Michael Phelps: “Putting Money in the Bank”

Stay Focused Through Wins

“Yeah winning a gold medal is absolutely incredible. There’s nothing better than standing on the podium, listening to your national anthem play…but for me I’m somebody who knew that I had 7 other events after the first day. So I had to throw that to the back of my head. I had to throw that race out. I have to put that behind me to then get ready for the next race.”

Remain Consistent With Small Actions

“On top of that, I have to make sure I’m eating the right amount, I’m sleeping the right amount, my body is as fresh as I can possibly be. So that means sitting in an ice tank, getting massages, getting stretched, all of these small things that end up adding up to the major end result.”

“Every day is a new challenge, right? Every day is a day that we can prepare ourselves even more. But for us, we would call it ‘putting money into the bank‘. So at the end of the year, when we had a major international competition, we could withdraw all that money we had saved throughout the year. Look, I’ll be the first one to tell you, there were a lot of days where I did not want to get out of bed…but if you have those little small goals, those little small things that get you excited, when you don’t want to, it’s gonna make it even better, and even easier at the end.”

Do Things Even When You Don’t Want To

“If you look at the greats in anything, in any walk of life, the greats do things when don’t always want to. And that’s the separation. For me, that’s what I found. Because I can sure as hell tell you that there were days where I hated my coach. There were days where we got in fights, we got into arguments, we couldn’t stand what we were doing…[but] he challenged me…and forced my mind to think differently.”

Take Away

  • Have a vision. This isn’t mentioned outright in the video, but it’s necessary for the other points to function correctly. You need to figure out what you want to achieve. A goal based on your desires, if you had no fear of failure or success. Why is this important? Because it tells you when to stop. Everyone needs to know there is an end point, a time to take a break, a time look back and bask in your success. Otherwise, what will it all be for? If your vision or dream is going to take several years to achieve, break it down into yearly goals to give you a chance to celebrate and keep you on track.
  • Don’t let the wins (or losses) phase you. The only way to not let that happen is to set your own dreams, goals and milestones. Yes, winning an event might be a milestone you hit, but if you have several more targets to hit in quick succession, hold off the victory lap until later. Stay focused on your routine to keep winning until you hit a point where you can safely step back and take stock. You should have those points pre-determined. You may deviate from this schedule from time to time but at least there’s some guidelines to start off with.
  • Keep up with the daily actions that lead up to your success. That vision you had at the start, you should be focusing on what daily actions you can perform to get you there.
  • Do them even when you don’t feel like it. Every time you lose your way or don’t feel like performing the action that will get you to your dream, think back to your vision and how it will become weaker if you don’t ‘put money in the bank’ today.

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