You Need To Be Like Missy

Living in Denver I’ve followed Missy Franklin’s career since she began winning national swim meets in her early teens. In case you don’t know, Missy Franklin is the young woman who won four gold medals in the last Olympics. She was an 18 year old high school senior then. This year, as a 20 year old she led the University of California swim team to the NCAA championship. Last week she announced that she is giving up her college eligibility to turn pro – something she said that she would do when she enrolled at Cal two years ago. She plans on completing her degree, but will no longer be competing at the collegiate level.

The Sunday Denver Post had an article about Missy. She was quoted as saying that she wants to be “the most decorated female Olympic swimmer of all time…I may reach this goal, I may not, but either way I’m going to fight for it. That’s the exciting part.”

How cool is that? I hope she makes it.

In their bestseller Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras suggest that companies (and individuals) need to have a BHAG – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Setting a goal of becoming the most decorated female Olympic swimmer of all time is a definite BHAG. Good for Missy. Not only did she set a BHAG for herself, she was very public about it.

Missy is also realistic. She says that she may reach her goal and she may not. That’s smart. She isn’t setting herself up for failure. She knows that a lot of things – some out of her control – can create a situation in which she doesn’t achieve her goal.

The final part of her quote is what I really like. She says “I’m going to fight for it. That’s the exciting part.” At the ripe old age of 20 Missy Franklin has figured out that while goals are important, the journey to achieving her goal is equally so.

As I often tell my career mentoring clients, success is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride. Working hard at something you love is what really matters. Because if you love something and you work hard at it, you’ll be likely to achieve your goals.

My money is on Missy to become the most decorated female Olympic swimmer of all time. She is dedicated to her sport. She works hard. She’s a team player. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. That is a recipe for success.

Take a lesson from Missy. You don’t have to have a BHAG of becoming a great Olympic swimmer to dedicate yourself to your goal, work hard and be a team player.

Remember the Be Like Mike commercials featuring Michael Jordan? Well I think it’s time for more of us to Be Like Missy.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  Now I’m going one step further.  I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success.  And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free.  Just go to  to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals.  I hope to see you there.


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