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Think like an Olympian

Think like an Olympian

“I give up!”

“You expect me to practice two to three hours outside of class every day?” Do these words sound familiar? Have you felt the despair of trying to get over that hump at 120 wpm or 180 wpm and wanted to give up? Do the demands of work and family overwhelm you? To quote from a popular song by Kelly Clarkson, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

We, like Olympians, choose our own paths. Olympians aren’t necessarily the most talented in their sport; they just want the gold the most, and they never give up. All of us have it within us to think like an Olympian. Here are six tips to inspire you in your quest for success in your court reporting career.

1. Have a vision. Olympians possess a clear vision of where they are going and what they need to do to get there. They visualize what success will look like before they compete. A professional golfer studies the green and visualizes the ball on its journey into the cup. Tennis professionals anticipate where their opponent’s serve will land. Olympians anticipate obstacles and how they will overcome them. They think big and are fearless in their pursuit of the gold. They don’t just hope or wish for victory; they make it happen.

2. Do whatever it takes. Olympians possess a “whatever it takes” attitude. Call it commitment or perseverance; Olympians just don’t give up. It’s not that they don’t feel the pain, fatigue, or disappointment; they just work past it and never let it defeat them. As Vince Lombardi said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Olympians have the will to persevere.

3. Practice makes perfect. Olympians are tenacious and possess an incredible work ethic. They are disciplined and maintain a regular practice schedule, regardless of outside distractions. They have an uncanny ability to focus on the task in front of them. They never need the encouragement of parents, coaches, or instructors to practice; instead, selfmotivation propels them forward.

4. Be coachable. Olympians can put their egos aside and accept coaching from their instructors. They are adaptable and open-minded, and they have the ability to filter all of the advice thrown at them and focus on useful information that will lead to achieving their goal. They seek out mentors to aid them in their quest for success and heed their advice.

5. Remain optimistic. Olympians maintain a positive attitude whether they win or lose. They exude confidence. Olympians strive for perfection, but they don’t allow their mistakes or self-doubts to overwhelm them. They rebound quickly from failure and view an obstacle as an opportunity for improvement. Attitude determines outcome. As noted author Frank A. Clark says, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably does not lead anywhere.” Stay on your chosen path.

6. Embrace stress. Stress can actually motivate us and lead to growth. Olympians know how to break free from their comfort zones and cope with stress and adversity. They can control their emotions and can accept routine mistakes rather than be consumed by them. Stress is a part of everyday life. Set realistic goals for yourself. Maintain a routine as much as possible, eat healthy, and get moderate exercise to help keep your stress level under control.

Take a moment and assess where you are in your court reporting education.

Do you have a clear vision of your future? Can you see yourself taking depositions or captioning, and are you willing to do everything in your power to get there? Can you tune out distractions, accept life’s little setbacks, and press on? Keep your self-doubt and emotions in check, think like an Olympian, and you, too, will be successful in all of your pursuits. As Arnold Palmer said, “The most rewarding things you do in life are the ones that look like they cannot be done.” The path to becoming a court reporter can be challenging, but with the variety, independence, and flexibility it offers, it is worth all of the effort.