Get in touch to talk about your needs and what we can do to help you.

I love the Olympics. Nothing moves me to tears more than seeing athletes achieving their dreams and learning the story behind their success. 

In fact, I am not sure there was a dry eye in the house in the BBC studios last week when Tom Daley’s husband, Dustin Lance Black, shared his pride and perspective on Tom’s Tokyo Olympic winning performance in the synchronised diving 10m platform event. He shared the following story:

“In Rio when Tom’s heart was breaking at the semi-final, I met him on this little road behind where the diving pools are and he was clearly in tears and I said to him, this feels like a tragedy now but this is a story unfolding and this means that you are not retiring and this means that our child will get to see you dive in the Olympics. And not only did that happen last night, but his son got to see him become an Olympic champion.”

Transcribed from Today at the Games, BBC 1 coverage

Dustin Lance Black is an Oscar winning screenwriter so his storytelling was always going to be moving, but not only did this story bring tears to my eyes, but it also helped me to think differently.

In my experience, breaking through the challenges we face does not always immediately require creative thinking, instead, more often that not, it requires inventive thinking about the challenge itself. From the story Dustin Lance Black shared, it appears that Tom Daley’s performance at the Rio Olympics was reframed as a step on the journey to future success which while obviously painful at the time, seemed to pave the way to the gold medal Tom finally got to hang round his neck 5 years later.

Reframing your biggest challenges as new questions, new beginnings or opportunities is a technique that can not only help you think differently but can help you see the start of new chapters that might not have revealed themselves to your story otherwise.

While I was nowhere near as talented as the many Olympic & Paralympic champions who are out in Tokyo winning medals, I did have a successful international swimming career which was cut short due to a chlorine allergy. Despite achieving 2 silver World Cup medals and 2 Scottish records, my swimming suddenly declined due to illness and the dreams I set for myself floated into the distance. 

For a very long time I looked at this ending to a lot of hard work as a failure. However, thankfully, I reframed my lost potential in the swimming pool as a fuel to discover what I can be outside of it. My passion for performance has become my philosophy for life and drives me to be the best that I can be in the disciplines where I want to make a “splash”.

This reframing has certainly helped me to live adventures I had not previously envisioned, however, escaping the pain of the past and associated negative emotions that come with it, is not always easy. I therefore feel there is another critical ingredient needed when it comes to thinking differently about the challenges you face and I feel that ingredient is “belief”.

Listening to Adam Peaty, MBE and champion British Breaststroke swimmer, this week at the Tokyo Olympics he talked a lot about the power of “belief” and how embracing a “belief to win” mindset has been a key factor in helping British Swimming to deliver its best performance ever in an Olympic Games at Tokyo. 

In fact, in the Natural Born Thinkers podcast with Olympic Swimming Coach, Chris Martin, Chris shares the insights from research conducted by the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee that sought to identify the key factors that made an Olympic Champion. The two key psychological findings were “self-belief” and the “hate to lose” mentality. 

At the end of the day, if you tell yourself you can’t, you probably won’t, but if you believe you can, you have the potential to live the story you most want to tell! So my message on this one is simple, when it comes to creative problem solving, seek to adopt a champion’s mindset. Look at the challenge from every angle, reframe it to inspire action and have the belief to power you through the best and the hardest of the times.