Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shelley Taylor Smith 2: Attitude Is Everything

Six weeks ago on Feel For The Water we featured a special guest post by Shelley Taylor Smith. The post was so well received that we've twisted Shelley's arm and got her back for part two - an inspirational story from her swimming career which you can read below!

Shelley is an open water swimming legend – a 7 time World Champion and 5 time winner of the mighty 48km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Known for her mental toughness and fearsome competitiveness, she’s an inspirational figure to many people around the world. See why below!

(You can read Shelley's first post on Feel For The Water here.)

Swim Smooth!

On January 17, 1995, I hit the wall 8hrs into my solo swim from Sydney to Wollongong (I know what you’re thinking... what were you thinking Shelley?) Little did I know that I had 4hrs 30mins of swimming remaining!

The water had dropped from 21C to 12C. Imagine if you can swimming at the front of the shark proof cage with the ocean water dumping on top of my head every 5 seconds much like a bucket of cold water dumped on you in the shower. I had this humungus (Aussie for huge) throbbing headache. Sharks had been circling. My fingers and toes were bruised and fractured from being picked by the velocity of the waves hitting the front and back of the cage.

I wanted out... normal behaviour I thought. I was stamping my feet like a child spitting the dummy as I repeated to my coach "I want a hot chocolate" "I want a hot shower!" "I want... I want" "I want out!"

Then came the most honest of all statements... "I have nothing to prove!"

My coach 'Grub' turned to me noticing my lips had turned blue and my back was shades of purple from the wind exposure; put two fingers up and said "How many fingers?"

I flashed back to Lac St Jean in Roberval, Quebec, Canada at the 1992 Pan Pacs 25km event when Grub asked that same question and I cannot remember my answer as I passed out unconscious from hypothermia and Grub saved me.

My moment of truth had come... way out there at sea thinking... hmmm if I say three... I can get out of this quick smart! I took the longest time contemplating should I or shouldn’t I. I replied "two" and Grub told me abruptly "put your head down and get going NOW!" I said "no!" to which Grub replied "Give me 20mins."

I put my head down and said to myself:
"If you don’t quit... you will make it!"
"If you don’t quit... you will make it!"
"If you don’t quit... you will make it!"

These 8 words are all I said over and over and over to myself in the 90km solo swim to Wollongong. 20 minutes turn to 40 minutes then 60 minutes and a pod of dolphins appeared out of no where which cheered me up. All of a sudden my stroke returned to normal and the water appeared to warm up.

Your attitude determines how well you will succeed when faced with a challenge. We did succeed that day when we made it to Wollongong Harbour in 12mins 28 mins and 30 secs.

Would you like to be able to instantly acquire a winner's attitude?

Now is your time to discover how to control the one thing that means more to your accomplishments and happiness than anything else... Your Attitude!

Here is a simple positive Champion habit that will change your attitude in seconds:

1. Choose or create a positive mental attitude trigger phrase and repeat it aloud many times each day. A habit trigger is an event, action, or thought that helps to reinforce your positive habits.

Your trigger phrases will help you to maintain a positive mental attitude. Choose or make up a positive phrase, such as:

"I know I can do it."
"I can overcome any obstacle."
"I am reaching my success goals every day."
"I am getting stronger and stronger every day."
"Every day I am getting closer and closer to my goals in life."
"If I believe it... I can achieve it."
"Every day, my mental attitude is becoming more positive."
"I am achieving my goal weight every day."
"I am getting closer and closer to my goal of a trim and fit body."

2. Write down your trigger phrase on Post-it notes. Place them on the mirror of your car, on your bathroom mirror, carry the note in your pocket. Or as I did, place on the sun visor of the car, so when I needed an attitude check up, I’d flick the sun visor down and instantly know where I was going and how to get there!

3. Repeat the phrase many times every day, remember to say it with emotion, believe it with all your heart. Make it a habit to repeat this phrase at least 30 times a day. Start your day with it.

4. The more you repeat your trigger phrases, the greater their effect will be on your attitude. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind, replace it with your positive-attitude trigger phrase.

You will now be building success-oriented positive thought patterns. This Champion habit will help you achieve a positive mental winner’s attitude automatically.

Remember, attitude is everything!
And... if you don’t quit... you will make it!

Cheers, Shelley Taylor-Smith

Shelley Taylor-Smith, 7-time World Marathon Swimming Champion, Self-Motivation Teacher, Success and Performance Coach. In need of motivation, inspiration, education or a kick in the pants to get you fired up for the year ahead then log on at and receive the fortnightly Champion Motivations Ezine full of tips and tools to boost your self confidence and energise for success!

No comments: