Tom Brady, Michael Phelps' Mental Coach Reveals 5 Keys For Top Performance

Zinger Key Points
  • Performance coach Greg Harden says you have to be able to manage stress and bounce back from challenging times.
  • "Become the world’s greatest expert on one subject: You,” he says.

Performance coach Greg Harden has trained some of the biggest names in sports for some of the biggest competitions in the world. For example, he helped legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady mentally prepare for the Super Bowl (Brady won seven).

Harden also trained over 100 Olympic athletes, including 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, to prepare their minds for challenges.

According to a CNBC report, Harden has unveiled five tips he commonly uses when training competitors that can help you become a "stellar performer" in your own work life and beyond.

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1. Be Hungry, Be Humble

Most people don't have a problem finding that "hunger" inside themselves when chasing goals, but Harden stressed that you have to remain humble while you are climbing the ladder. 

Being able to find a balance between having a strong drive and being humble is a "critical piece of the puzzle," Harden said: "You have to be able to know when your ego must lead, and when you need to follow."

2. You Are More Than Your Work

When training Brady ahead of one of his Super Bowl appearances, Harden tried to drive home the fact that he's more than just a football player. We are human beings who need to be proud of ourselves when we know we've given something our all, regardless of the end result, he said. 

"If you’ve given [it] everything you’ve got, win, lose or draw, you’re my guy, you’re my girl, you’re my person ... Because I know you didn’t quit," Harden said.

3. Stress Can Be Managed

Everyone experiences stress at some point, usually during some of the greatest moments of their lives. Such should be anticipated and managed, he said. 

"Stop being afraid of being afraid. It makes sense that you’re anxious. Stress is predictable, therefore manageable," Harden said. 

Breathing is one way to deal with high levels of stress. Another method involves walking the line between being anxious and being excited. Shift your mindset from fear to excitement and psych yourself up for big moments with the intent of having fun, he said. 

4. Quick Recovery

As you work your way up in your professional life, you will encounter challenging times. You have to find time to recover. Being able to do this quickly is a necessary skill for growth, Harden said. 

How you deal with heartache, grief, disappointment and mistakes can set you apart from the rest of the pack. Those who want to be the best, need to be able to bounce back fast, he said. 

You can improve recovery time by focusing on your strengths and weaknesses. The better you know yourself, the easier it is to recover from stressful events. 

"Become the world’s greatest expert on one subject: you,” Harden said.

5. Positive Self-Talk

Learning how to talk to yourself was one of the most important things the mental coach taught Phelps as he prepared for the Olympics. 

Swimmers spend most of their time in the water, alone with their thoughts. Positive self-talk can keep you pushing forward, he said. 

"Be obnoxiously optimistic," Harden said. "How are you going to train yourself to believe without question or pause that this practice is going to turn into something special?”

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This story is part of a new series of features on the subject of success, Benzinga Inspire.

Images: Shutterstock

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