The Top 20 Tips on Being the Best: 20 years of experience in 500 words!

The Top 20 Tips on Being the Best: 20 years of experience in 500 words!


I have been lucky to be involved in high performance sport for the best part of 20 years.

I have been very very fortunate to work with Olympic Gold Medalists, World Champions, World Record Holders, Premiership Title Winners, World Cup Winners…champion athletes, teams and coaches in many different sports and in several different countries.

Quite often, when I do professional speaking or training with corporate or sporting groups, someone in the audience will ask, “What do all the winners have in common” or “From your experience, what things do all the great athletes, teams and coaches do that makes them the best”.

There are indeed some things all the great ones have in common: The Top 20 Tips on Being the Best: 20 years of experience in 500 words!

  1. Perseverance: They never give up.
  2. Humility: The are confident – but not arrogant – seeking performance not praise.
  3. A passion for continuous improvement: They embrace the belief that “success is a moving target” and that they can always get better at what they do.
  4. Honesty: They are honest with themselves and other people realising that true progress is not possible without it.
  5. They know how to win: They are comfortable chasing victory and thinking about, talking about and pursuing winning.
  6. Self-belief: They believe in themselves and the limitless possibilities and potential they possess.
  7. The courage to be different: They know that the essential quality of being the best means daring to be different and being unique.
  8. No compromises: They drive towards their goals without compromise, without backing down, without surrender.
  9. The ability to learn fast and accelerate improvement faster than their opposition: They know that improvement is essential and that improvement comes from learning: to learn faster means to improve faster and win sooner.
  10. Passion: They love what they do and do what they love.
  11. Hatred of losing: They tolerate losing only for one reason: to learn from it so that they become stronger, more resilient and better in the future.
  12. Discipline: They know that winners are willing to do whatever it takes to prepare to win and will pay whatever it costs to be the best. What others see as sacrifice, winners see as lifestyle.
  13. Self-acceptance: They accept who they are without judgement and are comfortable being themselves in all situations.
  14. Consistency: They know that one moment of glory comes from many years of  consistently out-planning and out-preparing their opposition.
  15. Vision of what could be – not what is: They see where things are going and do whatever it takes to get there first.
  16. A clear personal philosophy: They know who they are.
  17. A clear set of personal values: They know what they stand for.
  18. Action driven i.e. they “do” things: They know that while everyone thinks about being great and talks about being great, greatness comes from actions.
  19. The capacity to “re-invent’ themselves: They know that time stands still for no one and that they need to stay relevant to the times and situations they live in.
  20. They live excellence: They know – as Aristotle knew – that excellence is not a single moment or competition: it is a habit – a daily commitment to being the best.

That’s my “20 from 20” – 20 Tips from 20 years….what’s yours?

Wayne Goldsmith

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