Four Principles to Position Yourself to Win in Life

Learn Four Principles to Position Yourself to Win in Life and Business

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to listen to six time Olympic medalist and champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Jackie kicked off the opening National Athletic Institute speed camp. I grew up watching and cheering on Jackie. She is a true champion with a story that inspires each of us to believe anything is possible. Greatness is possible for each of us, we just need to be willing to set realistic goals, work hard to achieve them, and face discouraging times with a smile. Jackie teaches us that in life, business, and sports you have to position yourself to win.

Position Yourself to Win

During Jackie Joyner-Kersee's keynote, she said a profound statement, "Put yourself in the position to win." She said that to put yourself in a position to win was to create a positive state of mind, an attitude. She said to win in life will require as much mental strength as physical strength. 

The 1984 Olympic Turning Point

Jackie explained how the 1984 Olympics was a turning point in her quest to perform at the top of her game and potential. Even though crowned with a Olympic silver medal, she felt as if she had much more to do and was personally disappointed with her performance. She had success in the physical sense, but was weak when it came to her mental state of mind. Her mental state of mind made it difficult to embrace her silver Olympic medal and it made her angry. Embracing her 1984 Olympic defeat that keep her from a gold medal by five points, Jackie set out with a new determination to improve the mental side of her performance. She new that if she could improve the mental side she could position her self to win the Olympic gold and perform at her highest level.

Four Principles to Position Yourself to Win

Jackie explained that during her quest to win gold at the 1988 Olympics, she applied four principles to position herself to win. Below are the four principles Jackie shared during her keynote. You can see how each of these principles can be applied to life as we set out to achieve goals.

1. Be a Little Better Each Day

Jackie said, "I wasn't the fastest day one. I had to work a little harder each day. I knew if I didn't, another competitor would. I knew as my legs burned that I was improving and becoming better. This is how I really began to grow as a world-class athlete." 

2. Mind Over Matter

Jackie said, "I really had to learn to compete. Not just how to compete physically, but how to compete mentally." I agree with this, it really starts with our attitude. How we approach each day, each challenge, will largely determine if we have the capacity to win.

3. Learn Your Pace

Jackie said, "You must learn your pace. Many athletes would start out fast and slow down at the end. Other athletes would start slow and turn on the kick toward the end of the race. For me it was always knowing my pace. If I trained hard enough than my pace would be good enough to win."

4. Be the Ultimate Decision Maker

Jackie said, "Many people make excuses for how the day is going or why they are failing. Each of us are the ultimate decision maker of our day. You need to believe in yourself. You should never put yourself in second place. You need to go out to win. A big part of this is having the right mental state of mind, so the physical can really kick in high gear."

Jackie was now ready to win as she approached the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. She was stronger mentally and was physically in the best shape of her life. During the 1988 Olympics, Jackie won her gold medal in the heptathlon setting a still-standing world record of 7,291 points. Five days later, Jackie won her second gold medal, leaping to an Olympic record of 7.40 m (24 ft 3 1/4 in) in the long jump. 

Jackie said, "I knew I had positioned myself to win. I knew that the mental was as important as the physical. I knew the combination of the two helped me perform at my best in Seoul. As each of you approach life, make sure you don't sell yourself short. You need to set goals and work hard to achieve them."

I was grateful to hear Jackie Joyner-Kersee speak. It was great to learn her story and hear how failure motivated her to learn how to position herself to win. The mental is as important as the physical when it comes to wining.