5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Pro Athletes

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Working with some of the world’s greatest athletes on a day-to-day basis teaches you a lot. Even though he’s the expert, trainer Matthew Uohara, president of Hale Inu Strength and Conditioning in Los Angeles, was surprised that he learned just as much from his trainees as they learned from him during this year’s offseason workouts.

“I no longer find myself the professor,” says Uohara, who works with NFL, NBA, PGA, and MMA athletes. “These well-educated professionals taught me some important life lessons.” Just what can we learn from some of the nation’s top athletes? Tap into these five tips and see how they improve your fitness level—and your life.

See: Will You Stick to Your Fitness Resolution?

1. Assess Your Goals
The highest achievers have the clearest and most concise goals and timetables. Goal assessment consists of three parts:

1. Create a plan with clear timetables
2. Execute the plan
3. Re-evaluate and improve it

Any plan can be broken down and completed using these three steps. Memorize and use them.

2. Take Responsibility
When you take your life into your own hands and accept responsibility for the good and the bad, you can achieve great things. Uohara gives this example: “When LeBron James and the Miami Heat faced elimination from the Eastern Conference Finals this year, we saw the meanest, baddest, nastiest man on the planet come alive. The result was an NBA Championship. LeBron finally took responsibility for his previous failures and simply made his own luck.”

Apply the same mentality to your own life. Find what you want through goal assessment, then take responsibility for each step you take to get there.

3. Be Courageous
There are always a hundred reasons not to do something. But what are your reasons to go forward? Concentrate on that and find your inner strength. You’ll never find success without first having the courage to try.

4. Work As a Team
Surround yourself with people who can help you achieve your goals–people who respect and value you, people who sincerely want to see you achieve your dreams. Your team is your most valuable asset. “Every athlete I had in this offseason preferred to work in a group setting,” recalls Uohara. “In our weight room there is no negative talk, no putting people down, and respect for all.” Institute this policy in your space, whether it’s at the office, at home or at the gym.

5. Find Mental Focus
While working on your physical strength, don’t neglect your mental strength. You need to prepare yourself mentally to succeed. Whenever you feel stressed, find a place you can be alone. Take a minute to refocus on why you’re working toward your goal. Read an article about your industry or catch up on the news before returning to your task. You’ll feel much more connected and calm afterward.

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