If you are like me, you are captivated by the accomplishments of Olympic athletes.
The thought of being the best in the world at something (or even among the elite) is invigorating. As a child, it probably inspired you to imitate your favorite athlete or try a new sport that caught your attention.
As an adult, the Olympics and elite athletes are just as inspiration but in a different sense. Adults know their athletic capabilities are limited but we still want to strive for greatness.
Swimmers are often in the Olympic spotlight because they participate in sport that most of us have at least attempted at a recreational level. We realize the difficulty of their achievements and want to know how they got to such a level. Someone like Ryan Lochte seizes the stage as we all wait to see if he can, even for a moment, be considered the greatest swimmer in the world.
In the world of blogging, some estimates put over 150,000,000 blogs in existence! With that much competition, elite status, just like for Olympians, does not come easy. Instant success is out of the question.
However, deep within you resides the desire to overcome mediocrity and reach the limits of your own writing capabilities. Excellence is exciting and the idea that you could grow your blog to a level that would affirm all of your hard work is motivating.
So what can Ryan Lochte teach you that will help you take your blog to elite status?
Practice, Practice, Practice
The practice time of olympic swimmers is legendary. Lochte estimates that he swims about 20 hours per week totalling about 70,000 meters! When you add in dryland and weight training, the total training time rises to 35 hours.
If you have spent time around competitive swimmers of any age or skill level, practice time is essential. The technical aspects of the sport combined with the need to build endurance require repetitive and consistent training.
It is impossible to improve without practice.
As much as writing ability can be portrayed as a gift, randomly bestowed on a select few, it simply does not emerge without practice. In fact, writing can be boiled down to a simple 10 step practice plan. (See, practice is the key component!)
Fuel For Performance
When a number is so out of the ordinary that it immediately triggers skepticism, you know it is extreme.
12,000 calories a day is one of those numbers.
That’s the caloric intake of Lochte on a typical training day. Four times the daily intake of the average guy in case you were wondering.
As a writer, this doesn’t mean you have to ingest the equivalent of 12,000 calories of information on a daily basis. The point is, you have to fuel yourself for your specific performance goals.
You can’t just write your way to expertise in a particular area. Always seek out the latest research, experts in your field and related fields, and practical examples of success. Remember, you are more detective than writer.
Creative fuel can also come by stepping away from writing and information. Take a walk, rest or seek out beauty in ways that consistently inspire you to be great.
Choose A Specialty
Have you ever noticed that the Olympic swimmers that excel at the 100-meter events are not part of the 1500-meter event?
The difference does not even have to be that extreme. 50-meter sprints are often a specialty but so are middle distances, endurance races and even unique move like the breaststroke.
Most of Lochte’s Olympic events are in the 200-meter range. He knows where he has the best chance for gold.
It’s impossible to reach everyone so narrow your universe.
Choosing a specialty gives you the ability to be great at one thing (or a few things) rather than mediocre at many. With so many blogs competing for your reader’s attention, it is much easier to stand out by being an expert on a particular topic than a generalist on many.
If your blog is struggling to increase traffic and revenue, choose your specialty.
Love What You Do
So far, we have talked about some decisions that take serious dedication.
Commitment like this difficult without passion. A swimmer’s journey requires a love for the sport or burnout is inevitable.
Prior to the start of the London Olympic Games, Lochte had already committed to the 2016 Games in Brazil. To already commit to another four years of this kind of intensity takes a love for not only the sport but also the process.
Caring about what you are doing is your key to longevity.
You can love blogging, love your readers, love the process or even love the results. You just have to find the thing that you must do during those times of distraction or doubt.
Stars Get The Attention
If you haven’t noticed, a few swimmers seem to get all of the attention.
Plenty of others have put in the same amount of hard work and will produce amazing swims. However, for a variety of reasons, certain swimmers like Ryan Lochte become media darlings and receive disproportionate notoriety.
Like it or not, it’s reality.
As a writer, you’ve seen plenty of great work go unnoticed, including your own. You want to earn respect and page views and know that anonymity doesn’t serve your goals.
So what can you do when you aren’t receiving the attention of a blogging superstar?
- Keep Writing. Just like the Olympics, there are no overnight success stories. Even those that appear to have just popped onto the scene are backed by years of hard work.
- Write for a Superstar. Don’t sit around being offended that someone else is getting all of the attention. Tap into the audience of popular blogs by writing a successful guest post for their audience.
- Shift Your Focus to Service. Instead of caring about being popular, change your focus to being of service. When you serve your audience, you will gain a loyal audience. This is far greater than being popular with the wrong audience.
Have the Olympics Inspired Your Writing?
So have the Olympics inspired any of your content marketing goals (or am I just a sucker for a great story)? What do you think keeps you from elite blogging status or how did you reach the elite level?
Let me know in the comments.