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Adopting a Gold Medal Mindset

Lessons learned from Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Pottharst


Yep, that's me holding an Olympic medal and listening to Aussie Kerri Pottharst talk about developing a Gold Medal Mindset after taking the Bronze in the Atlanta games  for beach volleyball. She shared a pretty amazing story with us, from experiencing a catastrophic knee injury playing international indoor volleyball for Australia, to rehabbing her knee slowly and discovering sand volleyball, and then going on to win first a Bronze medal in Atlanta and then a Gold medal in Sydney. Along the way she had a lot of challenges, many of which had to do with her confidence and mindset and that of her teammate after being beaten in Atlanta. So often when faced with challenges that seem insurmountable, we become our own worst enemy. It doesn't matter if it's going for that work promotion or dream job interview, signing up for a half marathon or tough obstacle course run, or setting a goal to lose 100 lbs and change your life. If you don't believe you will succeed, then you've already lost. Kerri experienced this when facing a team ranked far above her and her partner, and she and her teammate were thoroughly trounced. So they set out to figure out what it would mean to be a Gold Medal winner, and from there what their mindset, purpose, code of conduct, and standards needed to be to make it happen, both on and off the court. What they came up with is pretty amazing, and she shared the contract they drew up with us.

gold medal mindset

What I love are the major questions and concepts that apply to anyone working toward a goal or a vision, and will apply to you. How can you make it better? What is your purpose? What standards do you want to live by, and what code of conduct supports your vision? I want to highlight just a few items from each circle for you. Our Purpose Is:

  • To have a better quality of live
  • Self discovery
  • To create new and better opportunities
  • To inspire and life others hopes and dreams
  • To enjoy the journey
Code of Conduct. We Will:
  • Do whatever it takes
  • Have responsibility for personal actions
  • Stay focused on our outcome
Our Winning Way:
  • Execute our game plan
  • Recognize and take opportunities
  • Create and Ride momentum
Standard of Champions. I am:
  • Strong in emotion and spirit
  • Passionate and committed
  • Trusting of the system and process
  • Positive and supportive
  • Flexible

Now imagine for a second adopting these mantras, mindsets and standards and applying them to your own goals. Can you take strength from a purpose that is To Create A Better Quality of Life? Will you stand a little taller if you believe that you are Passionate and Committed, and you will be Committed to Constant Daily Improvement? Do you believe you will accomplish your goal if you Recognize Opportunities and Execute Your Game Plan? Say a few of those phrases out loud to yourself for a minute. (I'll wait...) How do you feel? I believe, as Kerri shared, that adopting a winner's mindset, a Gold Medal Mindset if you like, will help you achieve any goal, no matter how big or how small. I encourage you to do this little exercise and follow in Kerri's footsteps: Take out a sheet of paper, make 4 columns, and write the headings of My Purpose Is, Code of Conduct- I Will: , My Winning Way, and Standard of Champions -  I Am: . Write 3-5 items in each column that feel true and aspirational to you. Then hang that sheet of paper somewhere you will see every day! And find out what adopting a Gold Medal Mindset will help you achieve. As Kerri said, Go for Gold!

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