The Elite: Think Like an Athlete Succeed Like a Champion
Dr. Jo Lukins
Turtle Publishing, 2021
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Athletes who reach the pinnacle of their sport have found the mental edge that sets them apart from everyone else – and that edge is within your reach. The Elite is a captivating book that unveils the 10 essential secrets empowering elite performers to truly master their craft. Offering a rare glimpse into the Locker Room, Dr. Jo Lukins delves into the core principles you need to know and actionable steps to take. Prepare to be inspired as you embark on a journey to unlock your full potential and elevate your performance to extraordinary heights. Get ready to embrace the secrets separating the best from the rest!
In The Elite you will discover how to:
- Change the way you do business and life so success will be at your fingertips
- Block out distractions to increase your confidence to championship living
- Use a performance mindset to live the life you deserve
- Learn habits on autopilot so you can reach your potential
A psychological Indiana Jones, Dr. Jo Lukins is known for her work in understanding what drives individuals, teams, and organizations to reach their full potential. With over 25 years of experience and a PhD in Psychology, Dr. Lukins has worked with elite athletes, the Australian Defence Force, and outstanding professionals across various domains. One of her most notable achievements was being awarded the Outstanding Alumni award by James Cook University for her exceptional contributions to the field. Dr. Lukins has also been recognized as an expert in her field, and she is frequently sought after as a presenter and interventionist. She is currently the Mental Skills Coach to the North Queensland Cowboys – Mens and Womens programs (National Rugby League), the Melbourne Boomers (Womens National Basketball League) and the Orchids (National Female Rugby League Team for Papua New Guinea). In addition to her work in psychology, Dr. Lukins is also a TEDx speaker, sharing her unique insights on success and performance. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others and finds the most satisfaction in knowing that her work has a positive impact.
Chapter One – Take Your Mark
The expert at anything was once a beginner. – Helen Hayes
Hope is not a strategy, luck is not a factor, fear is not an option. – James Cameron
And in a moment, it is over. The siren has gone, the whistle has blown, they have crossed the line or touched the wall. Hands shake, arms are raised in exhalation, tears are wept, smiles or frowns form and the contest is over.
It may seem strange to begin a book at the finish line, but for the elite performer, they know it is not the end. Rather, it’s a point of transition where the performance cycle is about to roll through again. Prepare, train, compete, prepare, train, compete. Over and over the routine repeats. Each time the athlete either embraces the opportunity to become wiser, to grow and improve – otherwise, the moment is gone, and they’ll line up to repeat the same mistakes again. Regardless of the sport, an astute athlete will always take the opportunity to reflect on their performance, to better understand the causes of their successes and failures. That way, they can plan to be better next time.
Michael Jordan hardly needs an introduction. Applauded for his skill, finesse, and ability to ‘just do it’, he is unarguably one of the greatest players to ever grace a basketball court. Yet perhaps his most important lesson was his ability to reject the negative, even from a very young age. When told he was not good enough to make the high school varsity basketball team, he used it as motivation to improve. Importantly, he very clearly understood that failure is not the opposite of success, but rather an integral part of it.
Those who have excelled in their sport have learnt (sometimes tough) lessons to reach their level of excellence. Roger Bannister, on the brink of retirement asked a simple but profound question that would lead him to become the first person to run the mile in under four minutes. It was a question that other athletes of similar ability had not asked, and it was this possibility thinking that cemented him in the record books as the first person to run a mile under that elusive time.
Cathy Freeman ran on some of the greatest sporting stages, none bigger than the 400m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. With the weight of her country’s expectations on her shoulders, she stood tall and proud. With a strategy that had served her well throughout her athletic career she approached the line to run herself into sporting history.
I have spent my career researching and gaining understanding from outstanding athletes. Working with those who have risen to the top of their game, embraced opportunities and succeeded. Athletes who have encountered adversity, at times failed, then dusted themselves off and started again. Sport offers us a powerful metaphor for life. It’s a place where we can witness inspiration, success and drama. There are many important lessons we can learn from elite athletes.
My hope for you in reading this book is that these insights will give you powerful new learnings and strategies that will help you elevate yourself from good to great. In sharing with you what I know to be part of their success, I hope to give you an insight into the thinking patterns and actions of those who have succeeded when others have failed and have excelled at the highest level. Through the ‘wisdom of the elite’ you will gain powerful understandings from those who have collectively toiled for years to uncover the key psychological strategies to stand amongst the best.
Sport is the toy store of life. Earl Warren once said, “I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but failures.” It’s in the back pages of our papers we see the triumphs, the tears, the dreams and the heroes. Sadly, the front page is almost always overwhelmingly full of negativity. As humans we want good news, stories of success and achievement. Any wonder we seek to find inspiration from the world of sport and hope for it in our own lives. So here is the good news. There are teachings in the world of sport that we can transfer into our work, families and play. Whilst hope is not a strategy, it can certainly provide us with a great foundation for the lessons we can learn to be our best.
Success leaves clues, and sometimes those clues are right in front of us. The aim of this book is to share the knowledge and lessons that athletes have learnt to enhance their success. We can all benefit from these lessons. With some consideration, planning and implementation of the insights within this book, we can all learn to think like a champion.
Without a doubt the most precious commodity that each of us has is time. In the 24 hours we are gifted every day, we make decisions (sometimes consciously, sometimes on autopilot) as to how we want to spend that time. You hear people comment all the time about how busy they are, how things don’t get done because they don’t have enough time or how people feel rushed to get everything done.
Making time and prioritising yourself to achieve excellence is my challenge to you.
The truth is that you do have enough time, we all do. Part of the challenge is understanding that it’s not because you’re too busy but rather because it’s not your priority. Choosing wisely how we spend our time is the key to our success. So, before we get too much further, I want you to be sure that your time will be well spent considering the lessons within this book and their application within your life.
Why you don’t need to read this book
I’m a big fan of transparency and while I would love to think that this book needs to be read by everyone, the reality is that it doesn’t. If I were standing in a bookshop deciding what to take with me on my next plane trip or to inspire me in some aspect of my life, I want to be sure I make the right choice. So, here are some reasons why this book may not be for you:
- Some people are completely happy and comfortable with their lives and are not interested in anything changing. And if that’s you, that’s fantastic. In fact, maybe it’s you that should be writing a book!
- If life is travelling well for you and you are satisfied with each aspect of your life (personal, work, relationships, health and sport) then keep doing what you’re doing. Not everyone needs to make changes and your happiness and satisfaction is the best measure. Rather, this book is designed for those seeking to find an extra 5-10% on top of your existing success. If this isn’t you, then save yourself some time. Gift this book to someone who can benefit from becoming better. And enjoy your flight.
Why you should read this book
It’s most likely that in picking up this book you are someone who is motivated to be the best version of you, because you know you can be more than you currently are. You are in the right place if:
- You’re succeeding well in aspects of your life and know that it would only take a few changes, strategies and actions on your part to be as successful as you can be.
- You’ve already got some runs on the board, however you know you haven’t yet reached the heights of your capabilities. If you would like to gain an insight into the way that elite performers operate and learn some of those strategies for yourself, then this is a book that can help.
With that in mind, here are some pointers that will help you take the information and turn it into something practical and beneficial.
But don’t I have to read the whole book?
Sure. That would be great. It would certainly be my recommendation! But as mentioned earlier, your time is exactly that, your time. Therefore, I have written the book so that the chapters standalone and can be read independently of each other. They are written in an order that makes sense to me, however, if you have particular priorities that you are really keen to get started on, you may wish to head straight there. If so, the below guidelines will help you decide which page to turn to first.
Chapter 2: Because your attitude can be your biggest barrier. You want to be more positive and believe you can improve, you’re just not sure how.
Chapter 3: Because you know you’d be more successful if your self-control was better. Your habits need a tweak, or a complete overhaul. A bonus tip: If you read this and think ‘Ugh, no thanks’ – then this is your chapter. Possibly your most important chapter. Success is not about doing all the bright and shiny things – it comes from methodically doing what’s needed every day. Understanding the key to winning habits is the pathway success.
Chapter 4: Because your life is feeling a little ‘vanilla’. When you’re looking for a spark, the foundation of motivation is triggered through creativity. Finding new ways to excel and improve is your answer.
Chapter 5: Because you want to be a winner and don’t know the formula. You need the tools to sort out your system for success.
Chapter 6: Because you need to get rid of the rubbish in your life and get what you really want. Holding up the mirror and being honest with yourself will help you to get real and get results.
Chapter 7: Because you need to be able to push through and beyond when it gets tough. If you come away from events knowing that you could have done more and you didn’t, this chapter will help.
Chapter 8: You want it all and you don’t know how. Spoiler alert – you can’t have it all. And it gets worse, if you want to excel and you want ‘complete balance’, you are kidding yourself. That being said, you can still have a fulfilling life when striving for excellence. Read this chapter to find out how.
Chapter 9 Because people matter. Your success is based on the people around you and those with whom you rely upon for support. How you manage your relationships with others is critical to your life, well-being and performance.
Chapter 10: Because you want a life that’s happier! Promise. Guaranteed. Whilst the ‘stuff’ of life won’t make you happy (well it will, but not for long), the contents of this chapter will bring you much closer to a genuine happiness.
Chapter 11: Because with your ‘eye on the prize’ you don’t want to miss the bigger picture. There is a balancing act between the journey and the outcome, and this chapter helps you to keep your eye on what matters.
Chapter 12: The final chapter brings together each of the key concepts of the book, to be sure you got each of the lessons and strategies and are ready to make changes moving forward.
A final word
Interestingly, as I was typing this chapter, the television was on in the background. A life coach was being interviewed and he was sharing details of the clients he had worked with, the work he had done and the successes he had brought to them.
That won’t be happening here. Your success is 100% yours – I’m not interested in taking credit for your wins and achievements. Nor will I be responsible for those times when you put yourself on the line and don’t get what you want. What I offer is knowledge and insights to the mental strengths of great athletes and teams. I will present these to you along with practical strategies that allows you to adapt them into your life whether it be in your sport, your work, or your family. Any successes you achieve are yours. I’ll never go on television and brag that the reason you are successful is because of me, promise.
No longer is success only for an exclusive few – the greats of the game. The reality is success is possible for everyone. For this we do not need to lower the benchmark but rather see the possibility within ourselves. You can find the greatness in yourself, should you choose to look. You too can think and succeed like an elite athlete.
Let’s get started.