What Nastia Liukin Teaches Us About Career Success

I didn’t do a post yesterday. I took a little break to celebrate the Independence Day holiday here in the US. How was your 4th? Did you get to do anything fun?

I was watching the US Gymnastics Olympic trials over the weekend. Those are really special athletes. As I often do, I found some career success advice as I watched.

Nastia Liukin won the all around Gold Medal in 2008. She was at the trials this year trying to make the team again. She took a tremendously hard fall during the uneven parallel bars competition. It had to have jarred her to her core. She stood up, got some more chalk for her hands and completed her routine.

Two things impressed me about this. First, the fall had to really hurt. Second, the fall ended her chances of making the Olympic team and defending her title. But she persevered. She got back on the bar and finished the routine. Good for her.

Tweet 35 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Persistent people keep going; especially in the face of difficulties. Keep at it and you will accomplish your goals. Nastia didn’t accomplish her goal of making the 2012 Olympic team but she distinguished herself as a true champion that night.

Successful people have a habit of focusing on the positive and putting the negative out of their minds. Positive habits like this are an important key to career success. Habits are like muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they get. Dan Robey is the King of Positive Habits. His eBook, The Power of Positive Habits, is one of my go-to books when I need to give myself a little boost. You can get a copy at www.ThePowerOfPositiveHabits.com.

Dan’s book is based on the idea of cognitive restructuring. According to Dan, cognitive restructuring is learning to identify your personal cycle of negative thoughts, habits, and routines and replacing them with positive thoughts, habits, and routines that will provide you with lifelong benefits.

Evelyn Brooks has some great common sense advice on getting smart about how you deal with failures and setbacks:

  • S Smash the negative.
  • M Maximize the positive.
  • A Act.
  • R Relax.
  • T Target your next action.

That’s what Nastia Liukin did the other night. She smashed the negative by getting back on the apparatus. She maximized the positive by doing her best to finish the routine. She took action by competing on the Balance Beam when she had no chance of making the team. This allowed her to relax and give a great performance. When she was interviewed after the competition, she said she was already thinking about what will come next for her in life and gymnastics.

Stuff happens as you go through life; positive stuff, negative stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating stuff. The important thing is to be smart about how you deal with setbacks. It’s not what happens, but how you react to it. In other words, smash your negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity. Maximize the positive in your life by creating positive habits and routines. When something goes well, take the time to celebrate. You deserve it. When something goes poorly, be S.M.A.R.T. about how you deal with it.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people know that it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it. They don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity. They get competent. They smash the negatives in their lives and create positive thoughts, habits and routines. Be like Nastia Liukin. Use the negatives that come your way as learning experiences. Distinguish yourself as a true champion by the way you handle problems and failures.

That’s the career advice I found while watching the Olympic Trials. What do you think? Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my daily thoughts on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you check out my career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained. The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less. The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: Have you seen my membership site, My Corporate Climb? It’s devoted to helping people just like you create career success inside large corporations. You can find out about it by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.






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