real data that proved he had to step it up to the next level in order to return in 2006 and win again.  With this input, he chose to leave the distractions of normal life and live a minimalistic lifestyle at the Olympic training center in Boulder, CO.  This total focus and commitment to his dream allowed him to work much longer and harder, and find true love with his training.  It worked for Apolo, and he secured another three Olympic medals in 2006.

“I love what I do, I love competition, I love training. The losses, the wins, the struggles, I love. I’m blessed to be able to use this gift. I still feel like I’m one of the best, and on any given day I can still vie for being on top of the podium.” – Apolo Anton Ohno

Apolo Anton Ohno acted as if he was a Champion and became one.

Becoming a champion in training, racing and life is possible.  Believe in yourself and start taking small steps toward your dream.  Use success at every milestone to fuel you forward.  Don’t set limits until data is collected to prove beyond doubt that your goal can not be met.  More times than not, you’ll get to the finish line!

Are you ready to Act as if… and Become?

Stay tuned for Chapter 6 of Beating the Demons.

Joe LoPresto is the Founder and Head Coach of Experience Triathlon.   As leaders in the endurance coaching industry, Coach Joe and the Experience Triathlon coaching team help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life.  Learn more about Coach Joe and Experience Triathlon at and

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