Eleven-time world champion and six-time Olympic gold winner, Chris Hoy, swept us away with his motivational talk at Xerocon London. He shared how his love affair for cycling started while watching the film E.T. as a kid, and took him all the way to the Olympics.
â€œI genuinely never believed Iâ€™d be an Olympic championâ€�
Chris won his first Olympic gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Chris spoke not only about the physical training, but the mental preparation he undertook in the weeks, days and hours leading up to the race. He described how he consciously pushed aside all negative thoughts and self-doubt, focusing instead on what a perfect performance would look like; and what he could do to make it happen.
â€œThe night before, I had a constant loop of the perfect race playing in my mind from start to finish.
I was focused on my performance and the process of what I needed to do,â€� he said. And it worked.
This event was dropped at the next Olympics – a move that would have seen many others give up, but not Chris. Turning inconvenience into opportunity, Chris switched to focusing on three other track sprint events, winning gold in all of them at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and cementing his legacy in the history books.
Agony and ecstasy
Chris understands the importance of hard work and perseverance – tools that can be applied in all walks of life. But he also spoke of the agony and the ecstasy of pushing yourself to the limit.
â€œAt school, I was average at sport, on the odd day I could win – sometimes Iâ€™d come in the top three. So I learnt from an early age that I had to train. I had a thirst for knowledge, so I focused on how can I go faster? How can I improve? How can I better myself?â€�
He explained his mantra of focusing on the process, not the outcome, how breaking a strategy down into chunks makes achieving any goal more manageable, and how even the smallest of things can make all the difference.
â€œWhen youâ€™ve done everything you can to be in the best shape, thereâ€™s nothing more you can do at the start line, and you accept the end result – whatever it may be.â€�
Aim high, dream big and shoot for the stars
The Scotsman charmed everyone in the audience with his down-to-earth and humble nature. He spoke of how having ambition can only be a good thing.
â€œBelieve in yourself, set yourself goals, focus on the process – the ABCs for how youâ€™ll get there – donâ€™t worry about what you canâ€™t control, and youâ€™ll achieve way more than you could ever imagine.â€�
While not all of us can aspire to be Olympic champions, what we can take away and apply to our own lives is his determination and hyper-positive attitude. He taught us not to let false perceptions get in the way of reaching our goals.