7 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Michael Phelps


Michael Phelps, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, has redefined what an individual can achieve at a very young age. With more than 28 medals under his belt in just five Olympic Games, he came out of retirement at Rio for one last shot at greatest and turned Rio Olympics into a befitting farewell by winning five gold medals and one silver medal.

Passion, discipline and dedication of Michael Phelps helped him achieve great success against all odds. In this article, TaskQue share key lessons extracted from struggles of Michael Phelps that will help young entrepreneurs brave the turbulent seas of entrepreneurship and reach the finishing line before any of their competitors does.

1. Write Down Your Goals

From a very tender age, Michael Phelps used to write down goals on a piece of paper. More importantly, he reminded himself about these goals every day so that he does not forget about them. He maintained a goal sheet with his Olympic dream inscribed on it.

For him, it was the driving force behind his success and we think it’s the same for young entrepreneurs. If you have a clear goal in front of you, it becomes a lot easier to focus on the path that leads to you to it. According to Tony Robbins, “Setting goals is the first step in turning invisible into the visible.” Clarity in goals and vision is what distinguishes successful entrepreneurs from not so successful ones.

2. RaiseThe Bar Every Time You Succeed

Writing down your goals and reminding yourself about them is not enough. You will have to set audacious goals as an 8-year-old Michael Phelps did. As Norman Vincent Peale sums it up brilliantly, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” Michael Phelps never compared himself with anyone else and always tried to beat his past performance. As a result, he not only broke his own records but also any record that came in his path. He achieved the hallowed status most athletes dream of achieving.

3. Sharpen the Saw

When you focus on pushing your limits, you tend to improve with each passing day. Michael Phelps also followed this mantra and never settled until he retired. He honed his craft to become the most accomplished Olympian in the world and shattered all Olympic records. Due to this ability, he has left the competition in the dust. His tally of medals is more than some countries combined.

As a young entrepreneur, you should always stay in a learning mode and always look for opportunities to improve. Without that, it would be extremely tough for you to survive in the dynamic world where new players enter the market every day and consumer choices transform with the advent of ever-changing technologies and cultural values.Stagnant entrepreneurs fail to keep pace with the emerging challenges and end up on the losing side.

4. Never Give Up

Success doesn’t come instantly, where you just whip up your magic wand and success will be served to you on a silver platter, this holds true even for a successful athlete like Michael Phelps. He also endured hardships, injuries and setbacks in his early life but never gave up his dreams. Soon after his first Olympic appearance, he was arrested for reckless driving. The news went viral, earning him destroying his reputation. He also suffered several injuries during his career but he never stopped and continued on his merry way to success.

At Beijing Olympics in 2008, his goggles leaked in the middle of the race but kept on swimming and end up winning that race too. Budding entrepreneurs should also adopt a never say die attitude. Do not let the initial setbacks stop you from achieving your goals. In fact, entrepreneurs must treat failure as an opportunity to review where they went wrong and achieve better results in future. If you follow his approach, successful will surely knock at your door.

5. Discipline Is Imperative to Success

When it comes to training, you will not find many who train more than Michael Phelps does. He is one of the hardest training athletes you can come across. That is not all; he also keeps an eye on what he eats and never skips training come what may. His discipline and training helped him to stay fit and ready to compete at the highest level. His strenuous routine has helped him to defy injuries and achieve athletic brilliance that only the elite class of athletes have achieved.

6. Surround Yourself with the Right People

Although, he can beat many countries in the medals race at Olympics but he attributes his success to different people. His coach Bob Bowman and his mom Debbie Phelps provided him support and motivated him to achieve the unthinkable. His teammates and schoolmates also played an important role in making what Michael Phelps is today.

Solo flyers seem like they’re alone but the fact is no one can do everything on his own and entrepreneurs are no exception. Having allies in the form of family, friends and the oversight of mentors to support you is always there for people who’ve made it big in their spheres of life. As the saying goes, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” Try to avoid the company of wrong people as it can take you to failure.

7. Masters In The Guise Of Mistakes

Michael Phelps started his Olympic career at Sydney games in 2000 but he did not win any medals. He went to the drawing board and came back with a bang by breaking two world records at World Championships a year later. Chad Le Clos, a South African swimmer beat Michael Phelps at London Olympic Games 2012 in 200-meter butterfly race by a mere 0.05 seconds.

This loss made him restless, like an itch that doesn’t let you find peace unless you scratch it. He replayed the video of him losing against Chad Le Clos many times to find areas where he lacked and worked on them. Later at Rio Olympics in 2016, he came back real hard and won five gold medals. To err is to be human, but only those succeed who learn from their mistakes. As they say, “Once is a mistake, twice is a pattern and three times is a habit”.


After reading this article, you might have realized that there are not a lot of differences between winning in business and sports. You canlearn many lessons from a super-athlete like Michael Phelps that will help you succeed in business and in other walks of your life. When setting goals, always aim high and keep reminding yourself about your goals. Discipline, commitment and never say die attitude will help you to overcome any obstacle no matter how big it might be. Learn from your mistakes and come back stronger than ever.